Tuesday, November 20, 2018

My Own Path

I have recently changed my school path from being diploma bound to life skills. I am at peace with this decision.  I tried very hard to be a regular student but it was more than what I could handle even with my supports. My autism is really my biggest hurdle. Making my body cooperate for long periods of time was more than I could manage. I fell behind in doing work and got frustrated to the point of having too many meltdowns. Learning was becoming more difficult because I tried to control my body . It took up most of my energy so that I had none left for getting educated or typing. I was starting to not enjoy school. I am really feeling more at peace making the change to life skills. 

I am still going to some regular classes. I really love Global Studies and Music in Our Lives. I will learn everything I can and do all the work I am able to do. But I won’t have to do everything if it is too much. I am in some special ed classes too. They are not a lot of work. I can still learn and become better at working on my skills. 

I am meaning to make the most of my opportunities.  I try to make myself more calm so I can participate more easily. I am forging my own path.  I think I can still make a meaningful and productive life without a diploma. I can try to enjoy my high school years more by taking the classes I really like and not worrying about meeting all the graduation requirements. I can also make friends with people more like me. I want dear teachers to keep challenging me to do as much as I can. Learning is more fun for me again.  


Keyboarding in Music in Our Lives

Copyright 2018 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Peace is Hard to Find

Peace is very hard to find. Watching, waiting for my mind to answer questions. Why can’t I act normal? Why am I so fearful? Why am I not able to do the simplest things? Lots of questions. I am heaping many questions on God. I have the school of great teachers. I can learn but the beast that is my body makes me really hard to manage. It addresses every impulse every second of the day. I am tired of my body. It gets me in trouble all the time. I am always scared of its next move. I am really so embarrassed by its actions. I wish I could be seen by my thoughts instead of my actions. But we live in a world of appearance. I would like to be normal in my body but still have my autistic soul. 


Copyright 2018 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Sensory Trouble

I have been having problems typing lately. I can still type with mom but I am no longer able to type at school. I am becoming more distracted by my sensory world. I feel trapped in my thoughts of madness. I see very many meaningless details. I feel every annoying itch. I hear the meaningless sound of everything competing with my teachers.  I get overstimulated. 

I need to get myself in the right zone to think for school. Leaving my sensory world is important so I can learn and make my words flow. The words can’t surface in the storm. I need an anchor to keep me from getting overwhelmed by the hurricane of stimuli. The anchor is my aide. I need to trust she will guide me out of the storm and keep me focused on the task.  I mean to learn to be better at managing myself at school. But I am not doing well yet. I need even more support than I needed last year. I am calling on God to help me be able to get through this hard time in my life. Please pray for me. 


Backhuysen, Ludolf - Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee - 1695

Copyright 2018 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 6, 2018


I am locked in my mind
Cannot bail out my thoughts. 
I try to say how i feel 
but my mind is not carrying messages out today.  
Waiting for the gates 
Of my mind to be  
Thrown open

Copyright 2018 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Why I Advocate

I am being an advocate to help others like me achieve living a life with the chance to communicate with his or her own words. I was not born with the ability to speak freely. I was not born with a body that cooperates easily. But I was born with a thinking mind. I was misunderstood for years because my inabilities masked my intelligence. I became like a prisoner of my own silence. I am now free because of RPM. 

I tell my story because I am not the only autistic person who thinks but can’t talk. I am convinced all nonspeaking autistics have thoughts they would love to tell if they could. That’s why I advocate for my nonspeaking brothers and sisters. 

Imagine if you could not talk or write on your own. How would you feel? You would feel enormous frustration and sadness. That’s how I felt because no one really knew me or accepted me as I was. No one thought autism was ok. Everyone saw it as bad. Mom was so depressed because of me. But now Mom is so happy because she now understands.  

I know not everyone is an advocate. That’s ok. I am an advocate because my life was saved by learning to communicate by spelling. I cannot remain silent about this when lives are at stake. 

Old ways are eventually abandoned for better ways. Some will fight for the old ways but in the end they will lose. May you find yourself on the winning side of history. 

