Autism & Rapid Prompting Method

While preparing for Gavin’s Stories of Autism photo shoot, I had researched a bit about Rapid Prompting Method (RPM), which is his primary form of communication. From the official Halo-Soma website, it states that “RPM uses a “Teach-Ask” paradigm for eliciting responses through intensive verbal, auditory, visual and/or tactile prompts.” I read many articles, and watched several videos of sessions… and honestly, I was a bit of a skeptic. Everything changed after I met Gavin and saw with my own eyes what this non-verbal teenager was able to communicate through the use of RPM on his letter board and Ipad. Gavin’s mother Cindy asked if I had questions for Gavin. I rattled a few off, and at his next session, he answered them. (see below)
Gigi's Joy Photography: Autism Special Needs Photographer RPM ipad union grove

Q: What gives you hope?

A: “I get hope from God and from people who believe in me like my family.”

Q: What frustrates you?

A: “I get frustrated with my OCD and because I can’t talk but I’m thankful for RPM.”

Q: How can others learn from people with autism?

A: “People can learn that we are smart even though we can’t talk.”

Q: What is beautiful to you?

A: “Beauty is all around us, we just need to look for it every day.  Like today could be beautiful if we look outside and see each snowflake as beautiful instead of an annoyance.”

Q: What do feel your best quality is?

A: “My perspective on life is my strength.”

Q: What would you like others to know about you?

A: “I am a child of God who is autistic I have gifts to share like everyone else.”

Q: Do you want to share anything about RPM?

A: “RPM is my voice.  RPM has opened up the door to everything in my life.”


I was given the opportunity to witness and photograph one of Gavin’s RPM sessions with area instructor, Jackie Dorschorst.

Gigi's Joy Photography: Autism Special Needs Photographer RPM ipad waukesha

Jackie is a Speech and Language Pathologist who is trained and certified in Soma Rapid Prompting Method. She owns RPM+ and leads individual and group sessions, gives consultations, and teaches workshops. It was truly amazing to watch her work, and see Gavin’s humor and personality come through his carefully (and correctly) spelled words. We asked him what he thought about all of the photography and the camera being in his personal space – he replied that he liked it!

Gigi's Joy Photography: Autism Special Needs Photographer RPM ipad Union Grove

Gavin spelled out “gretchen thank you for coming” on his Ipad for me. You’re the best, Gavin!


RPM Plus for Autism & Other Disabilities, LLC

Several of the other Stories of Autism children that I’ve featured use RPM. Below are links to their stories.

Eric      Andy      Joshua

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