I love the phrase “presume competence!”  I hear it all the time.  I use it all the time.  What’s interesting is that I just don’t see it very much!

If you’ve been to any conferences or trainings lately, I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase too.  It’s all over special education blogs, AAC facebook groups, etc.  But what strikes me as interesting is that even with so many people yelling “PRESUME COMPETENCE!!” there are still so many more who aren’t.  And that makes me sad! And mad!

Presume Competence

I know it’s not always easy when you’re not getting the response you hoped for or you don’t get a response at all.  But please don’t give up on these kids!  It just means you haven’t found the right way to teach them yet or unlock their potential.  As an AT Specialist, I often read previous reports when I have a student to screen.  I often read recommendations for a student to use a Big Mack until he learns cause and effect or an 8 cell so as not to overwhelm her.  Then when the student is not using those devices, they are abandoned and I hear “well nothing works.” Give your students a chance!  If you give them access to more language, model it, and have high expectations… I bet you are going to be surprised!

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