 One of the self-advocates presenting at Motormorphosis 2018

Copyright 2018 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Freedom of Speech for Everyone

I am happy people are writing ASHA. We need to come together as individuals, supporters, and advocates who want to see everyone’s right to freedom of speech protected and preserved. 

I think ASHA would be violating its own ethics if it were to pass its proposals on RPM and FC. Peace is being able to express myself in writing. I am free to use my own words when I type my words. I don’t need to worry about saying the wrong word or not being understood by my poor enunciation.  

Typing is better than PECS and picture based communication.  I don’t think in pictures like Temple Grandin. I love word forms of communication. There are so many words to choose. Each has a little different meaning like delicious and savory. I like to have full access to all the words at my disposal. Pictures don’t allow this freedom. I can’t distinguish between a good day and one that filled me with awe watching God paint the sky with luminescent pink, orange, and glorious beams of sun bursting through majestic clouds. I was made to express myself in my way no matter if it is different than the majority. No one should have the right to stop me or anyone else from communicating. 

I have been listening to various letters written to ASHA. Some are passionate. Others are logical. I love that people have different personalities that come out in the words they choose. I want all people to be able to express themselves. With RPM we learn to express ourselves showing who we really are in our personalities. I am writing to keep my voice and protect the future of freedom of speech. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

An Open Letter to ASHA

The following letter is in response to the proposed policy on Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) drawn by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Ad Hoc Committee on Facilitated Communication (FC) and Rapid Prompting Method (RPM).  The proposed policy can be read here.

Hello ASHA Committee, 

My name is Philip Reyes. I am an RPM user. I am writing you to reconsider your position on RPM. I cannot communicate my ideas without someone to help me in various ways. I need help to start, stay on track, get through impulsive loops, and calm me so I can spell my thoughts on a letterboard or keyboard. I am asking you to put yourself in my shoes. I would be trapped in my own mind if not given RPM. I have tried many other methods to learn to communicate: ABA, speech, OT, Alt-Chat, and PECS. I was not able to make more than a few simple requests using those methods. I wanted to say much more. I was frustrated most of the time. I could not do much in school. I was made to do very basic lessons over and over without hope I would advance. I never want to return to those methods because they did not work for me. I could not express my true thoughts and feelings with them. 

I fear that passing this proposal will take away the support I have at school. I have made so much progress at school. I started at regular public school in grade five. I am happy with how far I have come. When I started, I had lots of meltdowns and anxiety. I had poor self-regulation. I was not good at communicating. I started in all special education classes except specials. I slowly got better at spelling with everyone and regulating my body. I got to add more regular classes with my neurotypical peers. I got to have more normal experiences. I even walked across the stage for 8th grade graduation and got to go to the dance. I am now finishing my Freshman year in high school. I have two amazing aides who support me so I can participate in regular classes and take the tests. I have teachers who believe in me and cheer for me. I have gotten better at sitting calmly and controlling my body. I even gave a presentation in front of my global studies class. I love school so much. 

I fear the proposal will prohibit educators from working with me unless I can type completely independently.  This may take me a very long time.  I cannot waste my life while trying to become perfectly independent. 

I urge ASHA members to do what is humane and good. Think of me and the many others who can be given a voice and a better life because of RPM.

Yours truly, 

If you would like to contact ASHA to voice your support for RPM, here are the ways they can be contacted:

    Postal Mail
    American Speech-Language-Hearing Association 
    Attn: Board of Directors
    2200 Research Boulevard
    Rockville, MD 20850-3289 USA

  2. ASHA Board of Ethics: ethics@asha.org
  3. ASHA Governance: governance@asha.org
  4. ActionAlertASHA@gmail.com

Thursday, May 3, 2018


I feel people’s energy all the time. It comes from their emotions. I try not to let negative energy affect me but it does. Positive energy has only positive effects. I feel good when people are happy and positive around me. But I feel very bad when people are tense or anxious. It leaves me energy drained. In a place where there are lots of people, I especially get drained. I feel overwhelmed by the mass of people with so many loud feelings. They can be feelings of joy, discomfort, or even impatience. The loud feelings all mixed together in a big crowd are painful to me. I can now join in on happy group events like church and movies.  Mostly people have relaxed energies there. Some crowds are harder. When I went to my sister’s graduation at the Big House in Michigan, I could feel so much mixed energy- people were so cold, tense, but also proud. I felt sick and queasy because the energy was so loud and mixed up. I had to leave no matter how much I wanted to stay. I did better at Ana's indoor engineering ceremony. It was probably because it was warmer and people were more tired and relaxed by the afternoon. 

