Frontline (1983– )
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Prisoners of Silence 



Episode credited cast:
Douglas Biklen Douglas Biklen ... Self
Colleen Delles Colleen Delles ... Self
Cathy Gherardi Cathy Gherardi ... Self
Matthew Gherardi Matthew Gherardi ... Self
Sue Harms Sue Harms ... Self
Peter Haydu ... (voice)
Kathy Hayduke Kathy Hayduke ... Self
Will Lyman ... Narrator (voice)
Marian Pitsas Marian Pitsas ... Self
Wendy Sakakeeny Wendy Sakakeeny ... (voice)
Diane Sawyer ... Self
Howard Shane Howard Shane ... Self
Doug Wheeler Doug Wheeler ... Self


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Did You Know?


This episode shows the creator of Facilitated Communication, Rosemary Crossley, "assisting" a comatose patient to communicate his preference for housing by indicating on a board (being held by Crossley) with a pointer strapped to his forehead. The video clearly shows that Crossley is moving the board, little by little, rather than the patient moving the pointer.

Recently, Crossley was called upon by defense attorneys for Anna Stubblefield, who was convicted of sexually abusing a severely disabled and non-communicative person (she was using FC, and claimed that the person was expressing affection toward her - but of course was in fact writing all of the messages herself)> Crossley "assessed" the victim and found them to be "highly intelligent and articulate." Crossley was asked, under cross-examination, about the validity of her findings, citing the footage shown in "Prisoners of Silence." Her response was, incredibly, "I am very careful to make sure that I don't move the board." See more »

User Reviews

Prisoners Of Silence
17 September 2017 | by a_baronSee all my reviews

This documentary was ahead of its time, so much so that fourteen years after it was released, a man was arrested in Michigan after his severely autistic daughter claimed he'd raped her. The family of Aislinn Wendrow was eventually awarded a total of $6.7 million in damages including a quarter of a million against the prosecutor in person. Had David Gorcyca watched this documentary or done any research on its subject matter, all that and eighty days behind bars for Aislinn's father might have been avoided.

In short, facilitated communication is a delusion, a bigger hoax than Piltdown Man, one perpetrated on desperate parents by gullible true believers, men and women who have convinced themselves it is the panacea for autism when it is literally as much use as a ouija board, and works on the same principle.

In spite of its being clearly refuted as shown by a clever double blind study herein, its proponents like Douglas Biklen refuse to face the facts. So much so that FC is still being used to this day, and innocent people are still being falsely accused of sexual abuse on account of it.

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Release Date:

19 October 1993 (USA) See more »

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