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 moving radio story is one too familiar to me. Hari Srinivasan is a kind of fellow traveller in two worlds. I congratulate him for his huge accomplishments. I have known the reporter Lee Romney my entire life and I guess you can tell she gets it. She actually edited both my books so by now she understands the challenges of nonspeaking autistic people remarkably well and it shows. The difference between Hari’s current life and his former training in ABA is stark. It is incredible how offensive I found it listening to the jolly infantile voices its practitioners used in the brief segment that described ABA in the program. Ugh. But it is important to show that popular treatment that so misses the mark in order to compare it to the great success of Hari once he found another way.
I might be autistic, but they understand the disability better.
I have to give credit to those experts in the noble field of autism treatment who bravely stand up for the rights of nonspeaking autistic people to be limited to a few unintelligible words and pictogram systems. It is the obligation of all honorable professionals to fight for the right of trapped people to have their communication limited so expertly. Moreover, by never letting observation of a typing nonspeaking, autistic person interfere with certainty, they demonstrate real commitment to best practice, in the most scientific way possible. In conclusion, I’d like to congratulate those experts in autism for sticking to their beliefs no matter how unhappy a kid is being flashcarded and high-fived year after year. A little misery shouldn’t alter treatment that’s scientific and evidence-based.
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!