Heidi's experiences with facilitated communication


Heidi is an independent lady, living with her team of support staff in a pretty bungalow in the country. She needs assistance in all aspects of her life, but is very independent minded and makes all the choices and decisions about her support for herself.Communication of any kind was not considered by her parents, until they met a practitioner of facilitated communication. This teacher was able to teach Heidi’s parents how to support her head, so that she could point at pictures on a communication board using her eyes and begin making choices about what food she wanted, clothes to wear, music to listen to and places to visit. It proved to her parents beyond any doubt that their daughter was very bright.

Heidi’s parents taught her to read and spell and she was a quick learner. She used a spelling frame to point to letters with her eyes. By the time she was 10 yrs old she was able to attend mainstream school, supported by a team of assistants who knew how to support her communication. Heidi was unable to gain any formal qualifications as the exam authorities would not accept this method of communication, as they considered that the supporters could be cheating and answering the questions themselves.

Supported by her parents and with a 24 hr care package, Heidi moved into her own home at the age of 21 and now has a boyfriend (he is an opera singer) and two cats! She hopes to be able to have a baby with her boyfriend and get married one day. Also, she is trying to find information about electronic speech aids, which can be operated by eye gaze and have speech output. This is her dream for the future.

Things you may want to look into: facilitated communication (FC)

December 2012