What is RPM?
RPM is a teaching method which leads to expressive communication

Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) was devised over 30 years ago by a parent, Soma Mukhopadhyay, and has developed into the global, life-changing method which allows thousands of autistic students to communicate their thoughts through spelling.

The ultimate goal of RPM is to develop independence in communication (by typing, handwriting and speaking), in hobby and interests and in daily living.

How is RPM different to what you may have done before?

RPM believes in the student's intelligence

We teach age appropriate information and give an output method . This method is adapted to the individuals current ability and skill level, whether that be pointing to choices, pointing to letters, handwriting, typing and purposeful speech.

RPM recognises the sensory differences

We know that our children experience the world in a completely different way and one of their senses may be more dominant. Purposeful motor skills may also be lacking, including the production of purposeful speech.

RPM builds independence & skill levels

While RPM uses prompts in the initial stages to initiate responses and build the student’s stamina, the focus right from the start is on teaching students to independently respond without physical support.

Sue Interviewing Soma, creator of RPM,
discussing The History & Development of RPM. What is RPM?

Speech and Language

Our brains are complex . There are many theories and studies about how people with autism are affected; Some say there is under connectivity; Some say it is over connectivity. However, one thing is clear. The connections between different parts of the brain may be missing or work differently. 

Studies have shown that language and speech production come from two different parts of the brain. When the connection between the two areas is weak, or the student lacks the motor skills for speech production, it explains why we find that our RPM students are able to communicate a lot more using letterboards than they are able to say. 

Standard language assessments are ineffective in measuring language comprehension in non-verbal autism, a population that accounts for around 30% of autistic people. Levels of comprehension in non-verbal children are unknown as very little research is conducted on this population

Hidden Abilities in Autism

Unlocking Voices is delighted to support the research work of Professor Woolgar from Cambridge University.

“We are a research group at the University of Cambridge, UK, who are interested in how autistic people understand spoken language. We would like to learn more about how their brains processes spoken words, using brain imaging technologies that are gentle and fast to set up. The aim of our research is to provide a chance for all autistic people, regardless of function, to demonstrate how well they understand word meanings. We hope to achieve this by creating suitable, reliable brain imaging measures that can be used as a marker of language processing in minimally-verbal autistic children and adults…”

Here is the link to Professor Woolgars website which gives more details about this and enables you to sign up to participate in her research:

“‘I am intelligent but happen to have a body that does not co-operate with my brain"

- Chris Finnes

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