Sunday, April 19, 2015

Being Nonverbal Does Not Mean Having Nothing to Say

By Hanna

The word autism is considered something wrong.  But people sometimes have different conditions.  I am autistic and I communicate very differently.  I belong to this same world as everyone else does.  I belong to so called society as the other beings do.  I am an individual who is not less determined than other people to have some day an opportunity for being competent.  


Hanna is 12 years old, and has been doing RPM for about 1 year.  She has her own Facebook page called 
Being Nonverbal Does Not Mean Having Nothing to Say.    

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Autism Acrostic

By Ron Giri

Awareness needed
Understanding is necessary
Treat us with dignity
GIve us knowledge
Sometimes Sensory overload overwhelms us
Let’s Make the world a better place



Ron is 9 years old. He started doing RPM 3 years ago. Now he communicates with a letterboard, and sometimes typing and hand writing. He lives in Worksop, United Kingdom.

Friday, April 17, 2015

My Dog Gusto

By Brayden

GUSTO

HI MY NAME IS BRAYDEN.  I AM EIGHT YEARS OLD.  I HAVE AUTISM.  I USE A BOARD THAT HAS THE ALPHABET ON IT.  I SPELL OUT ON IT WHAT I WANT TO SAY AND MY MOM HOLDS MY BOARD.  IT’S CALLED RPM, RAPID PROMPTING METHOD.
I RECEIVED GUSTO ON MAY 3, 2013.  I WAS NOT SURE ABOUT GUSTO AT FIRST BUT WHEN HE LICKED ME I KNEW IT WOULD WORK OUT ON MAY 3, 2013.
I COULDNT EXPRESS MYSELF BEFORE I LEARNED RPM.  RPM STANDS FOR RAPID PROMPTING METHOD.  I WAS SO DEPRESSED BECAUSE I FELT ALONE EVEN THOUGH I HAD MY FAMILY.  A PART OF AUTISM IS HAVING DIFFICULTY IN EXPRESSING YOURSELF.  I LOVE MY PARENTS FOR HAVING FOUND RPM AND BECAUSE OF THEM I HAVE FOUND MY VOICE.   I LOVE SOMA FOR TEACHING RPM.  IT SAVED ME FROM AN INTERNAL PRISON OF HAVING NO VOICE.

GUSTO HELPS KEEP ME CALM AND RELAXED BY STAYING BESIDE ME.  GUSTO HELPS KEEP ME FOCUSED AND ON TASK WHEN WE ARE OUT IN PUBLIC BY HOLDING HIS HANDLE.  HE HAS GIVEN ME INDEPENDENCE BY WALKING BY MYSELF AND NOT HAVING TO HOLD HANDS WITH A ADULT ANYMORE.   I DON’T LIKE TO HOLD HANDS BECAUSE IT MAKES ME FEEL LIKE A BABY.  HE GIVES ME UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.  HE STAYS WITH ME ALL THE TIME. HE IS MY ONLY CONSTANT IN MY LIFE AND THAT MAKES ME FEEL SECURE ESPECIALLY WHEN I AM IN A NEW PLACE.  HE TRAVELED WITH ME TO TEXAS TO SEE SOMA AND LEARN RPM AND THAT WAS A STRESSFUL TRIP.   I HAD GUSTO THERE BY MY SIDE AND THAT’S WHAT I NEEDED TO HAVE BECUASE GUSTO HELPED ME.  HE IS MY BEST FRIEND.  HE HELPED ME THOUGHT A DARK TIME IN MY LIFE.   I LIKE HAVING A SERVICE DOG AND I FEEL LUCKY TO HAVE GUSTO.

Gusto and Brayden

Brayden is from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.  He was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old.  He has been proudly expressing himself for 4 months using RPM. He likes to write stories about his life experiences.  He loves to learn about science, math, computer science, animals, history, geography and anything really.  He is passionate about space and his goal in life is to go to university and work for NASA designing spaceships and doing ground research.

Brayden and his mom keep a blog called Super Brayden.



Thursday, April 16, 2015

An Autistic Mentor's Advice

Diane writes:
Hello!  I wanted to share with you Brent Sullivan's story.  Brent is 45 years old and lives here on the farm at Juniper Hill with a few of his friends.  He crochets and sells blankets at craft sales and the local farmer's market. He has been learning to communicate with RPM for 10 months. Here is some advice that he gave to a young boy who wants to write poetry and is also learning to use RPM. It's never too late!



MY LIFE WAS HAPPY IN MY LITTLE WORLD OF AUTISM. IT REGULARLY IS NOT IF I CAN’T CROCHET. I AM GOOD USUALLY. TODAY IS GREAT, BE MAKING A BLANKET.  IT IS COOL YOU ARE A POET. RIGHT NOW YOU ARE SMALL BUT YOU WILL GROW, AND BECAUSE YOU LOVE POETRY IT WILL BE A GOOD QUIET LIFE. SO I WANT TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO DEVELOP YOUR GIFTS.





Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Heart For Justice

My name is Nicolas and I can’t talk because I’m autistic.  But I can type on my own, especially about my great interest the Holocaust. My faith in God is my strength and I would like to have a job later about sociology of discrimination. To contribute to the blog is wonderfull! 
Thanks  Lisa and Philip 



Nicolas is 15 years old from France.
 He has his own blog Le Bulletin de Niko.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life Happens

By Hridhay Bashyam

Lot lot lot I ask, how mom not get me
Lot lot lot I think, how the world addresses me
Lot lot lot I wonder, what Autistic means
Lot lot lot I realize, I am different
I am four, Life happens!

