After our RPM sessions one practice exercise we sometimes end with is for Jake to complete sentences. For these sentences all began with the word “sometimes” (given starting phrase in bold print, Jake’s words follow):
1. Sometimes when I wake up I not happy to have autism.
2. Sometimes at night I feel better about my life.
3. Sometimes I’m so happy that my house has good, dark bathrooms.
4. Sometimes it’s funny laughing about silly stuff.
5. Sometimes I really like most not have autism.
6. Sometimes I wonder have bad thoughts pleasant mood.
7. Sometimes I think about how great I have it.
8. Sometimes the winter likes to have most grey skies.
9. Sometimes I see how love is best.
10. Sometimes I love to be alone, like thinking.
Learning the process of using a letterboard through the Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) was a gradual process that took several years. We are still working on expanding RPM and Jake’s confidence/skills beyond our “work sessions.” Regardless, this low-tech alternative communication system has been an answered prayer for us both. At the age of 22 he began expressing his very personal thoughts and feelings more fluently with me (his mom), and it was his idea to begin writing “The Story of My Life” one day.
He has given me permission to share his story and our conversations. He continually expresses his desire to “find purpose” to his life…I hope his willingness to share will help others learn about this misunderstood condition known as “autism” that has so much to teach us all.