Walking the Talk of Presuming Competence is a webinar presented by the New England Chapter of TASH. The webinar is on June 14, 2019 at Noon Eastern Time.


In the world of augmentative/alternative communication (AAC), the “presumption of competence” is seen as a core guiding principle for supporting a person who uses AAC. Putting this principle into practice on an everyday basis often requires communication partners to change their beliefs and assumptions about disability and intelligence, and to develop a more expanded view of communication as a gateway to community inclusion and participation. The presenters will provide ideas on how to what communication partners can learn to think “outside of the box” of their existing beliefs about communication and move to a place where they are demonstrating the presumption of competence in their daily interactions with AAC users. A self-advocate will share examples from his personal experiences as an AAC user of how different beliefs about his competence have impacted his ability to communicate and steps that he and members of his support team have taken to change these beliefs.


Participants will be able to:

  • Describe the principle of “presumption of competence”.
  • Identify actions that communication partners need to take to demonstrate that they presume the competence of the people that they are supporting.
  • Identify actions and steps that organizations need to take to establish a culture of “presuming competence”.

Professional MembershipABOUT THE PRESENTERS:
Pascal Cheng
Pascal Cheng

is an Educational and Communication Specialist at the Howard Center. He has a M. Ed. and C.A.S. in Special Education from the University of Vermont and has worked for over 35 years with children and adults with developmental disabilities in school and community settings. He currently is an educational and communication specialist at the Howard Center in Burlington, Vermont. He provides training and consultation in the areas of augmentative communication, assistive technology and literacy for children and adults with developmental disabilities, both within the Howard Center and at other developmental service agencies and schools in Vermont. He serves as a member of the Vermont Communication Task Force, a statewide group that works to improve communication supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities in the state of Vermont.

Tracy Thresher
Tracy Thresher

is an advocate for people with disabilities. Tracy began typing to communicate in 1990 and was one of the first individuals with autism in Vermont to be introduced to it. He has presented at local, statewide and national workshops and conferences. He has consulted with local schools and also mentors high school students, is a member of the Vermont Autism Advisory & Planning Committee, the Vermont Communication Task Force, the Washington County Mental Health Services (WCMHS) Communication Alliance and does freelance work for Green Mountain Self-Advocates and works with the Institute on Communication and Inclusion at Syracuse University as a Master Trainer. Tracy, and his friend Larry Bissonnette, travel promoting their documentary “Wretches Jabberers” in an effort to change the World’s view of disability to one of positivity.


The webinar will be held via Zoom Video Meetings at Noon Eastern on June 14, 2019. It will be available as a recording to people who register or for purchase from the TASH store. For more information, contact Bailey Hill at bhill@tash.org.