Skip to content

>Why Rapid Prompting Method Doesn’t Pass the Evidence-Based Test

April 12, 2010

>The Rapid Prompting Method was created by a mom in an attempt to help her autistic son communicate. According the organization Soma Mukhopadhyay set up, her rapid prompting method, or Soma® RPM, “is academic instruction leading towards communication for persons with autism.”

Lisa Jo Rudy, on’s site. for autism writes about Soma Mukhopadhyay’s Rapid Prompting Method that it is “a successful technique for teaching and communicating with her autistic son.” Interesting that Rudy tags it as successful, when even she tempers this later with the acknowledgement that it is untested and expensive: “While RPM and pointing carry no risks, nor are they backed by any kind of focused research. In fact, even the “research” link on HALO’s site provides almost nothing in the way of outside evaluation of efficacy. As a result, parents who travel to Austin for Soma’s services do so on the basis of anecdotal evidence and hope — and at considerable expense. It is, however, possible to start RPM and “pointing” on your own, by working from manuals, videos and instructions provided on the HALO and Strange Son websites.”

According to HALO, “RPM is an empirical and rational teaching method, based upon how the brain works. Academic lessons are intended to stimulate left-brain learning, leading towards communication. “Behaviors” or stims are used to help determine the student’s open learning channels.” Despite the claim of empiricism and rationalism, there are only two mentions of RPM in the scientific literature: Van Ackers and a brief mention in a case study by Gernsbacher in 2004 (thanks to Dr James Todd for pointing this out in a comment left in the Facilitated Communication article).

Van Acker (2006) writes this about Rapid Prompting: “RPM is an instructional technique designed to develop academic and communication skills in individuals with severe autism (CBS Broadcasting, 2003). This intervention program was designed by Soma Mukhopadhyay, a teacher and a mother of a child with autism. RPM elicits responses from persons with autism through a combination of intensive verbal, auditory, visual, and tactile prompts. As in FC, the RPM employs the facilitation of the person’s hand or arm as he or she types, points, or writes the responses. To date, PPM has yet to be empirically validated.”

Gernsbacher (2004) briefly mentions RPM and Soma Mukhopadhyay: “RH’s mother then had the opportunity to visit with the mother and son in the United States (Mukhopadhyay, 2000). Although RH’s mother was unwilling to go to the extreme measures that the Indian mother had used with her son, RH’s mother was very motivated to explore the possibilities of RH using even a gross style of handwriting for augmentative communication” (88).

No explanation of how this instructional method mirrors how the brain works is made, and it should be noted that Mukhopadhyay does not have a psychological or neurological background: she holds degrees undergraduate degrees in education and chemistry and a master’s degree in chemistry. Instead, vague phrasing abounds through the FAQ and, I guess the hope that asserting that, yes indeed, “Of course RPM is real” will be enough to win folks over. If the 2007 tax return is any indication, it’s more than enough to get parents to part with a sum total of $156,915 in session fees with Mukhopadhyay and $51, 260 in training and workshop fees. HALO only brought in $8,955 in membership fees, so 2008 was a better year, all in all. In 2008, HALO, the non-profit organization (which is claiming non-profit status as a school) managed to rake in $10,692 in membership dues. Currently on their webpage, their dues are $25 per year. If those were the dues 2 years ago, then they had 438.38 members. Okay, they had approximately 438 members; I don’t know what the dues were in 2008 that they managed to get that exact number.

Mukhopadhyay earned $108,300 in 2008 for her work at HALO, a paycut from 2007 when she earned $112,300. Of course, total revenue was significantly down: from $333,137 in 2007 to $266,666 in 2008.

If you don’t want to send your child to Halo School, though, you can jump through some hoops and pay $725 for RPM training.There are two videos of RPM available to nonmembers; I sat through both and found them to be incredibly abrasive to the senses, with the nonstop chatter by Mukhopadhyay and the constant ripping of paper. I am sure that this would act as an aversive to a child/person with noise sensitivities. I would personally be unable to function or think in such an environment, with an individual standing on top of me, ripping paper and constantly chattering.

As an explanation of the paper ripping, HALO’s FAQ offers the following: “Paper tearing acts as an auditory, visual and kinesthetic prompt to initiate the student to focus on the written learning activity. For those concerned about paper use, we are quite certain that RPM students do not utilize more paper than typical students. In fact, after RPM students advance to pointing to letter boards, the paper use decreases.” Sure it does.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who would have issues with the space issues, as one of the questions in the FAQ relates to how Soma deals with kids who don’t sit at the table, and it’s an answer that ought to have autistic adults who have issues with the aversives that some forms of ABA uses equally up in arms: “In most cases, she would use a confined workspace, with the wall on the student’s left side, and Soma sitting to the right.” I’m neurotypical (with issues, I admit), and I would have a problem with this, although the sitting by the instructor is certainly preferable to the instructor standing on top of the student, chattering and ripping paper. If they need some space, though, Soma is willing to accommodate some: “Soma will sometimes work from behind, or sometimes from the front to slow the movement (if the student is not sitting).” I’m just me, me with my issues, but if I had problems with you next to me, I sure am going to have problems with you behind me, too. To the front is preferable, at least.

As you read through the FAQ, if you’re evidence-based, what you see is a dearth of evidence. You do get a bit of woo dressed up in fancytalk:

“How does Soma determine a student’s dominant learning channel?
Soma observes the students reactions to his environment as well as the student’s primary stim, which can be the best indicator. Example: How does the student respond to a book?…. Does he flip the pages? (kinesthetic/visual) Does he focus on a specific part? (visual) Does he bang the book against something? (auditory) Does he tear the pages? (auditory/tactile) Any of these behaviors would help point to open learning channels.”

The constant chattering is also explained:

“Will constant talking during instruction be distracting to the student?
Auditory learning is important, regardless of whether the student is used to it or not. Some students are more comfortable listening to environmental sounds than spoken language, so they must become accustomed to attending to the teacher’s voice.”

Now, if you begin to get a bit critical as to whether this is actually a valid way to teach and what to do if the child doesn’t begin to respond on his own, here’s a sure sign that what’s going on may not be a legitimate sign of actual learning going on:

“Prompt dependency is preferred to the alternative of allowing no response or no learning to occur. In most cases, once motor skills are learned, the need for and frequency of prompts decreases.”

