Presuming Competence

"I was put into classrooms with low expectations with little to no teaching of the common curriculum. One of thousands of students who had no access to an appropriate education. Every student should be given the same opportunities to learn and become successful adults." Jack Allnutt - nonspeaking autistic student

The least dangerous assumption is an inclusive approach to educational policy.

It is less damaging to presume competence in another, and to be wrong, than it is to presume incompetence in another, and be wrong.

The risk of presuming incompetence is that the teacher speaks too little to the student, depriving the child of the known benefits of a language-rich environment.

The risk of presuming competence is that the teacher will speak too much to the student, which if wrong, does the least amount of harm.

When students have a reliable form of communication, meaningful interaction with age appropriate learning materials is possible.

"I have been in speech therapy practically my whole life. And it felt like we were endlessly working on the same stuff over and over no matter how old I got. Say cow, cuh-ow. Cow cow cow. A hundred times say cow. My brain screamed cow but my mouth did not always say what I wanted it to say. So we kept working on cow. And sometimes my voice worked. But there is so much more than cow inside my head.” Jake Reisman - nonspeaking autistic student

Give your students a variety of text based communication tools.

Learn how to presume competence AND help your students interact with rich curriculum.

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