The current debate in autism education is between those who assume competence, have expectations of intelligence, and as a result, frequently discover minds that think behind the autistic mask. The other school of thought is reflected in this statement by ASHA. That is, to assume competence is abusive somehow. I know what presuming incompetence does. It deadens hope and kills expectation. It makes seeing the ability impossible.
No one is claiming everyone is brilliant, just that fewer nonspeakers than the experts believe, are dumb. I prefer to believe that nonspeakers may have intellectual skills not immediately evident for a variety of reasons. See here for some reasons.
Look for intelligence and you discover more. Look for disability and you get stuck in limitations.
Please enjoy this Ted Talk on finding competence by Vaish Sarathy.
Not talking is not the same as not thinking.
The converse is also true.
The American Speech Language Hearing Association, or ASHA, insists that the true voice of nonspeaking autistic people is best left to pictogram systems and garbled speech. Here is their brief video statement.
I am an autistic guy with a message. I spent the first half of my life completely trapped in silence. The second – on becoming a free soul. I had to fight to get an education but I succeeded, graduating high school with a diploma and a 3.9 GPA. I am continuing my education in college. I communicate by typing on an iPad or a letter board. My first book, Ido inAutismland is an autism diary, telling the story of my symptoms, education, and journey into communication. My second book, In Two Worlds, is a novel. I hope through my work to help other autistic people find a way out of their silence too.
My newest book is now available in paperback, on Kindle, and on Smashwords!