In other words, if the child doesn’t respond, do it for him and keep doing it. It won’t be the child’s communication, though.

Let’s say you have an extremely noise sensitive autistic child and you decided to do a Soma-style RPM. You crowd the child, because that’s always a good thing to do with space-sensitive people (and many autistic children are; let’s ramp up their anxiety), then let’s start talking fast and constantly and begin to rip paper. Repeatedly. Then let’s hold their left hand so they have to use the right (hell to a left-handed kid), because, after all, “Soma encourages right-hand response to stimulate left-brain learning, and to curb a student’s stimming with the left hand. Occasionally a student picks both choices using both hands. Then it becomes necessary for the teacher to hold the left hand just to have the child pick one choice.” Then, don’t allow them to not respond, force the response, instead. Why on earth would someone who is empirical and rational think this is designed to get a productive response out of a child?

Rapid Prompting Method has been around about a decade. There are no studies whatsoever on this method. There are testimonials. That’s it. There is no way to assess whether autistic individuals who are the recipients of RPM really benefit and gain skills from this method. There is no way to assess whether responses are a result of the prompter’s co-opting. I’m fairly sure of one thing. If it were me, and I had an adult doing RPM on me, and I could learn to type, respond, communicate, I sure as all get out would do it as fast as I could just to make the noise and the personal space crowding stop. And I’d have a fair bit of trauma as a result of the experience. But that’s just me. Maybe she really has helped hundreds upon hundreds of autistic kids. We’ll never really know, though. I mean, if RPM hasn’t undergone testing in a decade, is it really ever likely to? Especially as long as she can make a good living from it?

Rapid Prompt Method doesn’t pass the evidence test because it has never been subjected to the rigor of a scientific study. It’s unlikely that it would, either.


GERNSBACHER, M. A. (2004). Language is more than speech: A case study. Journal of Developmental and Learning Disorder, 8, 81-98.

Van Acker, R. (2006). Outlook on Special Education Practice. Focus on Exceptional Children, 38(8), 8-18. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

*After being inexplicably locked out of editing this post, I was finally able to get in and touch it up (style issues and a space that needed to be placed). 04/30

  1. April 12, 2010 10:15 am

    >"Especially as long as she can make a good living from it"I think you have discovered the wellspring of RPM.

  2. April 12, 2010 10:36 am


  3. April 12, 2010 10:57 am

    >It sounds like my idea of hell, if it existed. The one thing I can't stand is constant chatter and irritating noises. I'm pretty sure that "method" wouldn't work for my son as he is very sensitive to noises. He also has a significant auditory processing delay/disorder, like me, so saying things fast and louder and constantly is not going to register. It sounds like the adults in Charlie Brown/Peanuts…Mwa mamaaaa mua mua ma maa…

  4. April 12, 2010 10:59 am

    >jypsy,Thanks for the link. When it's published, I'll be more than happy to read it; however, until it's published in a peer-reviewed journal, not much I can do. The paper appears to be in revision and not accepted at a journal: doesn't appear that it will substantiate the legitimacy of authorship or assess actual development of the individual. In short, it isn't a study designed to look at whether RPM actually does what it says it does. It's not a study, but appears to be a review of videos. No independent examination of the individuals, no assessments; just video review:"Video-recorded RPM sessions were analysed to quantify learning-related behaviours – both those that may interfere with learning, such as self-stimulatory or stereotypic behaviours, and those that may facilitate learning, such as joint social attention. Exposure to the claimed therapy suppressed repetitive behaviours and maintained accuracy as the number of multiple-choice response options increased."

  5. April 12, 2010 11:03 am

    >I just don't understand if something is considered so incredible-why hasn't it been studied more? Also, as people can pay to be taught this system-why haven't I heard of satellite offices across the country/world? Just reading the testimonies-you would think other business minded people would jump on the band wagon-just look at Hbot. It doesn't make sense. I do think it is kind of odd that she judges a persons way of learning by the way in which they handle a book. All of my kids at various times would have banged it, turned the pages..ripped it..what kind of learners does that make them? I too would be unnerved by the tearing of paper..I was when I watched the documentary. She talks way too fast-reminded me of a John Edwards psychic reading..

  6. April 12, 2010 11:51 am

    >I offered it purely "for your information" and without comment.

  7. April 12, 2010 11:55 am

    >Thank you, jypsy, I appreciate that. 🙂 And once the whole paper is available, I will enjoy the opportunity to read it.

  8. April 12, 2010 5:07 pm

    >Another excellent review, Kim, thank you.I added a link to this post in the body of my post about FC

  9. April 13, 2010 1:15 am

    >I have a sensory seeker, and I think even he would be overwhelmed by this one.

  10. April 22, 2010 6:46 pm

    >It seems your mind is already made up about RPM so this is to the others who made read this and take your word as the only word. First, HALO is not a school and does not take students, they do however take "Campers" at a 4 day camp. If you consider $725 a lot of money for a 4 day camp, you must not know how much therapy for autism costs.Regarding its efficacy:There are students that have been using this methodology for several years and RPM is just now getting to the stage where researchers are interested in taking a look. Infact there are several research projects being conducted as we speak. Many of the kids who have used this methodology for some time now are mainstreamed in regular classes, communicating through pointing on letterboard. I understand skeptism regarding RPM and its efficacy, since it is so new and no research has been completed yet. Therefore I offer two links that I believe will be helpful. The first is a youtube video of Mitch pointing out a letter to his church telling them that he can now "talk". You can clearly see that there is no facilitation of his communication. And the second is a link to a video produced by Dr. Stephen Edelson. Stephen M. Edelson Ph.D, Director of the Autism Research Institute (ARI – formerly directed by Dr. Bernard Rimland) visited the HALO clinic and was so impressed that he wrote and produced a video documenting what he had seen. He too would like to see published research in this area, but understands that all new methodologies have to be acknowledged by the research community before interest in researching can be obtained. This was the main reason for his video – to get researchers interest. And it worked! He interviews Soma Mukhopadhyay, Linda Lange (founder of HALO), and Dr. Amy Holmes, mother of a child with autism. In this film Dr. Edelson states that he sees no facilitation and that the children/adults were actually communicating themselves. Youtube video: Mitch – Pointing letter to church ( search "Rapid Prompting Method" and this will show up) Autism Research Institute: (click on the video "On The Rapid Prompting Method") I hope that these links will help your readers to see more clearly that reaching these children is possible. That they are intelligent and deserve whatever methodologies we can find to help them communicate and become a part of our community.I would hope in the future you would use CURRENT references to methodologies such as RPM, and not years and years ago … especially since RPM is less than 10 years old.

