Last weekend, RPM certified provider Adriana Barriga and I hosted a workshop to help parents in the DFW area to create and deliver quality RPM lessons to their children.
I was nervous about the turnout, but we had 8 parents attend and I was thrilled with that. All of the parents introduced themselves and talked about how old their children were and how they heard about RPM and their experience level doing RPM with their children. I was very humbled and amazed to find out that half of the parents there had heard about RPM from Ryan and me (whether it was a local presentation or the blog). As Ryan was not there for the beginning part, I made sure to tell him of his impact.
Adriana talked about how to write a lesson and the goals of each lesson. I touched on the real life application of when to write the lessons and the delivery. I wanted to share the tips that I shared in the workshop with our followers.
Ryan also participated in the workshop. He worked on a document that gave parents some tips and I also asked him a few questions that parents might have. I have copied his document below in italics.
Ryan’s Tips for Parents for Lessons
1. NEED TO HAVE GOOD IDEAS FOR LESSONS
2. GOOD TO FIND TOPICS THAT STUDENT IS INTO
3. DO LESSON WHEN STUDENT IS NOT TIRED
4. DON’T ALLOW DEVICES IN THE BEGINNING BECAUSE CAN GET TOO HYPER
5. LESSONS AFTER SCHOOL ARE GOOD. NOT A REAL HARD ONE. GOOD TO DO A REAL INTERESTING ONE
Can you talk about trying to escape and me carrying you back to the table?
I FOUND IT HARD TO SIT BECAUSE NOT USED TO YOU MAKING ME DO THAT.
What did you think about the Phonics lessons? (He was 7 years old when we started and he seemed to be most engaged in these lessons.)
CALLING IT MY FAT THANKS.
Did you mean to say “fat thanks?”
I WANTED TO BE FUNNY. ALWAYS LIKED THOSE LESSONS.
What about written choices?
WRITTEN CHOICES ARE HARD.
Are they still hard?
YES. FINDING IT HARD BECAUSE MY HAND GOES TO WHATEVER IT IS DRAWN TO.
What if the student wants to wander around or does not sit well?
HARD TO SAY BUT MAKE HIM SIT. CAN REALLY BENEFIT IN THE LONG RUN. (Just an FYI, Soma and certified RPM providers will allow students to stand and wander the room.)
What about stencils?
I HATED STENCILS BUT THEY ARE NEEDED. TOO HARD TO POKE THEM.
Does it matter to you where you do the lesson?
REALLY ANY PLACE TOO DISTRACTING IS HARD.
Is a visual timer a good thing or a bad thing?
TIMER IS GOOD TO SEE HOW MUCH TIME IS LEFT.
RPM providers will often use math when a student is stimmy or hyper. They say math is calming. What do you think?
MATH IS BOUND TO BE CALMING. GOOD IDEA.
What advice would you give to parents who are struggling and don’t see the same sort of success as providers do with their children?
I SAY HAVE PATIENCE. GOOD TO PRACTICE EVERYDAY. REALLY IMPORTANT TO SEE RPM TEACHERS BECAUSE STUDENT IS SUCCESSFUL WITH TEACHERS.
What would you say to parents who say that they don’t really care much about academics that they just want their child to communicate?
BAD NEWS. IT DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY.
Anything else about that? NO
Did you ever want to give up?
REALLY HARD. CAME TO REALIZE IT WOULD BE WORTH IT. BOUND TO BE GOOD ADVICE BECAUSE I HAVE LIVED IT.
The workshop went well and we plan to doing more of these in this area, especially in the Plano/Frisco area. Grace was my helper during the workshop as she always enjoys helping out and we wanted to show parents that even children can write and do lessons.
I thought that it might be helpful if I shared a clip of what a lesson looks like for Ryan today and shared the lesson plan for this lesson. Ryan (and I) have come a long way since we first started RPM. This lesson plan incorporates a lot of skills that we are working on.
My favorite answer of Ryan’s was at the end of the lesson (after I stopped recording) how one of the statements talks about how American Indians also told their children stories about how they grew up and I referred to how I often tell Ryan stories from my childhood. We were talking about it the context of artifacts and I was telling Ryan that early on, we did not have a microwave. I explained how my mom made popcorn with a popper and she sometimes did Jiffy on the stove top. Ryan’s response: DONT KNOW HOW TO SURVIVE WITHOUT A MICROWAVE.
So now on to the video. Please excuse the hair that is sticking out of the side of my head and my sniffling as we just got back in from bike riding and my allergies and hair apparently did not want to cooperate. In addition, the first answer of ADOBE in the beginning has Ryan holding his own board as this is a skill that we are working on. Since it is a known answer, I verbally prompt him to try and get to the right letters, I never touch him. Ryan also handwrites some of his answers which is another skill that we are working on.
Here are the written words from the lesson (with my handwritten words below so that you know what the words are):
Seven months ago, Ryan could not even make a straight line on his own. We have been practicing handwriting everyday. We began my motor modeling, I would do hand over hand with him twice, tracing the letter with the pencil in the air, and then the third time he would do it on his own on paper. There are no quick fixes. Just a lot of hard work.
As always, if you have any questions about getting started or need some help, I am available. Every autistic deserves a voice and RPM lessons are a way to get them there.