Assume Competence

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.

4 responses to “Assume Competence

  1. She’s terrific.

    Just so’s you’ll know, Ido, I puked when I read “To assume competence is abusive.”

    Whatever happened to the English language anyway.

  2. Amazing speech

  3. The ASHA is wrong, let’s hope we can move out of the dark ages of autism and related disabilities to really, truly understanding intelligence, splinter skills, strengths and untapped abilities, especially for those with non-verbal intelligence. To not move forward is going backwards in rights, equality, and opportunity. The speech language association should not have all the power and all the influence in this matter. The true professionals in this arena are those living with this disability, and those who live, work and understand their abilities. Lets take back our power and influence, as we are the professionals in the know!

  4. Josh Griffing

    Ain’t it ironic that ASHA’s condescending video about how RPM and FC somehow hinder communication has the comments turned off? It’s as if they don’t want anyone else to try to communicate with them about this topic.

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