Sunday, January 24, 2016

I Belong

I belong in this world like everyone else. I have not always felt welcome. For years I was excluded from regular education. Not learning things was practically like death to my mind. I withered away in my own head. I became placated by stims and low expectations. Life grew comfortably boring. I grew to believe my life would never improve. Meaningless would be my life. I can’t begin to tell you how heavy my sorrow was. I wanted to die and be free of this hell.

I am not in hell anymore. I escaped by Mom’s help. Mom learned RPM (Rapid Prompting Method). She made sure I learned many things like my siblings. Mom learned to teach me like Soma (the creator of RPM). She practiced until we got academics down. Then she made a meaningful leap to ask me to express myself. It was really hard at first. I had many meltdowns because it was so hard to make my thoughts come to the forefront of my mind, which was used to being numb. I felt overwhelmed with emotion. Sometimes it was extreme happiness. Sometimes it was extreme sadness for being so trapped in a disobedient body. I would often bang my head out of anger and frustration. Meaning to my meltdowns was lamenting my autism for making my life so difficult to fit in.

My life gets better every day. Making peace with my autism has made me happier. I get meaningful education at school. Partnering with my school, I have been able to make a good transition from my old life at a special school to my new life at public school. My teachers believe in me. They help me feel so welcome and like I belong there. I have taught my teachers and classmates about autism. Helping them understand autism puts me at ease. My life is more meaningful now. I have been able to progress more. Learning is interesting and challenging. I am always looking for the most learning. Last year I advocated for myself to go to regular classes at my IEP meeting. The committee listened to me. This year I am taking regular science and social studies. I love being in these classes. I am making friends too. My world is so much more welcoming now that they can understand me. Making a more understanding world is my goal. Peace be with you.

Philip


Philip among the top achievers at Christian Service Brigade

Monday, January 11, 2016

Trauma

Ms. A writes:

My 12 yr old autistic daughter has had a rough year. This summer she broke her foot at the pool. After starting school on crutches, she was hit by a door when another student pushed it open. This caused a concussion. She has really struggled with controlling meltdowns and other stress reactions. She is starting to feel better, and is attending a full day of school again. But has started damaging things at home after a meltdown. She has never done this before. She is usually a sweet and very helpful girl. I was hoping you might understand what she is feeling and offer some insight.

Hi Ms. A,
People like me may have severe reactions to trauma. In my life I have many fears related to past experiences. When I was little I once had a cold shower. I was so traumatized by the feeling of the cold water raining like hail on my body that I have not taken a shower since. I am still fearful someone might accidentally turn on the shower while I am in the tub. People need to know that autistics have intense memories of lots of things. Your daughter had 2 traumatic experiences in a short amount of time. I think your daughter is having her fears take control over her. She has had some big accidents happen to her body. This would cause me tremendous anxiety. I am paralyzed by fear when I remember something awful. People need to know mean sensations can come while thinking about a past bad experience. Mean sensations are like mighty attacks of war on my stomach or head. I sometimes feel like I might die. It is the worst feeling. Peace comes when I am left alone to rest until the feeling passes. Make your daughter understand she is loved and that you are not mad at her.

I can eventually lessen the effects of trauma. For example, when I was 9 I went to bike camp for the first time. I was doing well, but on the last day I fell. I did not want to go on a bike for years. But mom signed me up for bike camp again when I was 12. This time I could communicate. Being able to communicate has helped me not be as anxious to trace a trauma to my memory. I can peacefully process my feelings. With people knowing I am smart and capable, I can trust them to help me do something that makes me nervous. Now I love to ride my bike.

I wish you and your daughter the best.
Love,

Philip

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Resolutions

By Philip

I am excited for 2016. I want it to be the best year yet. I am making an emancipation of my nonverbal friends my goal. Making communication readily available to my friends is really important. I aim to educate people about autism and RPM (Rapid Prompting Method). I want to day to day meet people to show how I communicate. I am hoping to day to day make a difference in a person’s life. Mainly I am very interested in making a better world for my autistic friends. I very much want to help my autistic friends succeed. 


