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#actuallyautistic voices

5 Questions to ask to ensure you're PRESUMING COMPETENCE

Do you walk the walk of presuming competence or are you only paying lip service to the idea?

We talk a lot about presuming competence, but it's always good to have some checks on your practice.

Here are 5 questions for you or your educational teams to spark conversation and make sure you're doing the work of presuming competence.

1) Do I ever talk down, use a loud or slow voice, or talk about my child as if they are not there? Does my child's educational team do these things?

Many times professionals and families grow accustomed to talking about their disabled students / children as if they're not there or are incapable of understanding. Or they modify their language to make it "more accessible" for them, which we know is not actually the case.

Some of our favorite humorous (and really, really effective) video clips to show in relation to how we talk to and about disabled students come from Open Future Learning. You can visit their website and see their resources, but we especially love to follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

2) Do I use age-appropriate language, materials, and topics that correlate to my child's interests? Does my child's educational team do these things?

How often have you seen Bob the Builder coloring pages coming home with your 18-year-old? (trust us on this's a real example from one of our students.) As you look at educational materials, ask yourself if another child the same age would be interested in them. If not, it's time to rethink how you're providing access to age-appropriate academics.

Need help with this? Check out our self-paced course, Accessible Academics. It's only $99 and you have access to the modules for life.

3) Do I understand that my child may not always show that they know or what they are thinking? Does my child's educational team do these things?

We know that what we see our students and children doing can be really, really convincing. But until we understand apraxia, we won't internalize the idea that many students are struggling with the execution of things, not the cognition of them.

Want to take a deep dive into apraxia and the other issues that impact communication? Check out Communication for Education's online course. With live or self-paced options, the content is accessible for different needs! (full disclosure, we're a proud partner in the creation of CFE's work!)

4) What is one things your family / team does well to demonstrate presumption of competence?

We want to celebrate ourselves for doing the work! Take a few minutes and reflect on the ways you already presume competence. Give yourself a pat on the back.

Now keep reading.

5) What is one thing your family / team can improve to demonstrate presumption of competence?

It's easy to get complacent, but we always have room to grow. Make sure to build time into your conversations for reflection on ways to expand how you presume competence and how you advocate for others to do the same.

What other questions do you ask of yourself and your child's team?


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