What is RPM?
RPM refers to the Rapid Prompting Method which is a technique used to aid communication for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other disabilities that affect communication. RPM encourages those who are struggling to communicate through spoken word to use techniques such as typing, pointing, and writing.
The Rapid Prompting Method was developed by Soma Mukhopadhyay who developed this technique in order to effectively teach and communicate with her son, Tito who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. This technique has become somewhat controversial over the years, with various scientists and other experts both praising and expressing concern over RPM. One of the main issues with RPM is that it bypasses any attempt to instruct and encourage the individual to work on and improve their speech and language skills and communicate independently. On the other hand, RPM can be beneficial for those who are completely non-verbal and have limited potential when it comes to developing speech and language skills. Seeking support for those with Autism Spectrum disorder, and other conditions that limit communication abilities is paramount when it comes to helping them communicate effectively and encouraging independence. Time with a speech and language pathologist is one of the best resources for those with ASD. Getting started for yourself or a loved one by scheduling your free introductory call today!
How Does the Rapid Prompting Method Work?
The Rapid Prompting Method is not technically a method of communication, it is actually a learning device in which the instructor demonstrates and ‘prompts’ the individual to respond to a question or statement in some way. The idea behind this technique is that those affected by Autism and are nonverbal due to apraxia or other sensory sensitivities will respond appropriately to these prompts. Frequent and repeated prompting will help the individual to maintain their focus and attention. While RPM is not considered to be a method of communication, it is referred to as a gateway to communication. RPM providers will use a letter board and eventually progress towards the use of handwriting paired with sensory (auditory, visual, and tactile) prompts to encourage the individual to respond to questions and participate in other learning opportunities.
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder face challenges with social skills and communication. They may often have difficulty navigating conversations and may not pick up on various social skills. In some cases, those with Autism Spectrum Disorder may not speak at all, and others may have no trouble at all communicating through speech. All people affected by ASD struggle with some degree of difficulty when it comes to communication.
It is also common for people with autism to exhibit repetitive behaviors and/or limited interests. They may only focus on one subject (such as trains, specific animals, tv shows, etc.) and may be intensely attached to a specific object or activity. Individuals with Autism can also often struggle with changes in their plans or routines, transitions between one activity and the next, and changes in the way that something is done. Speech therapy is one of the best supportive resources for those with ASD. Get started with Great Speech by scheduling your free introductory call today!
What are the Symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder?
The signs and symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder are often recognized in very young children. In some cases, these signs and symptoms are not very apparent and they may not be identified until the individual reaches school age or even adulthood. The signs and symptoms of ASD may change as the individual ages, but people with ASD will likely face some challenges related to communication, social skills, and behaviors.
Communication includes such skills as comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. An individual with ASD may have challenges with a few, several, or all of the following:
- Comprehending and Using Gestures Such as Pointing and Waving
- Comprehending and Using Language to Communicate
- Following Directions
- Developing Reading and Writing Skills
- Navigating Social Conversations
An individual with ASD may:
- Lose Words Early
- Are Difficult to Understand
- Frequently Repeat Words or Phrases (Known as Echolalia)
- Use a Robotic or Singsong Voice when Speaking
- Speak Very Little or Not at All
- Use Difficult or Challenging Behaviors to Achieve what they Want
Does RPM Work for Autism?
Approximately one in every four people with ASD uses few or no words to communicate. The Rapid Prompting Method has been met with mixed results and more research is needed to learn about its effectiveness. One of the main criticisms of RPM is that it always requires the work of a facilitator and does not promote independent communication skills. While it is effective in helping those with ASD to communicate their needs or wants, it is not considered to be an effective long-term solution for those individuals.
How Does Speech Therapy Help with Autism?
Speech-language therapy for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder works to address difficulties related to language and communication. Speech therapy can help people with ASD to improve their verbal, nonverbal, and social communication skills. The general goal of speech therapy is to help the individual communicate in more effective and functional ways.
To help individuals with ASD effectively express themselves, speech-language pathologists often use augmentative and alternative communication methods. This type of speech therapy can include any of the various tools, techniques, and methods that are designed to replace or supplement speech and language skills. Unlike the Rapid Prompt Method and other controversial methods such as facilitated communication, these tools don’t require a facilitator and will lead to the development of independent communication skills.
A speech therapy program for an individual with ASD begins with an evaluation by a speech-language pathologist to identify their communication strengths and challenges. From this evaluation, the SLP will create an individual treatment program and set achievable goals for therapy.
Common goals in speech therapy may include improving spoken language, developing nonverbal skills such as effectively using signs or gestures, or learning to communicate using an alternative method (such as pictures or technological devices).
Some of the skills that speech therapy for ASD may focus on include:
- Strengthening the Muscles Required for Speech
- Producing Clearer Speech and Speech Sounds
- Matching Feelings and Emotions with Appropriate Facial Expressions
- Understanding and Interpreting Body Language
- Answering Questions and Following Instructions
- Matching a Picture with the Correct Meaning
- Mastering Various Tones of Voice
- Using Alternative Augmentative Communication Techniques
One of the most important things when it comes to helping someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder communicate effectively is seeking support and help as soon as possible. Don’t wait to get help for yourself or a loved one. Get started with speech therapy by scheduling your free introductory call today!