Martin Pistorius, author of the New York Times best-seller, Ghost Boy: The
For over ten years Martin Pistorius was trapped in his own body, fully cognizant, but unable to speak or move. He was surrounded by people who believed he was incapable of thinking and tried desperately to get just one person to notice. His story serves as a wake-up call for all of us to drastically change our assumptions about speech and intellectual capacity as well as the need to radically reform expectations and treatment of people with complex communication needs.
"Thasya", a mini film by Dan Habib, highlights the power of presuming competence, differentiated instruction and augmentative and alternative communication. Inclusion works.
"If we were to go back to the 1960s and we were to talk to those leaders who were vehemently against desegregation, we would hear the conviction in their voices of them stating why they believe their decisions and what they were doing to those children were just. Just as I believe that some of you and some of the board members that have spoken believe that their decisions are just. But, I fear that the Hillsborough County School Board is standing on the wrong side of history."
" A lot of these kids end up not reaching their full potential because they suffer from low expectations. People think they don't speak well, so we shouldn't have them in the regular classroom, but a lot of the kids I work with, they're cognitively fine. They're perfectly capable. They just need a viable means of communication to really help them through that." Cathy Binger
Barb Rentenbach's funny, poignant and beautiful must-read book, I Might Be You: An Exploration of Autism and Connection, is now available as an audiobook.
Presumption of competence combined with support and collaboration from team members helps the learner with complex communication needs have a voice in the classroom.
It is a mistaken idea that we, autistics, lack empathy. It is also a myth that we are not social. My friends and I, we understand and respect differences. And we understand that we all have a lot to contribute, in a diversity of manners.
"All of these children have one thing in common. They were always having to prove themselves, over and over and over again." Ray Ellis