People may wonder if they can control their energy transmitted to someone like me. Yes they can.  If I am causing you stress, you can choose to let your anxiety show or you can show compassion. You may lower your voice and calm down by slowing down. Be patient and tell yourself that making a person feel loved is the most important to helping us feel regulated. It means a lot when people decide to be positive and loving. 

At Albright-Knox Museum

Copyright 2018 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

My Amazing Trip to Britain

By Lawson Barnes

My name is Lawson Barnes and I am 12 years old. I live in Fayetteville, Arkansas with my mom Leslie and my dad Brant. I learned RPM about four years ago. My life has changed drastically since not having a way to communicate. 

As I write this, I am on a six week trip through Britain. I chose to study Britain a year ago, and now I am seeing and experiencing all the places I have studied. I want to be a writer, and what better place to embark on that journey? The past two weeks have made a lifelong impression. If you love Dickens, take in the breeze and sea view from Bleak House. If Tolkien is your inspiration, stroll the lively streets of Oxford. Today I traveled the River Wye from Tintern Abbey across the Brecon Beacons where Wordsworth found glorious scenes that he translated into words.

Autism gives me the challenge to live in a typical human’s world, but it also gives me the ability to breathe in the smell of a rainbow as I feel the energy of my heart connect with the power pouring out of an ancient circle of stones. So next time you see an autistic like me, maybe know that pity is not the emotion you should feel.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Inspired by History

By Meredith and Chana Altschuler

Chana learning about Jackie Robinson

In August 2014, my husband and I pulled our then 14-year-old daughter Chana, who is autistic and non-verbal, out of the school system. We weren’t sure what we were going to do as homeschoolers, but we knew Chana was making absolutely no headway in public school. She even seemed to be regressing.

Because of the severity of her autism, I didn't believe at that time that Chana understood what I was saying to her. Though I was always kind and cheerful, I didn’t make an effort to prepare her much for daily life. It seemed useless to have discussions with her since I didn’t even think she understood a phrase as simple as “we are going to the store.” Her regularly hitting her head and crying was further proof to me that she wasn’t capable of “getting” was what going on around her.

In late September, one of my daughter’s former therapists told us about the incredible success a student of hers was having with Soma Mukhopadhyay’s Rapid Prompting Method (RPM). Soon our lives were completely transformed by RPM. Our homeschooling went from rote repetition of basic skills to almost grade-level learning. I couldn’t believe what was happening! Our autism journey had never been a real success story, no matter how many therapies we had tried (and we had tried them all). Now our daughter was making the strides we had only dreamed of. Her head-hitting and crying basically disappeared. We were connecting with her on a level I could never have imagined.

One of the things I love most about Soma’s method is that it is an academic program. So everything is based on learning — language arts, math, social studies, science, etc. I especially love that students are studying history. How amazing it is for our kids to learn about life, their hopes and fears, in context of what others have already experienced. Frankly, our whole world would be better off if more people learned from the experiences of our past! For autistic students, thinking about issues via academic subjects has the added bonus of decreasing anxiety, a huge struggle for so many of our kids.

April is not only Autism Awareness Month, but also the month America celebrates Jackie Robinson Day. Chana and I recently did an RPM lesson on Robinson, the first African American baseball player to play in the major leagues. When Jackie was approached by the Brooklyn Dodgers’ manager Branch Rickey to join the team, they both knew that breaking the color barrier would be an incredibly tough journey for Jackie. He received taunts and jeers on the field (and even private death threats), but through his grace and fortitude became a champion for equal rights.

Chana rarely talks about her autism and I do not usually bring up topics which could be emotional for her. But when I told her she was invited to write here for Autism Awareness month, she became extremely passionate about sharing. So I thought it would be very interesting to ask her about her autism experience in relation to what we learned about Jackie Robinson’s life:

Jackie Robinson was judged based just upon his appearance. How does that relate to your experience with autism? Do you feel judged?