  11. April 22, 2010 7:09 pm

    >Lisa,Halo gets its tax exempt status as a SCHOOL. It's called Halo School on the tax form. And there are NO studies on the efficacy of RPM. NONE. There is anecdote and testimonials. I used CURRENT information. You want to provide peer-reviewed research articles showing the efficacy of this, be my guest.

  12. April 22, 2010 7:33 pm

    >I just wanted to point out one more thing. ABA also took many years for research to be published:ResearchDr Lovaas's work is based on over 30 years of research in psychology. He never claimed that his method could cure autism. Results from a study he conducted in 1963 showed that the intensive behavioural therapy may help some autistic children.20 children, aged from 5 to 12, were involved in the study. They were divided in 3 groups: the first one received 40 hours of treatment every week, the second one received 10 hours along with other therapies and the third one received no behavioural treatment at all. The results were published in 1987 and revealed for the first time the importance of behavioural therapies. I also believe that ABA would have been worth trying in the twenty four years it took to get researched. Call me a "desparate Mom who will try anything".

  13. April 22, 2010 7:35 pm

    >Did you look at the sites I sent? What is your opinion?

  14. April 22, 2010 7:49 pm

    >Lisa,No one here is saying children on the spectrum can't be reached. Huge strawman.I'm not sure you understand what evidence-based means. It certainly requires more than video testimonials. The primary question raised in this post isn't whether this is facilitated communication but whether it is effective, whether it actually produces the results that HALO insists it does.It doesn't take outside researchers, by the way; with the money that HALO has taken in, the board of HALO could have funded a study to look at the efficacy of RPM. They haven't. Instead the majority of the money brought in went to pay salaries. So, it seems to me what you have here is someone making unsubstantiated claims and making their living off these claims. Maybe she helps folks. We don't know, though. Testimonials don't show that her methods are responsible for any gains, nor are these gains substantiated. A youtube video isn't scientific evidence. And ARI's Edelson praising it doesn't count as scientific evidence, either. And these things have nothing to do with an open mind or a closed mind. I'm not sure you understand going where the science goes. My conclusion was that there is no science so we don't know.

  15. April 22, 2010 8:11 pm

    >What did you think of the links? Is there facilitation?

  16. April 22, 2010 8:16 pm

    >Since I am sure you are not going to ADMIT that this is obviously not facilitation, I guess I will have the curtesy to answer your question. I do know what evidenced-based testing is. I also know that it takes years of research – and that is only after the methodology has established some recognition (through people like Dr. Edelson). In the meantime, I will not allow my nonverbal son to not be able to communicate. Once again, call me a desparate mom who will do anything for her son. Thank GOD you aren't his teacher!

  17. April 22, 2010 8:20 pm

    >Oh BTW, you saw the tax return. Why didn't you mention that the "Salaries" HALO pays is for one apprentice, Soma and a secretary. Everyone else, including the Board of Directors is a volunteer. I guess you didn't want to mention this FACT.

  18. April 22, 2010 8:32 pm

    >Wow all that money goes to two people only..looks as if you made an excellent point Kim. People believe what they want to believe. It would appear that because you are not online at the monment-not able to answer someones question on demand-you are discourteous? Of course it needs to be ended with "I'm glad you aren't my sons teacher!" Because of course-you are asking for scientific evidence-testing..peer reviewed therefore that somehow deems you as uncaring-uninterested in autistic people being able to communicate..Interesting logic or lack therof. This is a blog for grown ups. People ought to act accordingly.

  19. April 22, 2010 8:45 pm

    >$157,000 for three salaries, rent and utilities … you are right. She is exploiting families.As far as angry, I am tired of everyone discrediting my son – especially in front of his face. Of course, that doesn't happen anymore, but it did for years, while he was still working on his motor skills. He was so scared, he wouldn't even point in front of others. I admit, I was hasty and too quick in tongue. Please forgive me, and please give our kids the benefit of the doubt.

  20. April 22, 2010 8:59 pm

    >Lisa,I'm mother to three children on the spectrum. I am not discounting the children who are nonverbal; I am not suggesting that they are incapable of communicating.I am arguing that the interventions provided to them need to be evidence based. The treatments and interventions need to be safe and they need to cause no harm. A person crowding a space-sensitive, sound-sensitive his ears has the potential to be traumatic. I'm saying that neurotypical children couldn't learn the way she's teaching, would find it too noisy, too intense to effectively learn. Now do that to a child with sensory processing issues and you're almost guaranteed to be traumatizing them. I'd talk, too, if it meant the person traumatizing me got away from me. Our children deserve our respect, our acceptance, and our unwavering commitment that in our search to help them achieve their potential we will protect them from harm and that means harm from the people who promise us to help us reach them.Not doing HALO doesn't mean not doing something to help your nonverbal child learn to communicate. Patience, commitment, and a willingness to explore alternative communication devices may very well help your child learn to communicate with written language and hopefully verbally at some point. I'm sure that even if he doesn't have language, he is able to communicate with you at least some of his needs and wants, and having been there, with my oldest, I absolutely understand that deep-seated wish to hear your child communicate with words.

  21. April 22, 2010 9:12 pm

    >Lisa,I hope you'll look around Countering and some of the blogs on the blogroll; we have a ready and willing community to be supportive of you and your family.This site contains the tax returns for Halo from 2004-2008:'ve learned over the years that where the language is vague and the promises extensive, and a chunk of change involved, it might be too good to be true. Looking into them money and whether any research has been done is always a way to get an idea of what's really going on.Also, I think setting up HALO as a non-profit so that the income would not be taxed raises red flags, as well. This is obviously a business, not a non-profit and to claim exemption as a school and under the argument that it provides autism education may be within the letter of the law, but that doesn't make it right.

