Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


43rd Annual Convention; Denver, CO; 2017

Event Details

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Panel #69
CE Offered: BACB — 
Facilitated Communication, Behavior Analysis, Science, Rationality, and Ethics: An Oxford Style Mock Debate
Saturday, May 27, 2017
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Convention Center Four Seasons Ballroom 2/3
Area: AUT/PCH; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: Jason Travers, Ph.D.
Chair: Jason Travers (University of Kansas)
JASON TRAVERS (University of Kansas)
TRACIE L. LINDBLAD (Monarch House)
JAMES T. TODD (Eastern Michigan University)
Abstract: The academic debate about Facilitated Communication (FC), Rapid Prompting, and related pseudo-interventions for autism should have ended long ago. No science supports FC, and there is much good research to show the mechanisms by which the facilitator unconsciously authors the output attributed to the non-verbal subject. FC continues to be vigorously defended by academics and professionals whose credentials and training should immunize them against the promotion of demonstrated pseudoscience. Indeed, dozens of articles supportive FC have appeared in academic journals in recent years. All of this happens despite the best remediation efforts of scientists, practitioners, and others, including behavior analysts. One problem science-based academics and professionals face in dealing with FC is that its proponents often do not “play by the rules,” using a wide variety of logical fallacies and distracting rhetorical tactics to advance their views. Some of these practices were illustrated in a mock free-form debate over FC at ABAI in 2016, in which the designated FC proponent advanced his position primarily through the use of fallacies and personal attacks, occasionally sprinkled with facts. This proposed panel discussion will employ a more structured Oxford Style approach to illustrate how anti-scientific viewpoint is more likely to fail when the rules require the participants to adhere to facts and employ logical argument.
Instruction Level: Basic



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Modifed by Eddie Soh