Who are we?

The Brotherhood of the Wordless is a group of writers who have problems connected to autism, Down syndrome, and other disabilities which preclude speech and the muscle co-ordination required for handwriting or unassisted use of a keyboard. We use facilitated communication and are able to type using a qwerty board or electronic devices.

Facilitated Communicating Training is an access strategy which may enable some people with complex communication needs and movement difficulties to point to a range of displays in order to make themselves understood.

What do we do?

We write creatively in response to suggested topics and ideas.

Each of us is accompanied by a facilitator and carer.

Our words are written down by a scribe as necessary, and collated each month for emailing to the group and our friends.

The writing sessions are directed by professionals. There are no pre-requisites or expectations of standards of writing.

Our work is available to the community through performances, anthologies, DVDs and this web site.

We socialize in a safe and supportive environment.

We enable families to support each other.

We enjoy presenting our work to the public.

What do we aim for?

We hope to raise public awareness of the talents of people with disabilities, and promote acceptance in the wider community.

We aim to provide an environment for people to grow in self-esteem and confidence, so leading to achievements and opportunities which might otherwise seem out of reach.

How we are organised

The group is auspiced by SANDBAG (Sandgate and Bracken Ridge Action Group) Ph 38693244/ 32690277. This community based group provides the venue free of charge; handles the finances, insurance and grant applications; and gives us support and advice.

The group depends on volunteers and is self-determining. There is no membership charge or formal affiliation. Jolanta Edwards is paid a small retainer to collect our work each meeting and type it up for distribution by email.

The group is fortunate to have Alice Owen, who has vast experience in speech pathology, facilitated communication and grass roots knowledge of Queensland’s disability services. She works in private practice as a consultant speech pathologist and trainer in facilitated communication. She is also a dance therapist.

The other co-ordinator is Joan Beddoe, a retired special education teacher, writer, and aspiring DVD producer.

Professional poet and performer David Stavanger aka Ghostboy has been directing the workshops since 2009.