A CREDO FOR SUPPORT
Do Not see my disability as the problem. Recognize that my disability is an attribute.
Do Not see my disability as a deficit.
It is you who see me as deviant and helpless.
Do Not try to fix me because I am not broken.
Support me. I can make my contribution to the community in my way.
Do Not see me as your client. I am your fellow citizen.
See me as your neighbour. Remember, none of us can be self-sufficient.
Do Not try to modify my behaviour.
Be still & listen. What you define as inappropriate
may be my attempt to communicate with you in the only way I can.
Do Not try to change me, you have no right. Help me learn what I want to know.
Do Not hide your uncertainity behind “professional” distance. Be a person who listens, and does not take my struggle away from me by trying to make it all better.
Do Not use theories and strategies on me.
Be with me. And when we struggle
with each other, let that give rise to self-reflection.
Do Not try to control me. I have a right to my power as a person. What you call non-compliance or manipulation may actually be the only way I can exert some control over my life.
Do Not teach me to be obedient, submissive, and polite. I need to feel entitled to say No if I am to protect myself.
Do Not be charitable towards me.
The last thing the world needs is another Jerry Lewis.
Be my ally against those who exploit me for their own gratification.
Do Not try to be my friend. I deserve more than that. Get to know me. We may become friends.
Do Not help me, even it it does make you feel good.
Ask me if I need your help. Let me show you how you can best assist me.
Do not admire me. A desire to live a full life does not warrant adoration. Respect me, for respect presumes equity.
Do Not tell, correct, and lead. Listen, Support, and Follow.
Do Not work on me. Work with me.A Credo for Support
This credo is a beautiful recipe for respecting autonomy in a framework of interdependence and care.
The late Herb Lovett used to say that there are only two problems with “special education” in America: It’s not special and it sure as hell isn’t education. The field continues to be marinated in behaviorist assumptions and practices despite the fact that numerous resources for teachers, therapists, and parents offer alternatives to behavior control. These alternatives are based on a commitment to care and to understand. By “care,” I mean that our relationship with the child is what matters most. He or she is not a passive object to be manipulated but a subject, a center of experience, a person with agency, with needs and rights. And by “understand,” I mean that we have an obligation to look beneath the behavior, in part by imaginatively trying to adopt that person’s point of view, attempting to understand the whys rather than just tabulating the frequency of the whats. As Norm Kunc and Emma Van der Klift urged us in their Credo for Support: “Be still and listen. What you define as inappropriate may be my attempt to communicate with you in the only way I can….[or] the only way I can exert some control over my life….Do not work on me. Work with me.”Autism and Behaviorism – Alfie Kohn