Morning of May Sixth, dear Neha came to me
Mom’s dear boy felt mom loved her more
Am lot angry God gave me competition
More I knew her am entering a world of love never known
My Blessing, My Angel Sister!
I am six, Life happens!

Lot lot lot, am really bored
Bored of the real world
World flowing with the same attitude
“Autistics are not born to achieve!”
Lot lot lot, I am really lonely
Lot lot lot, I am very anxious
Feeling desperate and lost
I am nine, Life happens!

Lot lot lot, old mom read
Lot lot lot, eager mom learnt
Mom saved me from a dark place
Lot lot lot, sanity lost is back
Lot lot lot, am rising from loneliness
With RPM* in my life, am reborn!
I am ten, Life happens!

Lot lot lot, I am learning
Knowledge is lot powerful
Goodness love brings is nice
Lot lot lot, I am hopeful
Lot lot lot, I am longing
Longing for my own identity
Not “Normal”, Not “Autistic”
I am eleven, Life happens!

*RPM also known as Soma’s “Rapid Prompting Method” is a method of teaching academics and communication through the use of the child’s open learning channels at the time of learning.  Hridhay uses RPM to learn and communicates with a letter board.



Hridhay Bashyam is an 11 year old who lives in Saratoga, California.  He loves learning, outdoors, skiing, acting and being on stage.  His favorite subjects are poetry (reading and writing), science and math. Hridhay is extremely insightful and has a great sense of humor.  He has been communicating and learning via RPM for a year and a half. He wishes all his friends would have access to RPM since they all have a lot to say. 


Monday, April 13, 2015

How RPM Helped My "Verbal" Child

The following was written by Em, who is the mother of 7 year old Filbert.  She especially wanted to share her story to illustrate how RPM has helped her son intentionally communicate what he is really thinking, despite having the ability to speak.  As you will read, this is a case where speech does not reliably convey the real meaning of what Filbert wants to say.  This illustrates why communication must be prioritized before speech. 

My 7 year old son is such a trooper. Day in and day out he does his best to function in a body that betrays his mind. Despite autism intensely impacting his life, from the outside he seems to be happy, kind and caring. I have done many things to help his body be as healthy as possible and numerous therapies to also aid in his other challenges. For the last 3 years, my main focus has been speech. He has moved from a few sentences, to plenty of sentences which include lots of adjectives. However, he is not conversational.  I decided to change directions after a chat with a friend.  I began researching Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) developed by Soma Mukhopadhyay. She developed RPM believing she could educate her son, Tito, regardless of professional opinions. The more I read and researched, the more excited I became. Initially, I thought that RPM was strictly for what some consider "preverbal" children (I strongly dislike all the labeling). Then I stumbled on a YouTube video of a child like my son.  Watching him spell on the letterboard raised many questions. Could Filbert do that? Was what Filbert saying always functional? My paradigm began to crack.

Up until my first experience with Filbert doing RPM, I assumed all his speech was functional (unless he said the same thing over and over which was a verbal stim). Among his first few RPM lessons was when it struck me; his mouth was less than 10% accurate, but his pointing to the answers was 100% accurate.

Once I began to let that crack become a crater, my heart sank and I cried for joy. I felt foolish I had missed this and, on the other hand, relieved that now with RPM he could spell his thoughts. I could finally have the opportunity to know my son -- his favorite color, food, etc. Things that many parents take for granted.

We had Lenae Crandall from www.heedrpm.com come to our home and teach us in our environment to work with Filbert. He bonded so well with her and was able to at times spell several sentences.

He spelled the following with Lenae:

NO MOM IS AS GOOD AS MINE. LOVE MOM SO MUCH. NO MOM IS LIKE HER. ONE HAS NO MORE MOMS THAT IS SO COOL. NO ONE IS OLD IN THE VERY HEALING WAY. THE MOM IS NOT MEAN, THIS IS TRYING TO DO JESUS. MY ONE MOM, LOUD TODAY IS MY VOICE. THANK YOU.

LOVE,
ME

There are no words to describe the compliment and joy of watching him and reading his words. Of all the things he could have spelled in that moment he selflessly chose to express his love for me. It's overwhelming to know his mind is perfectly fine; he is just in a dysfunctional body.

This has lead to our team learning RPM.  Now we can daily teach him academics and over time he can master the letterboard with each of us and share his life with our family and all those he loves.

Since working with Lenae we have been full steam ahead teaching him Science, Social Studies, English and Math. He is at or above grade level in all areas. His fluency on the letter board improves daily.

Here are some other things he has shared with us:

What would you find exhilarating? CHURCH
What does Easter mean? JESUS SITS WITH FATHER
What does autism mean to you? SAME BARE. WE WEAK. EYE SEE NUN FEEL DEEP (he sees himself as deep but others don't see it)
When asked to share with other parents about RPM for their children he spelled: WE NEED A FUN EDUCATION. FEEL ME PLAN. MEET JESUS. TEEM VOICE.
What bothers you? WAVY HAIR (lol, time for a haircut, I had no idea)

If you have a child with any kind of limited speech, I beg you to explore RPM and get to know your child. " MY ONE MOM, LOUD TODAY IS MY VOICE. THANK YOU.”




Filbert was diagnosed with severe autism around age 3. He is verbal in relation to his wants and needs, but his personality and intelligence are now evident through RPM.  He loves math (especially challenging algebra) and poetry.  He is interested in animals and loves visiting the zoo. He is passionate about loving others and learning. He is excited for other children who are verbal to learn RPM and share their deep feelings also.

Em is Filbert’s mom.  She heads up Team Filbert and blogs about their journey at www.takesatown.com.  She is forever grateful to a good friend for sharing RPM with them.