It is easy to tell that Eric’s mind is constantly at work. The way that his eyes move around the room, he’s taking in all the information available, and you know that the wheels are turning in his head. Though he cannot verbalize it, he is extremely thoughtful… shown through his mannerisms and quiet moments, and the words he spells out in RPM.
Eric’s Story, as told by his mother, Peggy:
“I want to educate people about autism. Autism is not dumb. Autism is not stupid. Autism is not weird. Autism is just us trying to fit in. RPM let’s us autistic people say what is locked inside.”
These are Eric’s words that he spelled out in a Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) session last summer.
I knew Eric was going to be one of a kind from the day he was born. As a baby, the word autism was mentioned by family and others that seen him. At that time I heard of autism but didn’t know much of anything about it. I started doing some research, enrolled him in the Birth to 3 program, looked for doctors and had him evaluated. Eric was 5 years old when a doctor said the word autism and it was formally written out in a lengthy report. Two years later he started in home ABA therapy. He was in the local school district’s special education program starting at age 3.
Eric’s 2 younger brothers were also diagnosed with autism. It made life for our family busy and interesting to say the least. Then his dad was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in November of 2010. On Labor Day of 2012 his 5 year old brother Jonathan died unexpectedly. This much major loss is very hard for any child to handle and process let alone a non-verbal child. Through all of this he was hugging saying it’s OK. He is right by his brother Andy if he is crying or thinks he may be hurt. Eric stands up for and protects those he loves.
Through this many wonderful people have come into our lives. Friends from Autism Solutions Pieces helped us through this difficult time and welcomed us to their family. They provided activities and socialization for Eric, Andy and I and introduced us to therapies that have opened the door to communication for Eric. Jackie from RPM+ for Autism and Other Disabilities and Rapid Prompting Method have been life changing for Eric and our family. He can now communicate his feelings and needs. He can talk about his dad and brother. The descriptions Eric has given me of how he feels, his understanding of autism is beyond amazing and something that just can’t be duplicated. He wants people to know this so life better for others that struggle. Eric has also had Berard AIT, Auditory Integration Training to help with processing sound which has been a benefit to him in speech and communication.
Eric is now in 6th grade, loves school and has transitioned to middle school nicely. At school he took the same geography test all the others in his class took along with other grade level work with help from RPM. He is requesting common wants and needs verbally. He told me verbally when water was spilled it was wet and tried to clean it up. Simple, yes. Huge step to communication, definitely. We are planning Eric and Andy’s baptism. Before Gentle Worship church was not remotely possible. He is on a Challenger baseball league and participates in Special Olympics track and bowling, all of which he loves. He enjoys playing on the computer and iPad and knows more about them than me! Eric has come so far with the support and efforts of many teachers, therapists, family, wonderful friends, and of course, Eric. There is still work to be done but the possibilities for Eric are endless. I am going to end this with Eric’s thoughts on autism as spelled in an RPM session.
“One day there was a big explosion in the population of people who didn’t talk. This population had usually been in hospitals for the insane. Theories about why they didn’t talk were always floating around. These theories are just theories that are proven to be wrong. I am proof that people who don’t talk should not be in a hospital.”
Peggy, mother of Eric