New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense
This is one of three articles on this topic. The other articles are entitled
“Presume Competence: Challenging Conventional Wisdom about People with Disabilities” and "Do Disability Organizations Presume Competence?"
Gina was facing a dilemma. The school physical therapist (PT), along with the IEP team, decided Gina’s fifth-grade daughter, Ellie, could no longer drive her power wheelchair at school until she had successfully “passed” the PT’s “mobility training.” Ellie might run into a wall or a person, they said, so she was “a danger to herself and others.” They presumed Ellie was incompetent to drive her power chair. . . .
Similar situations occur when parents are told their children cannot be in general ed classrooms, go to college, get a job, and more. Adults with disabilities are told they’re unemployable, can’t live in their own place, be responsible for themselves, etc. In essence, children and adults with disabilities are put in the position of having to prove they’re “not guilty” of being incompetent. Click here to continue.
Eliminating the Presumed Incompetence Paradigm
Unless and until those who provide services cease practicing the Presumed Incompetent mentality, people with disabilities—along with their families and allies—must take the lead. The first step is, of course, for people with disabilities and family members to Presume Competence about themselves—that’s the position we must operate from!