  22. April 22, 2010 10:27 pm

    >Actually, RPM is very sensitive to our kids sensory issues. If a child was sound sensitive, You are supposed to whisper. If a child is visual, do not tear paper, but instead just write on paper. However auditory children enjoy the tearing paper … infact many stim doing just that! The method of teaching in RPM changes for each child according to their sensory issues. You should read the book, "Understanding Autism through Rapid Prompting Method" this will give you a better understanding of how this methodology works.My son was taught ABA for four years 40 hours per week. He did okay and soon learned to sit still and "look at someone". He learned to identify hundreds of nouns and could imitate pretty well. But to say that it gave him any means of communication would be an understatement. There are no methodologies as of now that give our non-verbal kids a voice. PECS is the closest thing, and how could my son tell me that he likes the girl with cute curls if he was using PECS? How could he answer his social studies test question … "what do the Texas constitution and the US constitution have in common?" Can you offer a researched based methodology that would give him the ability to communicate when his motor skills are so poor?Even computers have such a little keyboard that people like my son with motor impairments are not accurate enough. It isn't until now that he is able to type on a "BigKeys" keyboard by himself. What about the years before this when his motor skills were not accurate enough? At least RPM acknowledged his intelligence and taught him age appropriate academics – giving him choices on pieces of paper to show he understood. Before we did RPM at age 9 he was still "learning" his colors / letters / adjectives / etc. with ABA. What are the best options for children with motor impairments to this degree? Afterall, speach is a fine motor skill. On one thing we both agree – MORE RESEARCH needs to be done! We need to find ways for our kids to communicate, whether through RPM or some other basis, but don't let them just waste away their lives waiting for research… unfortunately if we had done this, Mitch would not be entering high school totally mainstreamed.You saw his video, I think we both know that RESEARCH desparately needs to be done on this methodology, but don't discount this method until you have taken more time to get to know it. Read the book, "Understanding Autism through Rapid Prompting Method" and although it does not have research, it does explain why this methodology works on children/adults with autism.

  23. April 23, 2010 1:06 am

    >Lisa,The book may explain Soma's rationale but it doesn't prove anything, and that is precisely my point: she's selling a product (herself, for the most part) that she cannot demonstrate is more effective at reaching and assisting nonverbal children than other methods. There are alternatives to PECS, also.The problem with testimonials and anecdote is that our memories and our perceptions are extremely vulnerable to our biases and heuristics. We see what we want to see, we self-justify ourselves into positions that if we were willing to remain open and skeptical we would not have to.You may ascribe an action or choice as being absolutely responsible for something, but if you have a huge psychological (and financial or time) commitment into it, you are highly unlikely to see that other ways might have worked as well or to consider it didn't work at all. The sunk cost fallacy accounts for why we do this. Self-justification explains why we have such a hard time admitting to mistakes.Being willing to follow science wherever it goes means being willing to accept uncertainty, the potentiality of being wrong, and the willingness to admit it and move forward. If soundly designed studies show that RPM works to help nonverbal children learn to communicate, I will be more than willing to note that. I have no idea whether rapid prompting method works at all, works better than other methods, etc. You know why? It hasn't been studied and relying on testimonials is no substitute for science. Otherwise, we might as well believe in all those alleged alien abductions, right?What I do know is that this method has provided one individual with a very good living since 2004.

  24. April 23, 2010 1:59 pm

    >I believe that most scientists would respect a theory and not try to slam it into the ground because it has not been studied yet, especially when studies are happening at that moment. I would hope that the next time you write a blog about something you admittedly know NOTHING ABOUT, you would not write it in such a tone that you know it all. BTW, HALO is Keeps 100% of its videos (the highest form of data) so that they can be used (and are being used) in research for our children. HALO was set up with the intent of research – which is now being conducted. I wish you and your readers' children all the best.

  25. April 23, 2010 2:03 pm

    >Kathleen,I told you that she would never comment on whether she thought the video of my son was facilitated or not 🙂

  26. April 23, 2010 2:41 pm

    >Actually Lisa, she did answer your question. She is answering in the nicest possible way ever. No one is going to know from watching a video whether or not something works. That is not science. It appears that you have tried many therapies-and started seeing results after going to Halo. It also appears that you are very angry when anyone questions the results. Understand this-Kim is not saying your son isn't communicating. She is not saying that Soma's techniques doesn't work. Rather, she is asking for the scientific testing of it. She is saying where are the studies that prove this technique. There aren't any. No- a video does not prove anything. She is saying that when someone charges a large fee-they ought to have scientific backing to justify that fee. she is saying that people upon investing so much of their time and money on one therapy tend to say all results, growth and development are because of that one therapy. Perhaps dismissing any other earlier therapy they have used. That is anecdote. Video does not prove a technique. No one here has said that your son is not communicating. They are simply saying that there is no proof that this method alone gave him his communication skills. None. I don't understand why you are so angry. I don't see Kim as behaving as a "know it all". When in fact she is asking for data to better understand this. No one here is putting you down. This is simply a discussion about a technique that has no scientific data behind it.

  27. April 23, 2010 4:06 pm

    >The least she could do is delete this sentence, especially since it took ABA 24 years to get scientific evidence:"…if RPM hasn’t undergone testing in a decade, is it really ever likely to?"

  28. April 23, 2010 4:30 pm

    >With all due respect Kathleen, that wasn't the question (about the video). I never saw her actual question, which was about whether the video showed "facilitation" answered. It's likely Lisa gets the same vibe here that I do when trying to engage in a discussion about these topics. Almost like a bias was formed here by a couple of "pro-FC" commentors on this blog and we are suffering the outcome…. I have never disagreed with you about the science and, given the number of times I've been labeled as Michelle Dawson's minion, it's strange to be told "Thanks for the link. When it's published, I'll be more than happy to read it; however, until it's published in a peer-reviewed journal, not much I can do." when I offer up a piece of information related to the topic. I wasn't asking anyone to "do" anything, it was clearly offered "For Your Information" and nothing more. Lisa's point appears to be: "I hope that these links will help your readers to see more clearly that reaching these children is possible. That they are intelligent and deserve whatever methodologies we can find to help them communicate and become a part of our community. " You may disagree with her about "deserve whatever methodologies we can find" (or want to modify it to "deserve whatever methodologies we can scientifically prove") or her belief that this method helped her son, but she's not out to sell you RPM. She's out to share her son's communication and show possibility. She's angry because "As far as angry, I am tired of everyone discrediting my son". Maybe she's "angry" because you are not engaging in the discussion she is bringing to the table, just constantly countering with how her comments don't change yours. My comments and questions (many unanswered) on previous FC posts were never meant to counter the topic or change your opinion. They were meant to broaden it, help better define what people were meaning when they used certain terms etc. For instance, if "facilitation" had ever been clearly defined here, the various levels of support etc actually discussed (I tried), Lisa's question might have been answered, at least as far as this blog's definition of "facilitation" goes.(Continued below)

