1) Foremost, facilitated communication was once popular, but now is widely regarded as a pseudoscience. At the least, it is controversial. There are proponents of it in limited form, notably Dr. Douglas Biklen. Indeed, Daniel, one of the autistics (or rather Rabbi Sachs) responded to a query of the authenticity of autistic messages by saying
"I refer you to Dr. Biklin from Syracuse University Who made many “nisyonot” (experiments), did much “mechkarim” (research) on the subject."
However, there is a big difference between regular FC, which is controversial, and the utter craziness which these mystical facilitators and autistics are engaging in! I (Josh Waxman) corresponded with Dr. Biklen to ask him about the FC of Ben and Daniel, and he distinguishes his FC from the FC that these guys are doing. He wrote to me:
Joshua, thanks for your email. I see no relationship between religious messianic claims and facilitated communication training. Our approach is to work to ensure that individuals are able to be in control of their own communication, and to proceed to physically independent typing and to speech in conjunction with typing. I do not condone practices that ignore the importance of independent communication.Doug
If so, how do they really justify what they are doing?
2) The autistics have had some famous false predictions (such as an apocalyptic war in Israel a while back, and "the biggest rosh hashanah ever", and that all *commercial banks* (rather than investment banks) would fail such that money would be worthless and all people would be lining up to get their money out but would not be able to do so.) These claims *failed*, despite some kvetching that supporters try to pretend that some were accurate predictions. Why should we listen to them? They are nevi'ei sheker!!
3) In one of the early Jewish autistic books, a number of the haskamos were explicitly that this will inspire people and draw them closer to Judaism, but that *of course* one should not listen to them for the sake of predicting the future or to determine halacha, because that would be in violation of tamim tihyeh im hashem elokecha. Yet now, these autistics are instructing as to practice (don't eat pizza or soda; wigs are assur and ignore rabbis who tell you otherwise because they are illegitimate, etc.), and as to the future. This would then seem to be a violation of tamim tihyeh. I am sure Rabbi Sachs will have a faulty rationalization in response, but I think it is important that listeners hear these questions to possibly recognize that this is by no means clear cut and wonderful.