Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Special Educator’s Use Of Facilitated Communication Lands Dad In Jail

 After he was accused of molesting his young son with special needs, Jose Cordero spent 35 days in a Miami jail and was barred from seeing his family for months.
The allegations did not come directly from the 7-year-old boy, who has autism, speaks little and cannot write on his own. Instead, they came from the child’s elementary school teacher who claimed he relied on a technique called “hand over hand,” guiding the boy’s hands with his own to write down the disturbing details of sexual abuse.
This form of “facilitated” communication is a science that has been largely debunked in the wake of high-profile scandals involving wrongfully accused parents over the past couple decades.
Fumero, 32, who has been with the school district for four years, acknowledged to police that he had no formal training in “facilitated communication.” Reached by text, Fumero, who lives in Hialeah, declined to answer questions from the Miami Herald, citing pending litigation. The allegations of abuse must still be hashed out before a judge in Miami-Dade’s dependency court.
James Todd, a psychology professor at Eastern Michigan University who has studied facilitated communication, reviewed the State Attorney’s final report and said the school district still bears responsibility.
“The bottom line is that that school let a teacher use a technique that was never credible and was already scientifically discredited in the early 1990s,” said Todd, who has worked as an expert for people falsely accused in similar cases.