  29. April 23, 2010 4:31 pm

    >(Continued from above)"No one here has said that your son is not communicating. They are simply saying that there is no proof that this method alone gave him his communication skills. None. " But Kim said "Patience, commitment, and a willingness to explore alternative communication devices may very well help your child learn to communicate with written language and hopefully verbally at some point. I'm sure that even if he doesn't have language, he is able to communicate with you at least some of his needs and wants, and having been there, with my oldest, I absolutely understand that deep-seated wish to hear your child communicate with words."If I were Lisa listening to someone tell me "may very well help your child learn to communicate with written language" (as opposed to "have helped") and "even if he doesn't have language", I'd think they were certainly telling me that he is not communicating, at least not with the "communication skills" he demonstrated. No one here said he *was* communicating. (If someone had ever said to me "I absolutely understand that deep-seated wish to hear your child communicate with words." I'd have identified that as "projection" as I never expressed nor had such a wish. Lisa may have but I didn't see it.) Lisa has agreed that more research is needed and there is no scientific proof yet. Lisa is offering her and her son's experience and a video and you are "asking for data to better understand this." Maybe we didn't realize that unless we were scientists and were going to offer up scientific data to support or counter Kim's blog post, our participation in any discussion here was not welcome. You can't demand scientific proof from Lisa when you know there isn't any. If you want to "better understand this", ask for and take what Lisa can offer and don't expect her to be anything more, less or other than she is.Lisa, my short answer to your question is "yes", or at least he is not "fully independent" but I have my own definitions based on my own experiences. Can I ask….. do you have to hold the letterboard? Has he tried a keyboard?

  30. April 23, 2010 4:47 pm

    >Lisa, I'll answer in the order of the comments as they've come in.You write, "I believe that most scientists would respect a theory and not try to slam it into the ground because it has not been studied yet, especially when studies are happening at that moment."No. Scientists rely on evidence, well-designed studies, and replication. Respect has no part in it. And I did not slam it into the ground. I'm sorry, what studies are being done? Where? What is the methodology? What IRB board approved these studies? How many subjects? Is there a control group?"I would hope that the next time you write a blog about something you admittedly know NOTHING ABOUT, you would not write it in such a tone that you know it all."I never said I knew it all. I provided an evidence-based blog. I combed through the tax returns, the website, the available videos, and the paucity of literature available on the subject and said that there was no scientific evidence on the efficacy of this method. "BTW, HALO is Keeps 100% of its videos (the highest form of data) so that they can be used (and are being used) in research for our children. HALO was set up with the intent of research – which is now being conducted."While videos could be used in case studies, they are not acceptable data points for research. Again, who's conducting the research? Where's the IRB approval? How many in the sample? Is there a control group? What assessments and measures are being used to assess the progress of the individuals? If there is a control group, was it matched to the study group?

  31. April 23, 2010 4:55 pm

    >Lisa,You write: "I told you that she would never comment on whether she thought the video of my son was facilitated or not :)"I'm so sorry for not directly answering your question. Since this post had nothing to do with facilitated communication, I failed to see the relevance of whether this video demonstrated facilitated communication. I still don't. If answering that no, this doesn't look like there is any chance of facilitator co-option somehow improves your frame of mind, I'm pleased as punch to offer the answer.Helping nonverbal children to be able to communicate through a variety of written means is important and not something I have ever argued shouldn't be done.People shouldn't take advantage of nonverbal children and their parents. People shouldn't make claims for which there is no scientific evidence. And it shouldn't be granted nonprofit status.Was that a sufficient answer for you? Perhaps now you can explain how it had anything to do with my argument that RPM has not been studied and there is no scientific evidence for its efficacy?

  32. April 23, 2010 4:58 pm

    >Lisa,You write: "The least she could do is delete this sentence, especially since it took ABA 24 years to get scientific evidence:"…if RPM hasn’t undergone testing in a decade, is it really ever likely to?""No, it's not the least I could do. It's a valid question. How many modalities are out there that people are making their living off of that have never been tested and never will be? Plenty. There is no financial incentive to put RPM through rigorous testing.

  33. April 23, 2010 5:21 pm

    >jypsy,No one at here is discounting the possibilities that our children have nor suggesting that heaven and earth shouldn't be moved to help them.I've never called you Dawson's minion, nor am I aware of you being referred to as such any where I've seen, so I'm not sure why you bring that up here or its relevance.Lisa's initial posts did not indicate that her child was older, nor that he was communicating. My pardon for making an assumption that was incorrect and writing that we would all want to do everything to help our nonverbal children communicate. I see now that this was completely out of order. Also, I apologize for assuming that you would offer additional information for me, but not want me to look at it or comment on it. And that in doing so, it would cause further offense. I thought, especially since this a blog whose comments are rarely removed, that these kinds of comments were meant to elicit conversation.I also apologize for failing to, apparently, ever define what I meant by facilitation adequately for you. I thought I had. I'm more than happy to try again, though. In the research literature showing that facilitated communication was not a valid method, the facilitator's hand was in a position in order to guide the client's fingers so that the communication was in fact the result not of the client's intent, but the unconscious intent of the facilitator.In other words, if there is no potential because the facilitator is not taking the client's hand/finger(s) or wrist (or depending on the size of the board) the elbow, of the communication coming from the facilitator, then there is no reason to think it is anyone other than the client's. As a teaching tool, there is no problem with guiding a child's hand. The problem comes from asserting that any communication that results is absolutely the child's. Again, something I thought most parents and educators would absolutely be all for: making sure we don't put words in our children's mouths.Choosing to read evidence-based blogging as personal indictments against one's own actions seems to me to be counterproductive and defensive. I understand reading actual personal attacks as personal attacks and getting upset about it, but a general review of the existing literature?Wanting evidence-based practices to help our children achieve the best possible outcome ought to be something everyone wants. Making sure we protect our children from potential harm ought to be a primary goal. Advocating for research for those methods and modalities that are out there making people money off of parents of autistic children who deeply want to help their children really shouldn't piss anybody off. I find it highly interesting that it appears to.If I somehow managed to miss a question in anyone's post I was supposed to answer, I apologize. I assure you it was not an attempt to avoid a question.

