Presumption of Competence

By Akha Khumalo

Dear Readers

Today I want to talk about my education. My wonderful mother has always fought for an equal education for me. Even when I was small, I went to mainstream preschools.

We did ABA (applied behaviour analysis) for a short time before we worked out how terrible it is. Autism can’t be cured, and you can’t train us like dogs. What the ABA people are missing is that autism is neurological and that we are whole people with no pieces missing. They presume incompetence.

My education presumes competence. My teacher knows how smart I am and provides an age appropriate education to me. It started with me being home schooled by the world’s best teacher, Nicola. We used to work at my house, but I was very lonely. Before it became unbearable my wonderful Mother and Tracy came up with a plan. There was another boy who needed a new school and I needed a friend. So we started a home schooling consortium. We are doing age appropriate education and other activities. We are respected and loved for who we are. We are understood and stimulated mentally.

My wish is that all non-speaking autistics have an education like mine. I wish I could free them from their terrible schools where they are treated like babies. They are heavy on my heart.

Until next time,


6 thoughts on “Presumption of Competence

  1. Hey young man, kudos to Mommy dearest and teacher Nicola. These are two world’s great women. I am glad that you are celebrating them my boy.

    You are such an inspiration, not only to other autistic kids, but to everyone who reads the blog. I am awed by your world view and it is not a cliche that age is nothing but a number. Your wisdom is unparalleled.

    Keep blogging my boy!

    Cheers for now


  2. Hi Akha
    I’m really sorry that you had a terrible experience with ABA, your words sit ‘heavy on my heart’. My wish is that all other non-speaking autistics get the best chance at life. You’re doing a great job at bringing awareness and understanding to the community. Proud of you Akha and Mummy for fighting the good fight.


  3. Akha, your blog will soon be added to our Actually Autistic Blogs List ( Please click on the “How do you want your blog listed?” link at the top of that site to customize your blog’s description on the list (or to decline).
    Thank you.
    Judy (An Autism Observer)


  4. Hi Akha. I am Tracy’s sister and she has told me lots about you since you started working together. I often tell others about you and the quote of yours that Tracy has on her wall “Always assume competence”. You are inspirational, as is your mom and Tracy and your teacher – all superheroes. I really hope that together you will all make a way to help other non-speaking children to be heard, for them to be set free from mindless daycare and actually receive the education and life they are capable of. I think you are becoming the voice not only for yourself but for all the others out there who haven’t been ‘heard’ yet. Thank you for the work you are putting into creating awareness of the internal pain of non-speaking autistics and what you are doing in helping find a solution for these children.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s