Rapid prompting method
| Putting the psycho in|
|Men who stare at goats|
|By the powers of tinfoil|
How it works
A non-verbal person is asked to point at a letter board and spell out words. The facilitator prompts them to point at particular letters. This creates the illusion that the non-verbal person is communicating, when really it is the facilitator.
Anecdotal evidence tells of people who have started with RPM and now are able to use sign language and/or type without outside help. Research hasn't yet validated whether RPM is a good starting point for teaching people to type independently.
It's common for the intelligence of nonspeaking or barely speaking autistic people to be underestimated. Even if someone doesn't speak (or only says things that seem nonsensical) and has severely impaired motor control, they may understand what is being said.
To evaluate whether your child or loved one is actually communicating, consider:
- Is someone telling them what to point to, or are they choosing the letters themselves?
- Is the keyboard or letter board being held still, meaning that your loved one is selecting the letters themselves?
- Can they learn sign language or another way to communicate quick phrases like "yes" or "no"?
- Does it only work when one person assists, or does the identity of the helper not matter very much?
A good speech and language pathologist may be able to help teach your loved one to communicate in words, spelled or signed or spoken. It's important to verify that it really is your loved one communicating; if something doesn't work, you need to look for a new method. Communication skills are essential for quality of life, so don't give up, even when it's challenging or frustrating.
- With Blog, Teen with Autism Gains Voice - Disability Scoop
- The Rapid Prompting Method for Treating Autism Rapid Prompting Method and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Systematic Review Exposes Lack of Evidence
- Rapid Prompting Method (RPM)
- Dangerous Assumptions - Julia Bascom
- Being "Nonverbal" Doesn't Mean I Can't Think - Mona Delahooke, PhD
- rallying cry - A Diary of a Mom
- I have nonverbal autism. Here's what I want you to know - Organization for Autism Research