A starting assumption


  • People who can communicate clearly generally say they don’t like something, and/or
  • People who are allowed to say no and have that respected generally refuse to do something…


  • You should assume that people who aren’t allowed to say no don’t like it either, and:
  • You should assume that people who can’t communicate clearly don’t like it either


  • You shouldn’t do that thing to someone who can’t say no without a *really* compelling reason. 

None of these things are compelling reasons:

  • They’re low-functioning, r-worded, have special needs, or are difficult to manage
  • They’re not actually screaming when you do the thing to them
  • They’re a compliant audience
  • You enjoy doing the thing
  • You feel that it is good for them
  • It makes them look more normal
  • It makes them easier to manage
  • It keeps them busy
  • It’s therapy
  • An experienced expert told you to
  • It might conceivably offer some health benefits
  • Your religion says it is important

When people can’t say no easily, it’s of the utmost important to make good guesses about what they’re consenting to and what they aren’t. If you start from the assumption that they don’t consent to things most other people don’t consent to, you’ll do a lot less harm.