Falsified Incompetence and Other Lies the Positivists Told Me


  • Rua M. Williams Purdue University




Facilitated Communication (FC) is a technique of supported communication for non- speaking people with motor movements commonly understood as spasmodic, dyspraxic, or otherwise unruly. FC is a contentious site of scientific conflict where highly circumscribed quantitative experiments have been unable to reckon with the lived reality of typers. The debate over the efficacy of FC centers around broader arguments of what counts as scientific rigor and validity. In this paper, I remind readers that experiential data is, in fact, empirical. Qualitative analysis is scientifically rigorous. Adopting technologies of analysis from Chela Sandoval’s “Methodology of the Oppressed,” I explore a rhetorics of evacuation deployed by skeptics that result in the erasure of FC user agency, testimony, and experience. I invite readers to explore how these rhetorics extend beyond FC and into the wider field of education research.

Author Biography

Rua M. Williams, Purdue University

Purdue University



How to Cite

Williams, R. M. (2020). Falsified Incompetence and Other Lies the Positivists Told Me. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 9(5), 214–244. https://doi.org/10.15353/cjds.v9i5.696