We had a rough day here yesterday. Ryan was very hyper and was getting into a lot of things that he should not be getting into. We did a short lesson on the story of the Magic Paintbrush and he did fine with it. I had a minor medical procedure on one of my eyes so I was not feeling my best. I wasn’t sure that we would do a second RPM session (we try and do two during the summer). Ryan expressed that he wanted to work on his blog, so I obliged.
I asked him if he had anything in mind and he spelled HOW ABOUT SOMEONE ASKS HOW TO MEANINGFULLY INCLUDE AUTISTICS IN LIFE? I said, “Well we haven’t asked people to ask you questions yet, but I think that it would be great if you answered this.”
So Ryan came up with FIVE WAYS TO MEANINGFULLY INCLUDE AUTISTICS IN LIFE.
1. I WOULD SAY TO NOT MEANINGFULLY SPEAK ABOUT THEM IN FRONT OF THEM.
2. SO HAVE THEM RENT ONE OF THE LEAP PAD VIDEOS FOR THEM. I asked, “Are you talking to the parents of young autistic children?” YES. “Why?” BECAUSE NOT EVERY AUTISTIC CHILD KNOWS HOW TO READ. “Did these teach you to read?” YES AND YOU TAUGHT ME WITH RPM.
3. YOU CAN INCLUDE THEM BY MOSTLY YOUR KINDNESS.
4. YOU CAN READ HARRY POTTER TO THEM. “Why Harry Potter?” BECAUSE MANY KIDS READ IT.
5. SO YOU CAN KNOW THAT MUSIC ALWAYS WORKS TO CALM US DOWN. “Does this apply to all autistics?” YES “How do know it works for all autistics?” SO MY CLASSMATES SOMETIMES TELL ME NOT BY SPEAKING BUT BY RELAXING. “What kind of music?” SO FAMILIAR SONGS. “Can you share some of the ones that work for you?” THE BABIES SONG (this is a song that I have been singing to him since he was a newborn. My dad made it up to the tune of the Armour Hot Dog jingle and changed the words and used to sing it to all seven of us kids.) “Any other songs?” SOME OF THE ONES FROM MY SHOWS. I may have been known to sing songs from Special Agent Oso and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse before…(remember Tone Deaf Steph?)
So selfishly, this blog has already helped me learn more about Ryan. I am in awe of his responses and I hope that they will be helpful to all of you.
I thought that it might be helpful to include what I would have answered. My responses would be to treat autistics just as you would treat anyone else, to presume competence (meaning that presume that the individual understands what you say–do not use short phrases or baby talk), to expose autistics to as many normal experiences as possible (even if it is hard for you to do), read to them as much as possible (even if they don’t look like they are paying attention, they probably are, and follow them with the book even if they leave the room because they may not be able to control that), and introduce the parents, therapists, or caregivers to RPM.
I guess it goes without saying that Ryan would love to help answer any questions that you have. You can submit them in the comments here or message us on Facebook.
My plan for this blog is to use this for Ryan to educate all of us about autism and for me to help all of you learn about our daily challenges and successes with autism, to learn more about Rapid Prompt Method and Ryan’s journey to this point. I hope that you will all continue to stay on for the ride!
Here is a link to one of the versions of the Magic Paintbrush story: http://www.worldstories.org.uk/stories/story/154-the-magic-paint-brush
Here is a link to the Leap Pad Videos: http://www.leapfrog.com/en-us/store/p/letter-factory-dvd/_/A-prod21223