Monday, 15 October 2012

Strategies for Presuming Competence

Strategies for Presuming Competence

• Examine your attitude—practice saying, “How can this work?”, “How can this child be successful?”

• Question your stereotypes—how someone looks, walks, or talks does not tell you about how they think and feel.

• Use age appropriate talk—examine your tone of voice and topic.

• Support communication. 

• Listen openly—work to shed judgments. 

• Teach peers and others how to interpret potentially confusing behavior. 

• Do not speak in front of someone as if they were not there. 

• In conversation, refer to the person in a way that includes them in the conversation. 

• Ask permission to share information with others.

• Be humble.

• If possible, always let the person explain for himself or herself and do not speak for them.

• Assume that every student will benefit from learning age appropriate academic curriculum.

• Look for evidence of understanding. 

• Support students to show understanding using their strengths.

• Design adaptations and accommodations to support access to academics. 

• Be sure to acknowledge the presence of a person with a disability in the same way you would acknowledge others.


“If you want to see competence, it helps if you look for it.”
–Douglas Biklen

Kasa-Hendrickson, C. & Buswell, W. 2007 

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