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.
This podcast is attempting to explain alternative means of testing the intelligence of nonspeaking autistic people. (It is the companion piece to the article I shared from The Atlantic Magazine in my last post). These tests rely on evidence in the brain to show understanding when a person cannot communicate. I’m all for showing intelligence because it’s important to show.
I think teaching communication is helpful too. I mean, I really can show my intelligence if I communicate.
That is going to be my goal each and every time I hear or read something like this, because intelligence remains trapped if a person cannot type their thoughts or express their ideas somehow.
Incidentally, my mom and I were interviewed for this podcast.
This article, from The Atlantic and also Spectrum Magazine, attempts to demonstrate that nonspeaking people with autism may have more intellectual capacity than standardized testing reveals. Thanks to researchers like Yoram Bonneh, (mentioned in the article) maybe more scientists will see that intellectual capacity.
My mother and I were interviewed for this story, in addition to a podcast that hasn’t been broadcast yet.
The fundamental concept is that not talking does not mean not understanding, despite a bizarre obsession by experts to conflate the two. The challenge for experts is imagination. But let me help.
I’m administering an IQ test to you, but your hands are in baseball mitts, your mouth is taped shut and the room distracts with a laser light show.
Good luck, and if you don’t do well I’ll assume your IQ is 52.
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!