Monday, May 30, 2016

Behaviors and Making Better Choices

MK writes:

I have a question for you Phillip. Do/did you ever have challenging behaviors? Especially when you were overstimulated and nervous? Some friends hit or scream out. I think people would want to know what to do when someone with autism is reacting in an inappropriate way. I think people try to help but only make it worse. What is your opinion? I have many friends with autism so I have lots of questions for you.

To MK,

I have had some harmful behaviors. The most common behavior I have used is grabbing. I have grabbed people’s clothes and arms. I did this when I was overwhelmed with anxiety and stress. I mean to day to day be able to control my frustrations but I can’t always succeed. I am learning to last longer at meeting challenging situations by not resorting to my behaviors.

It was bad when I grabbed at my teachers at school. At one time I would grab a teacher’s collar if I got nervous about anticipating doing something difficult at school. I would continue to grab if I was made to do what was making me nervous. I could not stop. I hated my grabbing impulses because they would bury me in a fit of rage I could not come out of. I had to carry out the impulse until I had no energy left. I am ashamed of my behaviors. It was mean of me and I hated my actions. I knew they hurt people and made things worse. I would make people afraid of me.

Meaningful ways to better deal with stress and frustration should be talked about. I think some learning of coping skills should be understood. Learning Bible verses and daily devotions has helped me make better choices about my actions. I now try to learn self-control by meditating Bible teachings and praying to God to help me. I feel more calm and at peace. I am teaching myself to hear meaningful advice and follow it. I am now able to tell myself that I can do it. My autism may make things difficult to accomplish but accepting help from God and others makes me able to make each challenge easier to meet.


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Advice About Interacting With Me

Rick asks:  How are the best ways for people to introduce themselves to you, talk to you, and interact with you?

I like talking to people. I am interested in learning about others and getting meaningful friendships. But learning to interact with people is hard work. I get nervous around people. This is because of lots of things. I mostly get nervous about not being able to meet people’s expectations about me. I am smart but my body is not obedient to my mind. It makes me look stupid, misbehaved, and foolish. That is why I am anxious in public. I can appear like I am rude and uninterested in you. Please don’t take my lack of eye contact and the way I walk away as a sign I don’t like you. I am not in control of my body.  

I like when people can see past my weird behaviors and be patient to listen to me. Make me more comfortable by peaceful patience. Learning to be social is hard but I want it badly. Please say hi to me even though I look like I am not interested in you. I mean to say, “Hi, how are you?” but it won’t come out. Be patient while I type. Be persistent with getting me to learn about you. If I walk away from you while you are talking, it means my body is nervous and needs to move to calm itself. Please don’t take offense. I wish I could stop myself from walking away. You can follow me or wait for me to come back.

I love my relationships in school, church, at home, and on Facebook. I can communicate pretty well but I am slow. I think the Internet has been a wonderful thing for people like me. I can talk to many people at once. I can teach people about autism. I can write my friends letters and texts. My good friends are people who love me and accept my autism.


My friend Kevin loves to take selfies of us with my iPad!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

How I Have Learned

Dear Phillip
I have a question for you and your mom please.
When you were young before RPM, how did you learn?
I mean did you learn from your therapy sessions or was it from your mom or was it self learning?
Thanks a lot,

Dear MH, 

I have been learning since I was very young. I look like I can’t learn. I waited to make my intelligence manifest. When I was practicing talking as a young child, I would get mad about not being able to say what I very much wanted to say. I wanted to tell my family I was smart, that I wanted to make conversation, and I love them. I wanted to talk so badly. Instead the wrong words came out.

Learning comes from all around me. In practically every moment learning about the world happens. Learning to make an opinion starts with making observations. All you need are your mind and senses. I make use of all my senses. My most relied-on sense is my hearing. I used to learn to read on my own by matching the words mom read to the words on the page she read. Mom read me lots of books. I learned a lot from mom creating lessons everywhere we went. Probably the biggest way I learned was through songs. I love music. My preschool teachers sang to me to get me to talk. I would feel me learning to rock to the beat and practice seeing the lyrics in my head. At church I learned to read the lyrics of worship songs.

I learned from my therapies somewhat. In ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) I learned to make the most of a babyish education by memorizing writings I saw on signs or books in the classroom. ABA taught me to be malleable to get food. Learning was not challenging or fun. I did not need the repetition. Once I learn something, I want to learn something new and interesting. ABA had me repeating the same goals for years.

My favorite therapy before RPM was RDI (Relationship Development Intervention). I liked making my body useful by helping around the house doing chores like laundry, dishes, and lots of other chores. I also liked playing with my family.

RPM is by far the best thing I learned. I am now able to attend regular school. I love it. Meaningful communication allows me to show my intelligence and converse with other people.


Monday, May 2, 2016

RPM Has Given Me a Voice

Video Blog by Christopher Finnes

Here is a short video message from Christopher Finnes in the UK for parents who are considering RPM (Rapid Prompting Method) for their child. Chris is aged 17 and is home schooled. He began RPM with Soma in 2011 and continues to work on his independant pointing and motor skills everyday. He is not yet able to independently type on a keyboard/Ipad but this is his long-term goal.  

His mum Sue says, "This has been a long journey for us, with many ups and downs, but I have been so inspired by what Chris has achieved using RPM that I felt I could not just keep this to myself. I know that there are thousands of children like my son- whose intelligence is being totally under-estimated, and who are judged by their outward behaviours. Lisa is doing a great job here sharing the writings of many of these children. There are not many RPM teachers worldwide so I decided I wanted specifically to help people to learn RPM, so I set up and moderate a very active international Facebook parent support group 'Unlocking Voices- Using RPM'  and also a not-for-profit company in the UK. My objective is to empower parents to learn how to use RPM with their children and so unlock their unheard voices.'

Sue and Christopher