Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President,
My name is Philip.  I am writing to tell you that I am autistic and I want to change the way autistics are taught.  Time to listen to autistics.  No stopping us now.  Standard of teaching has to change.  There is too much senseless drills.  There are not interesting subjects fostered.  Sometimes I want to learn with normal kids.  I miss autistic classmates who don’t talk.  They can’t be at my school because they can’t communicate.  I need lots of support to spell thoughts.  Not having a voice is hard.  It is hard to be the only non-speaker in my class.  Not talking is geared to nothing.  Not having a chance to learn is cruel.  Please govern fairly.  We need you to protect our right to happiness too.  

I am really lucky to have learned from Soma.  I mean to help other autistics to learn RPM too.  To start RPM you learn to listen to normal lessons.  You learn to spell answers.  Then you learn to notably spell your thoughts.  I lower myself to help others.  Learning is so important for our success.  

                                                                                                           Yours truly,
                                                                                                           Philip Reyes

Lisa’s addendum:
The morning this letter was written, Philip spelled this request:  Will you look at understanding right gears for reaching out to president for registering RPM as academic model for autistics?

Philip has been able to make a breakthrough into full communication by Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) which he learned from its creator Soma Mukhopadhyay at her HALO Clinic in Austin, Texas.  Prior to RPM, Philip received an education based on Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) from ages 2-10.  At an early age he  was able to learn the building blocks of learning through ABA, but was only able to functionally make simple requests.  By age 4 he had maxed his capacity to progress in ABA and was stuck learning the same things such as letter and coin recognition year after year.   Philip has expressed his mind was intact all along and he has been soaking up knowledge like a sponge.  However, his inability to speak and to control his body well, made him appear as if he knew very little.  As Philip grew older, this only became more frustrating and lead to more difficult behaviors.  

As Philip  mentioned, RPM is a technique that begins with a regular education and presumes the person is intelligent and competent.  As the person becomes proficient in showing what he or she knows by choosing answers from choices, spelling is introduced, and eventually full communication emerges.  Philip now communicates on a letterboard and ipad (emerging).  He has been able to enter the local public middle school where he attends classes with both autistic (speaking) peers and typical students.  Philip is proud of his accomplishments but is not satisfied with being the only one to benefit.  He thinks often of the classmates he left behind at his old school and those around the world who have no effective means to communicate yet.  He has made it his cause to advocate for them so that they may experience the same benefits he has been so fortunate to receive.    

          Letter to President Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4 

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