In my own life, I would like to meet new goals meaningfully. I want to speak more with my mouth and writing my thoughts with more people through RPM. I want to be more independent. I want to be less affected by anxiety. I want to learn to ice skate. I want to go to math class with my neurotypical classmates. I want to day to day be more able to make myself more adaptable in the world. 

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Philip's Interview by Bella

Philip has friends all over the world who are like him and communicate in alternative methods such as RPM.  The internet has been a wonderful place for these kids to connect because they can see they are not alone and can socialize without the pressure of real-time back and forth exchanges which can be difficult when every word has to be typed out.  Philip corresponds with friends in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Australia.  One of his best friends is Bella who lives in Australia.  She also communicates with RPM and has a Facebook page called Bella’s Walk.  She is working on a project and asked Philip a few questions.  They both agreed his answers could be shared in the blog.      

Bella:  Remember when you were not communicating with RPM? How was it like for you?

Philip:  Before RPM I was made to feel like a wild animal. I was fearful all the time. I talked with God constantly.  He loves me and He has protected me from a lot of my fears. Peace was always hidden before I could communicate. I was making worst-case scenarios in my mind. I thought anyone could abuse me because I could not defend myself. I am always caring to talk to people to tell them at least realize we have feelings too. I was treated like a pet that needed to be house trained. I am no longer there. I am free.

Bella:  What kept you, my friend?

Philip:  What kept me going was God always being with me. I felt His presence everyday. I knew someday I would have a voice because an angel told me I would. I only knew it would happen but not when. I am peaceful that God kept His word. When I met Soma, I knew it was my best chance so far to leave my silent prison. Meaning for my life came about. I care to make the most of it. God knows me like no one else. I am most grateful for His grace.

Bella:  What words are really the most descriptive of your personality?

Philip: Words that describe me best are caring, meaningful, and freeman. I am caring to my friends and people who want to learn from me. I am meaningful because I am created with purpose by God. Freeman I am because I can communicate now.

Bella:  My last question is, can you tell me of your rescue?

Philip:  My rescue from silence came from God leading my mom to find out about RPM. She never gave up on me. She pushed me enough to make a way out for my words. Making a way to communicate then lead to a way to be a part of the world.  Making a difference in the world feels great.

  












Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Why Talking Is Hard

By Philip

Talking is very very very hard for me. Most of the time I am meaning to talk aloud to answer a question of me or make small talk. I am talking in my head all the time. People who talk have no idea how hard it is to not be able to talk. I am able to communicate now with typing my thoughts. Lavishing a lot of love to RPM (Rapid Prompting Method) I am grateful for a way to show my intelligence to the world.

Talking is hard because a lot of things make it practically impossible for me to communicate what I really want through speech. I am unable to make my mouth move accurately enough to make properly sounded out words. I cannot enunciate the ends of my words. The most difficult thing is making my thoughts loose from my mind. I am peaceful practicing my words in my mind. But for my mind to make free my good words I must make my thoughts spell words to get them out and make sense to others. Typing is easier because I can point more accurately than coordinate my mouth and tongue.

My anxiety can also affect my communication. I get nervous if I look people in the eyes. Most of the time I avoid eye contact with people who I don't know well. If I feel comfortable with you I can look you in the eyes. I feel powerless to feel or think when I am overwhelmed with anxiety. I am peaceful around familiar people I have come to trust. 

I write words in my mind so they don't disappear. Typing my thoughts makes it meaningful to the world. I am better at writing than speaking. Saying a word is like catching a fish I think. I cast my line into a sea of words. I hope to get the right one but I often retrieve the wrong one. I am making maps of words to fish for. For example I may have my go-to words for eating. I am making food words to retrieve. I can say salad and get it. Maybe I would like a banana instead but since my mouth knows how to retrieve salad better, that's the word I say in place of banana.


I am practicing talking among my classmates. I mean to relax more around them. My classmates talk so fast. I am so slow. People have to wait for me to type. I am popular but it is hard to make good friends without talking. I am hoping to be more able to talk some day.



Copyright 2015 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.