  34. April 23, 2010 5:42 pm

    >Actually, now he is using "BigKeys" that is put on a music stand with no assistance. To be portable, we just take the letterboard, we are going to get an ipad soon. It is pretty evident that it is his own words when he points, "Mom, give me back my video, I hate you". 14 year olds :)I do not consider RPM as FC. You start with written choices on paper … just like in ABA. The child picks the correct answer and then you teach them to spell the word out on the letterboard. First they choose the correct answer. After years of practice (for my son 3 years) they are able to point out complete sentences. Until then, use choices on the table.

  35. April 23, 2010 5:50 pm

    >The main problem with ABA was that they never taught my son academics. He kept falling behind, because he was never taught science, social studies, math, etc because he couldn't talk and wasn't one of the 45% that are mainstreamed. RPM uses academics to teach these children. We started with 2nd grade material and quickly got him back up to speed. Now he is mainstreamed in 8th grade.Did you all see the youtube video Carly's Voice? Here is the link. She types totally independently and is non-verbal. We have to assume intelligence and find and RESEARCH methodologies that will help these kids.–75v4lI8

  36. April 23, 2010 5:59 pm

    >"No one at here is discounting the possibilities that our children have nor suggesting that heaven and earth shouldn't be moved to help them."I never said they were."I've never called you Dawson's minion, nor am I aware of you being referred to as such any where I've seen, so I'm not sure why you bring that up here or its relevance."Also never said you did. But that is a fact and, as such, it's quite a contrast to feel I'm being treated the way you treat anti-vaxers and other professors of pseudo-science when I'm so often accused elsewhere of being the minion of someone so thoroughly entrenched in science. "Lisa's initial posts did not indicate that her child was older, nor that he was communicating."In fact they offered you visual indication of exactly that. You have not offended me here. Ever. (yet)As long as you use the definition "the facilitator's hand was in a position in order to guide the client's fingers" I know of no "FC supporter" who will say they are using FC (as you define it). Do you not think the communicator can be influenced without physical touch? Lisa told you why she was angry. I am not at all angry. So I'm not sure who these people are here who are pissed off at "Advocating for research for those methods and modalities that are out there making people money off of parents of autistic children who deeply want to help their children". Elsewhere sure, I see lots of it.

  37. April 23, 2010 6:05 pm

    >So do you think that I facilitated my son's writing of his letter to church? In your opinion – and please don't try to go around the question – was it his words? As a scientist … or whatever you are … you should know that research takes time … a lot of time. And no, $157,000 is not enough to pay three salaries, rent, utilities, scholarships, and RESEARCH. We need people like Dr. Edelson to make researchers aware of this methodology so that it can be researched. To say that making $100k as director of education – and as you noted – taking a cut in pay by a few thousand is not overpaid -dare I say the opposite. Check out the salaries of most people in charge of ABA clinics. Post them by all means!

  38. April 23, 2010 6:20 pm

    >Kim,I am not the person who should discuss the research going on, since I don't know the details. I used to be more involved at volunteering at HALO, but am no longer. I do know that several universities including Harvard, Penn State, MIT, and Cornell have all requested and are in the midst of preparing for research. A few have IRB approval at this time.

  39. April 23, 2010 6:24 pm

    >Lisa,I'm glad your son is doing well. I answered your question, and I didn't beat around the bush, and then I asked you how it was relevant to the post. Might I suggest, since you're uncertain of who I am, that, since there are 400 plus blog posts on this one of my blogs alone, you might explore?This post isn't about ABA. It's about RPM. It's about a nonprofit that doesn't actually engage in the kinds of things nonprofits typically do. It's about claims that haven't been backed by scientific evidence.It's about advocating for research into the methods being used with autistic children and making sure the methods are sound, that parents aren't taken advantage of, and that children aren't harmed. I'm so very sorry you took this as a personal indictment since the post has nothing to do with you or your child.

  40. April 23, 2010 6:39 pm

    >Jypsy,I'm sorry if you've in any way felt unwelcome to post, although I'm glad to know that I haven't offended you (yet). Some of your points, in both your last comment and the one prior, I just don't know what to respond with, so if I haven't addressed specific points you felt I should, I apologize. I guess, if an answer were needed, my response would be, I acknowledge your comments and appreciate them.The FC discussion had several posters pushing very forcefully their point of view with an insistence that I accept their point as the right one; that feeling (on my part) has bled into this one. I think that I have read Lisa's comments as absolutely intended to correct me, and based on one of her comments, to get me to change my post. Perhaps her only intent is to place a personal face on this, to share her story. She'd have to communicate what her intent is explicitly, though, to let us know.I, of course, welcome additional comments. 🙂

  41. April 23, 2010 6:44 pm

    >Kim,I don't take this personally, actually I am advocating for all the families out there that have a non-verbal child and don't know what to do. As you can see, I can go kinda overboard. There are a lot of kids who could benefit from this and then they read your post and dismiss it. Never giving it a chance.Here is the quote from the Autism Research Institute site in the article titled, "What I Would Do If I Were a Parent of An Autistic Child: Recommendations Based on 30 Years of Research Experience":"If my child had a limited verbal skills, I would look into the Rapid Prompting Method." – Dr. Stephen EdelsonJust that simple. From one of the most respected autism organizations in the world. So I guess it is your opinion vs theirs. I guess your readers will have to make that choice themselves.

