Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Many Thanks to Soma

By Philip

Each day when I type I am thankful to Soma. Putting together RPM is the best invention for non-speaking people. I remember that I was nine questioning myself if I would ever be understood. One day my mom met Mrs. Conti and learned about Michael going to Heim because he could communicate.  So impressed was she about her son Michael who learned and left (his old school) because he could communicate by RPM that she sought to try RPM too. Perhaps God led us to meet them so we would meet Soma. Meeting Soma was the top moment in my life. Nothing I had experienced in the past had prepared me for learning from Soma. When I arrived at HALO where I first met Soma, I was nervous I would not be able to perform as people expected. This happened to me all the time. I did not think it would be different. I hoped my parents wouldn't be disappointed.  I went into a perfectly small room, which managed to keep me mentally acute and calm so I could do my best. Soma was a tiny woman. She didn't talk like most anyone I worked with before. Nobody had talked to me like I was smart or understanding. Soma was the first. She talked conversing with me. Out-of-the box was her focus. A lot of people miss me because they see my outward behaviors and not the intelligence. Soma saw through my exterior and into who I really am. She allowed my stims but told me how my hurtful behaviors were momentarily troublesome to her.  I respected her to work hard for. I was so exhausted after our first session.  I answered a lot of questions Soma asked by pointing to choices she wrote on paper. I was made to feel smart and inquisitive. People never thought that about me before. Soma told me how Pilgrims made their home in the new world. She taught me how to spell on the stencils. I opined how interested I was in learning. I became interested in achieving some say in my life. I realized I needed to participate in conversation. I decided to answer for myself what I wanted my life to look like. I placed myself in Soma's care. I wanted to learn from her as much as possible. I didn't want to leave. Moments came over me when I couldn't control the anxiety from disappointing myself from not answering correctly. I sometimes grabbed at Soma's shirt in frustration that making my body move correctly was so tiring. I wanted to peacefully apologize for hurting her. Soma was so patient that my anxiety almost melted away. I was seeing what I was able to do for the first time. In meeting Soma, my life moved away from despair and toward the hope of new life. I am preparing to write my biography. More stories will be shared there. I am forever thankful to Soma for giving me my voice. 

Philip meeting Soma for the first time Oct. 2012 (age 9)

Philip today on his 12th Birthday- 3/17/15


  1. wow Philip - you've come so far since 2012 - you should be so proud of yourself and celebrate your achievements! I've enjoyed following your progress with my son Christopher, Hope you have a wonderful birthday XX

  2. Congrats Philip. My family has just started RPM here in Sweden. Hope your birthday was fun.

  3. Thank you, Philip for sharing your gratitude and your words with all of us. I'm so happy that you and Soma met. I love every word that you wrote. (tears) I'm with you.. we must all see through the exterior. See who we really all. Beyond all labels. I look forward to your blog and biography. xoxo