Rosemary Crossley Biography

    Biography

    Rosemary Crossley AM (born 1945) is an Australian author and advocate for disability rights and facilitated communication, a technique in which a disabled person with difficulty communicating is encouraged to spell out messages with a keyboard or letter board, while their hand is held and helped to move by a facilitator. Crossley is a controversial figure in the field of autism and disabilities. She has been praised and respected by some, and in her native Australia she is director of the Anne McDonald Centre near Melbourne for people with little or no functional speech. In 1984, the film Annie's Coming Out was made about her work with her first student, Anne McDonald. However, facilitated communication has also been considered a pseudoscience by psychologists and governments, labelling it as ineffective or actively harmful. In particular, it has often failed controlled tests where the facilitator, supposed to aid the autistic person to communicate, is not aware what the answer should be, leading experts to suggest that the facilitator is directing the movement of the disabled person to the answer they expect to see.