Sue Rubin

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Susan M. Rubin
Sue Rubin 2011.jpg
Susan Marjorie Rubin

(1978-05-25) May 25, 1978 (age 40)
OccupationDisability Advocate, Consultant
Known forAutism activism
Notable work
Autism is a World

Susan Marjorie "Sue" Rubin (born May 25, 1978) is a functionally non-verbal person with autism who was the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary Autism Is A World. This documentary claims that Rubin is able to communicate via the discredited technique of facilitated communication, which is purported to allow people with autism to type messages using a keyboard with someone else's assistance.[1][2] Studies demonstrate that facilitated communication is not actually effective and that the resulting messages are essentially written by the facilitators themselves, often unconsciously.[3][4][5][6][7][8] Organisations such as American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Association for Behavior Analysis have stated that facilitated communication is not a valid technique.[9][8]

With use of facilitated communication, Rubin attended Whittier College in Whittier, California, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Latin American History in May 2013.[10][11]

From messages derived from facilitated communication, it is purported that Rubin considers herself to be a low-functioning autistic person, and that she has stated that there exists a rift in the autistic community between high functioning autistics who often resist efforts to find a cure for autism, and low-functioning autistics like herself who strongly support a cure: "High-functioning people speak and low-functioning people don't. ... Low-functioning people are just trying to get through the day without hurting, tapping, flailing, biting, screaming, etc. The thought of a gold pot of a potion with a cure really would be wonderful."[12]

Rubin was a contributing author featured in Autism and The Myth of The Person Alone, a collection edited by Douglas Biklen, a proponent of facilitated communication. The book featured functionally non-verbal published authors with autism including Lucy Blackman, Tito Mukhopadhay, artist Larry Bissonette, Alberto Frugone, Jamie Burke and award winning writer Richard Attfield. In the introduction to her chapter, Biklen writes that Sue has "become a leading disability rights advocate and keynote speaker at many disability conferences".[13]


  1. ^ Mann, Lisa (22 February 2005). "Oscar Nominee: Documentary or Fiction?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Autism is a World". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  3. ^ Lilienfeld; et al. "Why debunked autism treatment fads persist". Science Daily. Emory University. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  4. ^ Editorial Board (2016-04-12). "Syracuse University's reinforcement of facilitated communication inexcusable, concerning". The Daily Orange. Syracuse University. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  5. ^ Todd, James T. (13 July 2012). "The moral obligation to be empirical: Comments on Boynton's 'Facilitated Communication - what harm it can do: Confessions of a former facilitator'". Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention. 6 (1): 36–57. doi:10.1080/17489539.2012.704738.
  6. ^ Hall, Genae A. (1993). "Facilitator Control as Automatic Behavior: A Verbal Behavior Analysis". The Analysis of Verbal Behavior. 11: 89–97. PMC 2748555. PMID 22477083.
  7. ^ Jacobson, John W.; Mulick, James A.; Schwartz, Allen A. (September 1995). "A History of Facilitated Communication: Science, Pseudoscience, and Antiscience: Science Working Group on Facilitated Communication". American Psychologist. 50 (9): 750–765. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.50.9.750.
  8. ^ a b Facilitated Communication: Sifting the Psychological Wheat from the Chaff. American Psychological Association. June 13, 2016.
  9. ^ Riggott, Julie (Spring–Summer 2005). "Pseudoscience in Autism Treatment: Are the News and Entertainment Media Helping or Hurting?". Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice. 4 (1): 58–60.
  10. ^ Rubin, Susan. "Susan Rubin". Syracuse University School of Education. Retrieved 14 March 2016.
  11. ^ Lutz, Amy S. F. (January 16, 2013). "Is the Neurodiversity Movement Misrepresenting Autism?". Slate. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  12. ^ Acceptance Versus Cure
  13. ^ Biklen, Douglas, et al. (2005). Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone. New York University Press, p. 145. ISBN 0-8147-9928-0 publisher website

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