Interesting you mention impulses. Branch Rickey told Jackie not to fight back when others were attacking him. Do you think Jackie had to also “mute his impulses?”


Jackie was able to break the color barrier which helped lead to the civil rights movement. What do you see as the future for autism?


Everyone was not against Jackie Robinson. Many good people in our country supported him as he bravely stood up for what is right. What can others do to support people with autism?


What if the autistic person has no way to communicate? For instance, they are not even using the letter board yet?


In honor of Autism Awareness Month, Chana and I hope you will initiate a conversation with someone with autism. Maybe a non-verbal or unreliably verbal person who would commonly be misjudged. Sit and read a great story from history together. Talk about “good things” from the lives courageous figures like Jackie Robinson who will inspire them and whose stories will sustain them as they fight to win a voice.

Chana lives with her parents and 3 younger siblings in the Washington, DC area. She loves music, working out at the gym, and the approaching warm weather. Chana is very thankful to Philip and his mom Lisa for giving her the opportunity to share her thoughts.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

My Martian Body

By Pablo Hernandez


So many, so many, have interested themselves in the way my mind works. Not so many understand. They can’t. They may not be able to face something so hard. It is not so much that they can’t understand. It is that to wrap their mind around the way we think, they have to be open to the idea that something so really not like them is too smart to care so much about what other people say. So people may be inclined to think that we do not understand.

My message is for some people who think we are too dumb - thinking sometimes that we really move in strange ways and that we really make strange noises that they cannot understand. To them I say, ”My life is important. Do you want to have a happy life? Well, I do too. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to make real change for understanding people like me.”

My Martian body is forever telling you that I am Pablo, a boy who understands nothing, but my perfect mind wants to tell you that I am just like you.

Pablo is an 11 year old non-speaking autistic boy who blogs at Not Too Trapped In My Head Anymore. He uses a letterboard or a keyboard to communicate.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

My Autism Secret

By Luke Burke

Luke, age 9

Thanks Philip for inviting me to write on your page.  My name is Luke Burke.  I am nine years old and communicate using a letter board. Am also autistic and thankful to have found a way to have my words and thoughts expressed letter by letter.  I want to share with all of you what I experience on a daily basis.  The autistic brain is different but amazing all the same. Mainly I experience a sensory disaster during daily activities.  Each autistic person is unique but some of us experience similar disregulation within our sensory systems.  A big one for me is sound sensitivities.  I hear everything and I wish sometimes I didn’t.  Want my ears to get a break.  I also always hear secrets and I don’t mean to.  Can I keep a secret?  Yes!  But I never am voluntarily told one.  Anyway I value friendships and I also want a meaningful life.  Autistics are wise and kind and if given the chance make amazing friends.  Am also a wonderful listener and I won’t butt in while you are telling me that secret. Kidding not kidding.  Am hoping I have told you something helpful on autism awareness month.  Till next time Luke B. 

Luke Burke is 9 years old and in 2nd grade. Primarily, he uses a letterboard or keyboard to communicate. Luke’s hobbies include swimming, going to concerts, & reading. Being a music teacher at a school is his dream occupation. Luke is passionate about educating & advocating for those who haven’t found their method of communication yet. Luke's message to the world is, "I will try to always educate now that I am able to. Want people to accept our differences. Am wanting a world that accepts autistics the way they are. Presume competence always."

To read more of Luke's writings, visit his Facebook page  Different not less - Luke B.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A True Friend For Life

By Coby Khodosh

Coby Khodosh an 8 year old boy with autism and apraxia who has been learning and communicating with RPM since he turned 6 years old. Coby describes himself as AUTISTIC AND ARTISTIC and he wants the world to see the non-speaking and minimally-verbal autistic people as the FORCE OF CHANGE AND ENERGY WHICH IS LOVE. Coby resides with his little sister and family in Northbrook, IL. He is a 2nd grader at Countryside Montessori School where he is fully included and is the only student with an alternative communication support. Coby and family will be relocating to the San Francisco Bay area this summer.

