Emma Presumes Competence!

I did not get all of my Autism Acceptance month post up for April (that month sped by!). So, we will continue to share the words of our Growing Kids Therapy Center clients in May in celebration of GKTC’s 6th anniversary and Better Speech and Hearing Month! Today’s post comes from Emma.  Emma and I have been working together for 11 years with the last 2 years focused on RPM.  Emma has a constant smile and look of mischief on her face. She is quick to laugh and always cracks up when I mess something up (which is frequent!). Her laugh is infectious, so inevitably, we both end up in giggles!

Emma is now fluent in her RPM skills but her writing continues to evolve with every session. With some of my very fluent clients, I present information without asking specific questions only asking the student to analyze and synthesize the information presented. Here are Emma’s thoughts on presuming competence.

How can you resist this smile?

How can you resist this smile?

COMPETENCE IS SOMETHING THOSE OF US WITH AUTISM HAVE BUT NOT MANY BELIEVE.  I DON’T THINK MOST PEOPLE CORRECTLY ASSUME I AM SMART. SO FRUSTRATING. SO INSULTING.

DON’T REALLY THINK SPECIAL EDUCATON GETS ME OR MY FRIENDS. I THINK ANNE DONNELLAN IS RIGHT.  TOO MUCH EMPHASIS HAS BEEN PLACED ON TESTS THAT MANY OF US WITH AUTISM CAN’T SUCCESSFULLY TAKE.  TOO BAD THAT SCHOOLS ARE STUCK ON TESTING MORE THAN TEACHING.

I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH BIKLEN.  HE IS RIGHT THAT STUDENTS NEED TO BE ENGAGED CREATIVELY.  HE IS ALSO RIGHT TO ASSUME THAT STUDENTS WANT TO LEARN. TEACHERS SHOULD HAVE TO TAKE A PLEDGE TO DO NO HARM.  I THINK IGNORING THE NEEDS OF AUTISTIC STUDENTS IS HARMFUL.

ANNE SULLIVAN ASSUMED THAT HELEN COULD LEARN AND TAUGHT HER TO SIGN. THRESHER IS AN ADULT AUTISTIC WHO IS COMMUNICATING THROUGH TYPING. HIS COMMUNICATION MAKES HIM FEEL LIKE HE IS PART OF THE WORLD.  MINE DOES TOO!

Emma, I can’t think of a better testimony to communication!  It IS what makes us part of the world and why it is so important for kids to have access to education and a communication method that works for them!

~Elizabeth and Emma

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