Saturday, April 29, 2017

RPM: Balance & Role of Motor Planning

Guest Blog by Em (Filbert's Mom) and Filbert

Filbert’s Bio:  I am soon to be nine years old. I love being outside biking or swimming. I am a Harry Potter fan. I enjoy exercising and singing. My latest love is piano playing and snap circuits. I have been doing RPM since November 2014. I have accomplished so many hard goals.

By Em

We have loved being a RPM family for almost 2 and-a-half years. Coming from a play therapy background there were holes in Filbert’s academics that needed filling. However, academics only take about two hours per day leaving many hours to fill as a homeschool family.

Soma’s blue book Developing Motor Skills for Autism really sparked my passion for my son to have independent skills and hobbies. All of those take motor planning, which is a struggle for autistics.

Our family decided to divide our time 50-50 between academics and motor skills. Upon starting in November 2014, my son could not dress himself, feed himself, zip, and do many other skills. I was now armed with the tools to teach him. We began with motor modeling — assisting Filbert hand-over-hand 2-3 times, then having him immediately try himself. Consistency is key. We picked a few skills and exercised persistence. 

Improvement comes slowly, but it comes and is so worth it. Many of the initial skills we started with took 6-9 months to master. Several took us 2 years. The pride and independence Filbert now has was worth every day we spent working on these. 

We broke our list down into three categories: self-help, exercise and hobbies. Our first self-help skills included self-feeding, self-dressing, zipping, putting on shoes, cutting, and teeth brushing. Exercises included lots of stretching and core strengthening (a weak area for us). We now do Special Fit with Mike Ramirez and find it very helpful. Our hobby journey started with foosball, crochet, and tracing/drawing.

Working on all these motor skills has given Filbert a defined role within our family and community. Prior to having diversified motor skills, he ran around our house whenever he was not engaged in something. Now it is as if he does not need to run out of his own skin and can control his body much more effectively. Just like all kids, he has chores and he is such a help! His hobbies also allow him to do joint activities with friends, participate at Boy Scouts, and take piano lessons.

Below are some videos of where we are now. Through his hard work and the support of our team he has blossomed! Excited to see where this next year takes us. Remember the only mistake is not to try. Get started!!!

Friday, April 28, 2017

A Walk in My Shoes

Guest Blog by Graciela

Can you imagine having the intelligence of a savant but never being that lucky to be in a school that works with this ability? This has been my experience because I have not found the awesome school that can work with my body and my mind. Because I need the support for my challenging body many have made the mistake of thinking that my intelligence is totally challenged too. Daring to believe challenged bodies are still intelligent is hard for most educators. Could teachers do better? Could stopping to think about intelligence help the situation? Could trying to presume competence be effective? Amazing education thinks about how to stop doing the same things over and over  and thinks about how to really educate strong minds.  

Autism in the non-speaking is challenging because the outer body is so careless. However the inner mind is fully intact and on many levels greatly intelligent. It is hard to stop making the outer body behave the way it does. Educators must have the ability to look beyond the body’s actions. Is it a lot to learn to do this? My body is autistic. My brain is not. With the support I need for my body I am able to do incredible work with my amazing mind.  

The awesome thing that we are finding out about the brain and learning is that the brain has an incredible way of working in some individuals and we must help these individuals get the education they deserve. 

Graciela is an amazing 13 year old girl. She has been using the letterboards for three years. She always does her best to challenge others  to be making the path to inclusion as beautiful as possible in spite of always running into a lot of obstacles on her own journey. 

Graciela has a blog entitled Dare to Listen.  Check it out at

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

RPM Has Freed Me- A Video Blog

by Charles

I am excited to be able to share with others about my life not being able to talk.  
The best thing in the world has been RPM.
To not be able to talk is a living hell.
I hope that everyone gets the chance to have someone to help them communicate.


Charles' Video Blog

Charles is 22 years old and lives in north East Midlands in the UK.  He began RPM in May 2015 at age 19.  Charles loves having conversations with his family and sharing his opinions with others. He is also excited to have pen friends to share with.