Thursday, August 24, 2017

Open Communication

Holly writes:
I would love to know how easy or difficult it was for you to begin open communication after mastering pointing to letters or typing. Thanks!

To Holly,

Open communication was a hard-won victory for me. I longed to communicate openly all my life. I found it impossible until I learned RPM. I am going to tell you why open communication is hard. Talking takes all the energy I have. Day to day I use language in my inner thoughts. I hear my own voice. It sounds perfect in my own mind. Getting my thoughts out is lots of hard work. My mouth won’t say my thoughts. I badly want to talk but I lack what it takes to translate thoughts to speech.

I had to learn to spell my thoughts. Spelling is easier because I can point better than I can speak. But it was hard to learn. I had to learn how to control my body to stay focused through onslaughts of other competing thoughts and every sensation. I learned to spell on a stencil and how to think more thoughtfully so I could peacefully make opinions and describe my feelings. At first I learned to spell answers to facts about subjects. Then I learned to use my reasoning to solve problems. Back when I was learning I had a hard time not being distracted. Stims and impulses fought with my brain to get my body to disobey. I needed my mom’s presence and prompting if my brain were to win. I tested my brain to make my body stronger at following commands.   I made myself listen to my mom to keep myself focused.

Going from an academic subject to open-ended communication was like learning to ride a two-wheel bike. I needed support from the training wheels to learn the motion of riding the bike. Then I needed confidence to know I could do it. When I first rode a two-wheeler I was completely shocked. I was not sure I could ever do it but once I did it, it seemed so natural. That is how open communication happened for me.

Open communication is different from all other responses. Recalling facts is easiest. It only takes retrieving them from their storage. Reasoning takes letting a few thoughts out of storage and joins them together. Open-ended communication involves being able to extract a thought from an ocean of tangled thoughts. Some thoughts are silly. Some are annoying. Some are sad. The thought that wants to be told must untangle itself slowly and with gentleness. I make my thoughts come out by typing letter by letter because I must slow down to get my words out. I am patient because being quick leads to impulsive answers I don’t mean to make. I think I will talk someday but I have to be patient.  

Open communication is what allows me to be free in my soul. I can be understood. I can now let people into my life. I can exchange ideas with them.  I can advocate for myself. I can make goals for myself.  I can teach. Open communication lets me be free to live.


Talking with fellow blogger friend Rhema

Copyright 2017 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Philip,

    I enjoy your blog so much!I am starting a new teaching position,and most of my students are nonverbal. I will remember the things I have learned from you,so that I can support my students in their communication. Thanks so much for teaching us! God bless you!