  42. April 23, 2010 6:53 pm

    >Lisa,There are alternatives to Soma's RPM that are far more accessible to more people without costing the kinds of money involved that Halo charges. I briefly addressed these in another post last month:'m interested. You've now acknowledged that you use to volunteer for HALO, but you initially decried that HALO was not a school. Were you unaware of HALO's nonprofit status and its full name? Also, you note a money amount in earlier comment that doesn't match the amounts of money brought in any of the 5 years that the records are available for.Listen, here's a likely truth: if parents are reading ARI and buying into the sorts of things that it promotes, they're probably not reading me. There you go, problem solved. 🙂 And if they do manage to stumble here and read this post, then, you've made more than sure to offer an alternative point of view.

  43. April 23, 2010 6:58 pm

    >Thanks Kim.

  44. April 23, 2010 6:59 pm

    >"From one of the most respected autism organizations in the world."According to who?Lisa, if any of your comments were aimed at me, you'll have to stick my name in them or something to make that clear, otherwise I'll assume they are for Kim.

  45. April 23, 2010 7:02 pm

    >Oh sorry, I didn't answer your question. yes, I knew that it is called a school. And it is under that umbrella because it teaches academics to the students. I should have clarified that since it takes students for very short periods of time – 4 days, it is not what you would typically call a school. Most people come to the 4 day camps about twice a year to get more training on how to use this methodology at home and at their home school.

  46. April 23, 2010 7:03 pm

    >jypsy,So sorry … all my comments were directed toward Kim. You have been most gracious.

  47. April 23, 2010 7:08 pm

    >Lisa,These seem contradictory to me:"First, HALO is not a school and does not take students, they do however take "Campers" at a 4 day camp. If you consider $725 a lot of money for a 4 day camp, you must not know how much therapy for autism costs.""Oh sorry, I didn't answer your question. yes, I knew that it is called a school. And it is under that umbrella because it teaches academics to the students."Your first comment here versus your last to me.

  48. April 23, 2010 7:10 pm

    >No problem Lisa, I assumed they were but, in case they weren't I asked (since I had offered an answer to your question and one of your follow up questions could have been in response to that).

  49. April 23, 2010 9:56 pm

    >Kim,to be fair I did like this part of your Non-verbal blog:Does this mean we stop cold? No, it means that while we work to help our children, we look to what current research has to say and where there is clear empirical evidence that treatment modalities are not effective or cause greater harm, we steer clear of them. Where the research has not been done, but no harm has been substantiated, we proceed cautiously, and we advocate for getting that research done. We make sure that the treatments are plausible, as well. If it's too good to be true, well, come on, folks, it is. We educate ourselves about the scientific method, about critical thinking, about the body and how it works, about the brain and how it works. We read the scientific literature and we examine everything with skepticism. We also proceed knowing the fallibility of our perceptions, our incredible ability to see what we wish to see, and to attribute causes inaccurately. As long as we proceed open-minded and willing to be proven wrong, we safeguard against falling into the woo and losing our way and in the process harming our children.Especially the part about Open-mindedness.

  50. April 23, 2010 10:23 pm

    >Lisa,I've had time this afternoon to look more closely at the video you provided, at the HALO site, at the tax forms, and to review the documentary A Mother's Courage. Don't you think you should have disclosed more about your involvement with HALO in your comments, especially upfront? —-"Lisa Helt is the mother of an autistic child and the current President of HALO (Helping Autism through Learning and Outreach). After her son was diagnosed with autism, she became a stay at home mother and an advocate for her son." — Also provides information regarding you and your involvement with HALO. — 2008 –Shows you as a volunteer. — This one shows that the books were in your care. It's for 2007. On 5/14/08 you signed the form as the Interim Director for HALO. So you absolutely knew every dime brought in and taken out. Huh, I find that interesting that you didn't admit that. — This one, for 2006, shows the books in your care.Shouldn't you have provided that information initially? You know, "Hi, I'm President of HALO (or were if that's changed), and I really believe in what Soma's doing." Even if not initially, I really think that as the comments continued, as I referenced the tax returns that, if you were being upfront, you would have disclosed that you knew full well what the tax returns said. It was, at best, disingenuous.There are inconsistencies in your comments here that are incompatible with the information contained in these documents. As treasurer, you knew exactly what was coming in and going out. As president of HALO, you also had access to more information than you let on. I understand being devoted to a method you believe responsible for helping your son. I don't understand not acknowledging clearly your close connection to the organization. You absolutely, whether you take in a dime or not, have a vested interest in promoting RPM.If you look at my blog, you'll note no ads, no sponsors, no selling of any products, no donations accepted. None. I have no vested interests. None. No conflicts of interest. You do and you should have disclosed it. We would have proceeded on equal footing, knowing where the other stood. I am deeply troubled by what I feel was less than full disclosure.

  51. April 23, 2010 10:30 pm

    >Apologies for my naivete.

  52. April 23, 2010 11:27 pm

    >My links did not fully appear and for some reason the blog post will not let me edit anything about it. I will post the links to the pdfs for the tax returns in another blogpost. In the meantime, they can be individually clicked on if you go to and search for Halo School in Texas. There are records for 2004-2008.

  53. April 24, 2010 12:02 am

    >Let me introduce myself. I am Lisa, I moved to Austin Texas after my son, Mitch benefited so dramatically from RPM. He no longer needs nor goes to HALO. I was a volunteer for 2 years and when the founder left, I was interim director for 9 months. All unpaid as you already know. The film, A Mother's Courage shows inaccurately that I am the president of HALO. I have never been nor will be. As far as any interest in it, I have none. I don't go there nor my son. Of course I knew the figures you were bouncing around. Talking about how HALO extorts (or whatever you wanted to say) money. HALO is upstanding, and YES, I ACTUALLY BELEIVE IN IT ENOUGH TO VOLUNTEER THERE.I mentioned that I volunteered there. Did you not read that? Do you volunteer any time to organizations you believe in? Does that make everything I said untrue or more accurate?

  54. April 24, 2010 12:26 am

    >The first message of yours makes no notice of your role as a volunteer for HALO. Plus, I'm still waiting on your explanation on those two contradictory statements concerning Halo and it's school status.I did a search. The only person who uses the word "extorts" is be continued.