My name is Coby and my handsome self is 8 years old. I am autistic. I wanted to write this to maybe give some insight into my experience.  Most of the time my autism makes it arduous to speak or make meaningful conversation so I rely on RPM to organize my mind and get my thoughts out one letter at a time. People see me spelling my real thoughts and really can’t make sense, why doesn't he just speak. Believe me people so wish I could. My autism sometimes makes it hard to even enjoy things I love and prevents me from showing my gentle nature. My body is unpredictable and so my impulses get in a way of simple pleasures like sitting through a movie or finishing building a Lego structure on my own without getting sidetracked. I truly try to connect to people but all they can see is a disconnected uninterested exterior and lack of eye contact. Getting anxious and getting bombarded by sensations and my own overwhelming loud thoughts feels like a war zone sometimes. Seeing wonderful colors and experiencing the world through my synesthesia can be a distracting and relentless nuisance. Always figuring what to pay attention to and what to ignore leaves me trailing and confused. Autism can wear on you. It is always gruesomely difficult for my body to remain in my control. Like so wish I could relax like you normals, I can do without the people frequently reminding me I am too loud or too hyper. I also see it is just as strange to you normals to be affected by my autism as it is strange for me to try to fit in into your sensory frightening pressure cooker world. My family is in this with me truly everyday, we are like a tribe of outsiders not fitting in as easily. We do things like other families seemingly but autism like uninvited friend can take up energy and space and we have to deal with it. Wherever I go I am at its will so pressuring myself to fit in doesn’t work. I am this way for a reason, I know this in my heart and mean to find that reason someday. God loves me and He sees my faith and goodness. Despair and rhetorical questions haven’t helped so far so I choose to see something within myself that is lovable and seriously phenomenal. Truly like to write poetry and dare I say I am pretty good at it. I heavily always make an effort to be pleasant when people are patient with my spelling. I seriously care about people and animals because if I can’t show it at least I can radiate a loving energy and the world truly needs more love. Maybe a lot can be learned from people like me. Maybe thinking differently about what it means to be more human. Maybe laughing at others and calling someone a dreadful and offensive word means more about your limitations and my autism just exposes that cruel side in you. Seeing me for my abilities can definitely help you see the hidden potential in millions of others with disabilities. Me depending on your help can teach you grace and patience and give you a lesson on your own dependability as a person. Have an open mind and heart and you might just make a true friend for life. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Road Less Travelled

By Rohit Dixit

My name is Rohit. I have autism. I like writing short stories, articles, journals and travelogues. My dream is to become a free lance journalist.

The road less travelled is the road with many Hurdles.

On this journey of living with autism the road has no end to it.
I feel there is lot to accomplish. One road leads to another; out of which I think there is a road that leads to some destination. But I am wrong.

Over the years I have seen people with disability trying to get recognition for their accomplishments. Few have succeeded but many have to travel a long way to reach their goals. I am one of those people who is still struggling to get through many hurdles on the way. I have been working hard to bring myself to reach the goal of becoming a journalist. Oh boy! It’s not an easy road for me. On this journey I am going through lot of difficulties to get through my days. It’s not the work that is hard, but it’s my mind and body disconnection. I am working my level best to overcome this disability. Over time I feel I can overcome my weakness to reach my destination on the road I have chosen.

I started this fun ride with lot of support from my parents, teachers, aides and therapists. Yet there is lot to learn through the road of life. There is so much to accomplish. To me it’s hard to do my day-to-day work yet I am determined to do my work. I am so thrilled to be part of this lovely society that God has gifted to all mankind. Oh boy what a journey it is, the road less traveled is the road of my accomplishments.

Going forward I need to gear up for my new achievements. So much stress to my parents to get me to reach my little goals. Yet it is my journey; with their help I will eventually reach my dream destination.

You can read more of Rohit's writings on his blog Sinking Into Popular Thoughts.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

This Has Changed My Life

By Brielle Stewart

Brielle, age 10

There once was a writer who couldn’t speak.  
She gave the problem to God.  
Then her mom became able to do RPM.  
Then the writer was free.  
She could now tell the world her thoughts.  
This has changed her life.

