Skip Navigation or Skip to Content


Institute on Communication and Inclusion: Summer Institute Pre-Conference Seminar

A  one-day workshop, “Institute on Communication and Inclusion: Summer Institute Pre-Conference Seminar,” co-sponsored by the NLM Foundation and The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, was held on July 19, 2011 at the Heller School in Waltham, MA. The purpose of the meeting was to present a comprehensive picture of the impact that supported typing is having on the lives of individuals with autism, especially those for whom no other channel of communication is open. In some cases, supported typing has acted as a bridge to independent typing and even speech, and the program featured presentations by individuals who use supported typing extensively in their social, educational, vocational, and artistic lives.  The meeting was chaired by two influential leaders from Syracuse University in the field of Special Education and Inclusion: Douglas Biklen, Dean of the School of Education, and Professor Christine Ashby, Research Director of the Institute on Communication and Inclusion.

In the three days following the July 19th event at the Heller School, users of assistive typing, as well as educators, researchers, advocates and health care practitioners converged on Boston for the 4th annual Summer Institute on Communication & Inclusion, whose theme was ‘Finding a Voice, Finding a Place, Finding a Purpose.’

Drs. Biklen and Ashby offered a critical analysis of the communication needs of individuals with autism and the understanding of their lives and minds that has been made possible by assistive typing. Human communication is a complex cognitive and neuromuscular performance and there is still much to be learned. A concluding dialogue between Prof. Ann Graybiel (MIT) and Dr. Al Galaburda (Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center), moderated by Dr. Clarence Schutt, looked at the neuroscience of supported typing and the promise of newAugmentative and Alternative Communication technologies from this fresh perspective.

Introduction to Supported Typing
Douglas Biklen, Ph.D.
Syracuse University

What is Supported Typing?
Jamie Burke
Syracuse University

How has Supported Typing Changed Our Understanding of Autism?
Douglas Biklen, Ph.D.
Syracuse University

Myths and realities of Facilitated Communication: Making sense of the research
Christine Ashby, Ph.D.
Syracuse University

The Neuroscience of Supported Typing and the Promise of NewAugmentative and Alternative Communication Technologies
Ann Graybiel, Ph.D.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Al Galaburda, MD
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center


Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA