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5 Things to Know about Presuming Competence

What do you think of when you hear the words "Presuming Competence?"

Here are 5 things we think parents, autism educators, support professionals, and EVERYONE ought to know.

What does it mean to presume competence?

1. We acknowledge the possibility we were wrong.

This can be really hard when you've been in the field for years. Or if you've been raising your child according to advice from medical and behavioral professionals.

We often misjudge students' behaviors as isolation, lack of motivation, aggression, or non-compliance while in reality, they are compensating and dealing with a body that experiences sensory and motor differences and cannot communicate effectively.

2. Stop assuming.

We need to stop assuming that we know the real motivations behind the actions of people who don't have a reliable way to communicate.

What we see can look really convincing, but the reality is that we just don't know motivations unless someone can communicate them to us.

3. Or assume up.

The least dangerous assumption is to presume competence and to provide opportunities consistent with high expectations because to assume incompetence and not provide such opportunities could be harmful if your assumption were proved wrong.

4. Competence does not equal knowledge.

We can presume our students are smart, capable learners without expecting that they already know everything. When they don't know something, we teach. It's the same philosophy for all students.

5. Execution, not cognition.

It's crucial to recognize that many students are dealing with problems of executing complex motor tasks, not necessarily problems of cognition.

Make the change.

What steps can you take today to shift toward a more robust version of presuming competence in your students?

One great way to get started is to join us for our next live session of our online course. Or you can check out our self-paced options.

Want to share this info? Download the slideshow below!

How are you going to presume competence? Let us know in the comments!


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