I wanted to give all of you some background on our journey with Rapid Prompt Method. We began with a local workshop here in the Bay Area in California in January 2014. At that time, Ryan was seven years old and we were very unsure how much he understood. He was still doing very basic things in school and had absolutely no academics at all in school. We knew that he was smart and that he was paying attention because he would do things like look at you to see if you were watching him do something that he wasn’t supposed to do…
At that workshop, we started with paper choices for answers. Ryan did very well with Erika Anderson, from ACE RPM, who was the provider who facilitated the workshop. He was able to learn grade level academics (which at that time would have been first grade) and he was able to sit at a desk for 25 minutes and participate. This was our son who wouldn’t even sit for meals at home. He was sitting, attending for 25 minutes.
From then on, we focused solely on academics. I knew that I was laying a foundation for his learning and to not push the open ended responses. When we got home and it was up to me, Ryan would only choose answers on the right side. Even if the answer was wrong, he chose the right side. I was so frustrated. I scheduled a phone consult with Erika and sent her a video of Ryan and me working together. She gave me some good, constructive feedback and we were on our way again. And then Ryan decided to pick only left side answers. Every time. We were back at square one and scheduled another consult. I got more tips and we continued on.
We worked almost every day, for just 10-20 minutes a day depending on his tolerance. I prepared lessons based on curriculum books. We did language arts (he learned about long and short vowels, consonant blends, etc.), science, social studies, and math. I also created lessons based on glimmers of interests that I was able to discern (like sports and zoo animals). I still stuck with paper choices and then gradually added in stencils to have him shadow the spelling of the answers on them. There were days that I physically carried him to the table to work with me. (I sometimes still have to do that!) After 6 months, we were still only doing academics and some social stories for outings that we were going to go on or for events that we were going to attend. I tell you all of this so that you know that RPM was not a quick fix.
I will continue to share more of our journey later on. Now on to what you probably have been waiting for…Readers’ Questions!
Tina asked: Ryan, how do you want others to view you?
REMEMBERING YOU ARE NOT ONLY AUTISTIC BUT A HUMAN BEING TOO. “Anything else to say to that question?” NO.
Marah wrote: What type of instrument do you want to play? Thanks for including us in your blog!
GETTING TOO MANY VERY INDIVIDUAL QUESTIONS. “You can’t determine the questions that people send to you. If you want to answer reader questions, you need to be prepared to answer any questions that they have. So can you answer this one? What instrument do you want to play?” SO NOT SURE YET.
And the last ones for today were from Mette. I have a 6 year old autistic daughter. I have heard her say words at different times, but then it can be 6 months before she uses them again. Why is that?
YOUR DAUGHTER CAN SAY WORDS WHICH IS AWESOME. AUTISTICS OFTEN HAVE TROUBLE DOING THAT. SO KNOW THAT SPEECH IS VERY HARD FOR US. I AM NOT ABLE TO SPEAK SO I AM NOT SURE ON THAT.
Mette continued: Actually I have a second question. There are moments mostly at night right before going to bed, where I feel her being more open to me, like she is clearer, but it only lasts a few minutes. Does this happen to you? Are there times when you feel more present without the obstacle of autism?
SO YES THIS HAPPENS TO ME. REALLY YOU SHOULD BE HAPPY WHEN IT HAPPENS. I LOVE IT WHEN IT HAPPENS TO ME. “Can you talk about when this happens to you? Like does it happen with a specific therapy, medication, or time of day?” IT HAPPENS WHEN I LEAST EXPECT IT.
So those are his responses for now. If you have submitted a question, please know that I will be sure to have Ryan respond to it. Thanks for your patience as we get the blog up and running. There have been a few minor issues (the date of yesterday’s post will continue to irk me until I can fix it!) but the response from all of you has been awesome. I will leave you with a little story about an outing from Tuesday. Ryan, Grace, and I went on a short trip. Ryan requested to go to ACE HARDWARE as he has been interested in learning about repairing things. After we walked through the store, we went next store to Petco Unleashed. We walked through the entire store and Ryan then went to the register where there were two young ladies waiting for customers. He was hovering a bit, so I asked him if he had a question for them. He replied YES. SO NOT A SINGLE DOG IN THE STORE, WHY IS THAT? One of the girls behind the counter told Ryan that her dog was in the store earlier and she showed him some pictures on her phone. It made me think about creating some kind of business cards to hand to people while we are out to let them know about the blog. What do you guys think?
Thanks again for reading!
Link to ACE RPM: http://www.acetc.info
8 thoughts on “A Bit of Info on Our RPM Journey and Ryan Answers More Readers’ Questions!”
I love reading your blog! I think that the business card idea is a great one!! – Melissa 🙂
I love love love what you’re doing with this blog! I love Ryan’s answers! I can’t wait until we can visit in person and actually sit down and talk and look thru old pictures and reminisce! I also want Ayla and Ryan to really get to know each other. She asks about him all the time and it will be so cool to see them have a conversation! It makes my heart jump for joy!! ❤️
It doesn’t even have to be as fancy as a business card. Even a small sheet of paper with some info on it might be easier to print out quickly and test your idea. See how people respond and how you feel doing it. My son is almost four and autistic. I love reading your blog and only wish I’d found it sooner! It’s one thing to read about autism and try to guess. It’s something else to hear about it straight from an autistic child.
Ali, great thoughts. You are right! We could print something at home! Thanks for the suggestion! You found our blog just in time as we only started it this week! We hope that you follow along for the ride and we wish you the best of luck with your son!
Thinking of how things began for Ryan, this is absolutely awesome progress!!!!! Chuck and I are amazed and so thrilled to hear about this! Lots of love & good wishes…..Chuck & Carol Mohr
Stephanie, I think it’s a great idea for some little cards when you go out. It would help people that come in direct contact with him to get a little understanding about why he doesn’t always respond verbally.
What did you do when Ryan was only picking right/left? I work with students with severe disabilities (not Autism that we know of) and that is a major issue for many of them.
Rachel, I worked with a provider and taped sessions of Ryan and me working together. We made the answer response super obvious in the beginning when he was doing this. Example: the sky is blue. What did I say? Did I say that the sky is blue or chair (not even using a color for the second answer choice) This is a very basic example but can be applied to any lesson by making the wrong choice very obvious. In addition, I made sure the the choices were presented right to the left and right of his midline so that he had access to both answers and did not favor one over the other. Other things that you can try are holding the choices at eye level (off of the table) or using a folded up paper with a line as a divider (instead of two ripped choices) and it may make it easier to choose either side that way. These are just some examples, but one of the RPM providers can give you a lot more suggestions (especially if you record the session). I hope that this helps a little.