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Evaluations of Children Who Have Disclosed Sexual Abuse via Facilitated Communication

Robert H. Wharton, MD; Karen Levine, PhD; Howard Shane, PhD; S. Jean Emans, MD
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(11):1288-1289. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1995.02170240105030.
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The article by Botash et al1 suggests that the cases of children who disclose sexual abuse through facilitated communication (FC) should be evaluated without bias. However, using a faulty analysis of retrospective data, the authors confuse assessing all children without bias, clearly an unimpeachable goal, with interpreting FC without bias, a position unsupported by current scientifically validated studies of this assisted typing technique. Several aspects of their article warrant critical comment.

The authors1 report that four of 13 children who disclosed sexual abuse through FC (1.2% of children seen over a 3-year period) had corroborating evidence of sexual abuse (cases 1, 2, 6, and 7). However, Table 2, which reports results of physical examinations, provides corroborating evidence for only one child with focal hymen tears (case 1) and a second case in which a perpetrator confessed (case 6). Moreover, sufficient evidence, apart from FC, for families and care


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