Michael Barth (Cries from the Heart)

From Autistic characters wiki
Michael Barth
Portrayed by Bradley Pierce[1]
Appears in Cries from the Heart (also known as Touch of Truth)
Year 1994

Michael Barth is a character in the American drama movie Cries from the Heart (also known as Touch of Truth).


After Michael learns to communicate via a new technique called facilitated communication, he reports that a caregiver at his institution has sexually abused him. A lawsuit follows, but the validity of this communication technique is questioned by the court.


Michael is stated to be autistic within the movie. He learns to communicate via facilitated communication.

Facilitated communication

Facilitated communication (FC) is a technique that aims to help autistic and other nonspeaking disabled people communicate. A facilitator supports the disabled person's hand, so that they can type on a keyboard. It is a controversial technique because the facilitator can unintentionally influence the disabled person.

Frontline, a PBS documentary series, aired an episode criticizing facilitated communication in 1993, entitled "Prisoners of Silence".[2][3] The episode explores various aspects of FC, including cases of autistic people accusing family members of sexually abusing them. The case of Betsy Wheaton is explored in more detail, showing how the authorship of the FC messages was tested. The double-blind tests suggested that the facilitator, not Betsy, was the source of the messages.

Though the closing credits state that the movie does not intend to endorse FC, Cries of the Heart does portray it in a favorable manner.


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