Still, the Wendrows had resolutely refused to believe testing that consistently showed [their daughter] functioned at the level of a 2-year-old and that in addition to being autistic, she was mentally retarded.
The Wendrows were introduced to [facilitated communication] in 2004 by Dr. Sandra McClennen, a retired education professor from Eastern Michigan University who had been working with their daughter for three years. She trained the girl to use FC, a highly controversial method through which autistic people are said to communicate using a keyboard, aided by another person.
The Tuesday morning after Thanksgiving break, [facilitator Cynthia] Scarsella asked how the weekend went.
Scarsella guided the girl's right hand over the specialized keyboard. She held her wrist as the girl, striking one letter at a time, typed out a message:
"My dad gets me up banges me and then we have breakfast. ... He puts his hands on my private parts."
Scarsella asked whether the girl's mother knew. She facilitated as the girl answered yes and typed:
"She doesn't say anything."
Scarsella immediately told Natalie Miller, the girl's teacher, who notified her supervisors. Michigan law requires school officials to report any credible allegation of sexual abuse to authorities.
Within hours, police, prosecutors and social workers were on the move.
Within two days, the children were wards of the state.
Within a week, the Wendrows were in jail.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
The first of a series of articles:
Posted by Substance McGravitas at 9:21 AM