My Experience with the Rapid Prompting Method

Recently Soma had a Rapid Prompting treatment and training session in Pennsylvania and it made me think of my experiences with the Rapid Prompting Method.

RPM opened up the world to my voice.  I learned this way of communication when I was twelve.  For twelve years, I had tried to use my voice to communicate, but my motor planning was so messed up that I could only get out a few rote sentences and phrases that I had practiced what seemed to be a million times.   Can you imagine how much fun it would be to say “may I go to the bathroom” a hundred times in therapy in ten minutes?  However, this is the only way I was able to learn to speak.  By practicing sounds, words and phrases a million times until they became automatic for me.  Nothing was simple.  Everything took so much effort, every sound had to be thought out and then consciously made by telling my tongue or lips where they were supposed to be.  It was very discouraging.  I had so much I wanted to tell people about my experiences and my thoughts on everything from what we were having for dinner to the latest Harley Davidson.  Unfortunately, my mouth, tongue and lips didn’t seem to agree with me.  They just did not want to move.

That’s when I met Soma.  She was wonderful.  I sat down with her and of course resisted at first.  I was at the point where I was angry about not being able to communicate.  I was anxious because I thought people would have no interest in hearing about what I had to say.  Soma sat down with me and very soon after we started I remember communicating about the solar system and showing people that I did have knowledge of things and was not stupid.  I had a mind full of knowledge and opinions to express. Soma had me answer questions using a letter board.  It was wonderful.  My fingers could move so much easier than my lips.  I even realized that I knew how to spell quite a few things.  It came almost naturally to me and expanded my world so much.  I was now able to communicate what I really wanted to say and not just seem like some sort of blank slate that went around saying “may I go to the bathroom” every five minutes out of a desire for human interaction.

It has been a long time since I used the Rapid Prompting Method.  Now I am pretty fluent at typing, but it all started with RPM.  I would have never learned to communicate without it and am so lucky that my family had faith in me and knew that there was something in my head that I needed to say and searched until they found what worked for me.

I have heard many people laugh at RPM and say that it is nothing.  I have heard people say that Soma is cueing kids and telling them what to say.  None of this is true.  I never was told what to say.  My finger was never forcibly put upon a letter.  It was all me and no one can take that away from me because I know it to be true.

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Getting My Blog Started….

I figured that I better start using this blog for what I intended it for when I thought of the idea.

As I mentioned before, my name is Paul Kotler and I am an adult with autism.  I have what some may call substantial differences in my sensory system, in how I communicate and how my body moves.

I will expand on those throughout my blog, but will leave it at that for now.

I wasn’t able to express myself for quite some time.  You see, I have difficulty moving my mouth, tongue and lips to make speech.  I can say a phrases, words and such that I having practiced saying a million times, but I have more difficulty with new material.  Unfortunately, most of what I want to say is new material.  Going around saying “I’ll be right back” or “Go to the bathroom” just doesn’t cut it when it comes to expressing what I really want to say!

So, I learned to type.  It was a long process, but through typing I am able to see what I am saying so I can focus on creating without trying to remember what I wrote.  I am also able to express myself fully.  I can type so much more than I can say. 

I had many instances in my life when I truly wanted to engage in a conversation but could not.  I heard and understood, but could just not make my body create the plan for speech.  Some people thought I was just stupid I guess, but those that really knew me realized that there was so much more I had to say.  Now, I am going to say it, speak my mind and offer my thoughts on the diverse appearance of autism.