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The Farce Known as ‘FC’

James Randi began his career as a stage magician and escape artist but achieved fame as a professional skeptic, disproving the claims of self-described psychics, mind readers, and faith healers. He is a founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (formerly CSICOP).

I must address you about what’s known as “facilitated communication,” which involves what’s now most often called “autism spectrum disorder” (ASD), a subject that deeply concerns me. The first-ever fully identified and defined example of autism was only found in 1941.

This facilitated communication (FC) is simply a blatant stunt claimed to be a means of communicating with autistic children and adults afflicted by this complex neurological condition. ASD victims show widely varying degrees of impaired social interaction and communication—typically avoidance of eye-contact and strangely restricted and compulsively repetitive behavior. These symptoms first show up before a child is three years old and can become much stronger and more dangerous to that person’s well-being, though many mature into adulthood and survive— though with difficulty. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in forty-five persons in this country can be said to have at least some degree of autism—this is a figure that demands the very serious attention of the skeptical community!

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