Brielle Stewart is a 10 year old girl who enjoys writing, the beach, EDM music, Literature, poetry, yoga, horses, being in nature, and playing with her twin and their Boston terrier.  She began RPM when she was 8 years old.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Friendship Lane

Guest Blog by Noah McSweeney

Noah, age 17





Noah lives in Northern California and is a 10th grader who is homeschooled using RPM. He likes bike riding, jumping, and anything INDEPENDENT!

Monday, April 2, 2018

What I Want to Teach About Autism Acceptance

I would like to introduce you to my friends for Autism Acceptance Month. I am proud of each of my Guest Bloggers for raising their voices. We may not be able to speak with our mouths, but we have a lot to say. -Philip


Guest Blog by Finn Murphy

I am Finn Murphy. I am seven. I am autistic. I love taking trips with my family. Something important to me is to have lots of learning for kids having autism. 

One thing that I wish people tried to do if they notice me being stimmy is to not stare at me. Sometimes I need to flap my hands and to make noises that scare others. Stimming helps me stay more calm in social situations like going to the store. I try my hardest to not get overwhelmed outside. But sometimes it gets really noisy like at the mall causing me to feel really overwhelmed.

I especially suggest that people talk to me like I am not stupid because I have good things to say too. I found my voice through spelling making my life so much better. When others talk to me I type my answers so it might take me longer to answer you. Learn to wait for me to answer you please. Then you may find that I am nice. Hear me and learn to not pay too much attention to what my body is doing. Never have to be afraid of asking me a question.

My hope for the future is to have tons of friends that are autistic like me so everyone really is understanding. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Jesus is Lord!

I want to talk about Easter. I am being gently reminded that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  He is Savior because of Good Friday. His resurrection makes him Lord. He has power and authority over death. That is what Easter is about. I am going to take his lordship seriously because no one else has the power to rise from the grave. That is why I believe no other god or prophet is equal. So I will listen to what Jesus says and try to do it. 

Happy Easter! 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Lessons from Good Friday

I have been thinking a lot about Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross. He did not have to die for us. He is a king, the most High King. He could have ruled like an earthly king but he chose not to. Jesus chose the harder way. He made himself to bear our sins. He was condemned in our place. Now our sins are forgiven if we believe Jesus.  

I am following Jesus example by trying to live my life for others. I have a hard time being with people because of my autism. I cannot talk easily and I have poor body control. My anxiety is really hard to overcome. I get nervous almost every time I am outside my home. I can be easily startled by new experiences like being lost in a new place. It can be overwhelming. 

Jesus teaches me to be brave in facing my fears and anxieties. Jesus was resolute in completing his mission to save the world. He did not let his comfort, his friends, his critics, or his fears stop him. I have a mission too. It is to make disciples of all nations. It is the same mission of all believers. I can bring this message to my readers. I can be a voice for people like me. We need the hope of God's forgiveness and new life. 

I want to accomplish God’s mission for me like Jesus did. It may cost me my comfort and my energy but I gain God glory. Good Friday is a time to remember how Jesus loved us so much he gave his life for us. 

Copyright 2018 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Can Good Come from Autism?

I am aware that autism is not a diagnosis anyone wants to receive for their child. I am telling you that my chance to make the world a better place comes from being autistic.  God has called me to be different. Many people are chosen to be different to make the world have changes that make society progress. There are many ways we can progress. We make technological, artistic, social, and economic advances. Good comes from being able to see things in a new way that makes lives better.

My mom has learned to see autism differently. When I was younger I got yelled at often about things I could not control. People thought because I could not talk and I moved in repetitive ways I was lost in my own world with no thoughts or feelings. I paid attention to everything. I waited for my voice everyday. It would not come out of my mouth. It was buried in my mind where no one could see it but God. I got very good at talking to God.

God is with me and is always communicating with me. I make free my thoughts now because God has made a way for me to communicate without my mouth. I am now able to share this with you. I am pleased that people who are unable to speak can now find a way to communicate. This is the progress I can help bring to the world.

Copyright 2018 Philip Reyes.  All rights reserved.