  55. April 24, 2010 12:30 am

    >Earlier, I wrote "I'm interested. You've now acknowledged that you use to volunteer for HALO, but you initially decried that HALO was not a school. Were you unaware of HALO's nonprofit status and its full name?" Obviously I read where you disclosed that you were a volunteer. You did not answer my questions posed in that comment, by the way.You should have disclosed that you knew exactly what came in from at least 2006 through 2008 to HALO, that you were a prominent volunteer, a volunteer who knew and had access to the books. Who acted as interim director. So, how much for the camp? How much does it cost a parent to get trained with RPM, total?to be continued.

  56. April 24, 2010 12:34 am

    >You wrote: "$157,000 for three salaries, rent and utilities … you are right. She is exploiting families."See, you used the term twice. Not me. I take it that the apology following it was disingenuine as well. You came into this post and the comments knowing more than you let on, and still here at this point in the conversation you had not let on that you were a HALO volunteer. still not done.

  57. April 24, 2010 12:53 am

    >I am the mother of an almost 13 year old son that has benefitted from RPM. Initially we did everything the "ABA way"- intensive 40 hours a week of ABA, then private ABA school, and only to be told at 7 that life skills were his future. I am so thankful I challenged such comments from autism "professionals" in the ABA community.When you hit a dead end, as we did with ABA, you must look outside the box. I am aware that with ignorance comes fear, but do not be afraid. Learn about RPM and maybe then you won't strike out in fear. I can assure you no one is being taken advantage of- as we all make our own decisions in life. I, too, was a former volunteer at HALO and can attest to countless hours Lisa volunteered to the benefit of many families. The fact that you'd try to discredit her is shameful. But then, this entire rant lacks tact.As for things needed to be "proven" before one tries them…I can tell you that my experience as an RN included medical treatments and experimental drugs for patients that were not yet proven. Why give them? Because they worked. If we all sit around waiting for everything in life to be proven, well…then we'd just be wasting time. Let's move on and concentrate on more productive issues.

  58. April 24, 2010 12:54 am

    >It took you 15 posts to admit you volunteered at HALO. That's far less than full disclosure. You repeat that 157,000 figure again here, and you still don't note your role as the person who kept the books.You also engaged in this post, despite my civility throughout my postings, yet again with what has to be termed dismissive and rude language: "As a scientist … or whatever you are…" Coupled with your earlier statement that you were glad I wasn't your son's teacher, and what I think most of us can now see was sarcasm with the $157,00 exploiting comments, I think that many would agree you've not been particularly above board with your communications here. You continue with your condesension later: "Just that simple. From one of the most respected autism organizations in the world. So I guess it is your opinion vs theirs. I guess your readers will have to make that choice themselves."Since ARI created DAN!, I think I can speak for many in the autism community when I state that your assertion that ARI is "one of the most respected autism organizations in the world" is like saying that Autism Speaks represents autistic people well.Skipping back to your last comment. Which is it, you do volunteer there or you used to? I mean, you felt the need to assert in CAPS that you volunteer there.If you have no interest in it, your son no longer needs Soma's one-on-one intervention, then why not fully disclose what a success story he is? I really don't understand. If you believe in it so strongly, why do you no longer volunteer there? You moved to Austin, after all, to be there near the school. When did you leave volunteering? I look forward to your responses; clearing up these confusing matters will be a tremendous weight off my shoulders.However, since some of us (well, at least me) miss sarcasm unless it's really overt, could you please provide a sarcasm tag, so that when you apologize, etc, like you did with that $157,000 piece, we'll know you are being facetious? Thanks!

  59. April 24, 2010 1:05 am

    >Lynne,Thank you for visiting Countering. I'm always glad to meet new folks.Thanks for assuming that writing an evidence-based blog that notes there is no scientific evidence for RPM means I'm writing out of a place of fear, and that if only I'd think outside the box, I could come metaphorically into the light. And I so appreciate your argument from authority as an RN. It's absolutely convincing and lets me know that evidence-based practice and backing up one's claims with sound scientific evidence need not apply when it comes to our children. Thank you.Is there some particular reason that both you and Lisa seem to think that the only intervention out there is ABA? And that once you've done only ABA you must go to RPM?

  60. April 24, 2010 1:24 am

    >Well Hells Bells and jesus wept Miss Kim! What in the hell is this tomfoolery goin on here? This "Let me have a friend come an make a testimonial about me" OOH and she is a nurse! Trumps you huh? Funny I have heard the same old tired "oh goodness we had no where else to turn" by folks who chemically castrate their kids..Lupron anyone? Or how about some good old fashioned at home Hbot chamber? Nicotine patches? Thankfully it would appear that the only thing RPM shares with those "treatments" is the cost. Now answer me this-if it is all so wonderful all so magnificent-why..why isn't it widespread? Why aren't their clinics all over the world..If it is that wonderful and successful why isn't it everywhere? It isn't like it hasn't been around. It isn't as if it couldn't be taught as part of an occupational therapists curriculum. Why? Got another question for y'all as well..I read somewhere back in the comments..someone was sayin that speech was a "fine motor skill" Could y'all cite that?

  61. April 24, 2010 2:00 am

    >Louise, we have like minds; I was writing a new post while you were writing this, and we both noted the same woo treatments. Of course, between you, me, Thelma and Kathleen, we've been knee deep in the woo for a while now. :-) the new commentators, please feel free to continue comments here or to come on up to the new post, maybe look around a little more on your way up to the new one. It might help you avoid the silliness of suggesting I operate out of fear and that whole question of who I am.

  62. April 24, 2010 2:57 am

    >Kim,I left volunteering at HALO because I needed to make some money to help with family finances. I had devoted over 50 hours per week during the interim director period of nine months with no pay. I left in November of 2008. It hurt my family financially. I did not keep the books at HALO but I would help with any questions.I don't believe that because a person believes in an organization enough to volunteer that they should no longer be able to post comments from people who try to discredit it. I believe in debating issues, I love being able to speak my mind – pity for my husband. It seems we are at an impasse. Neither one is willing to admit eachother has points.I agree RPM needs research. You don't believe in trying something not proven. I was willing to try something unproven and it worked for my son. Lets just call it a draw. I won't bug you anymore.Really Kim, I am impressed that you kept all these comments up and didn't delete them. I do applaud you for that. And no, I am not being sarcastic.I did look at your site. Looks good and I guess another reason I won't continue with my rant 🙂

  63. April 24, 2010 3:41 am

    >Lisa,I don't delete comments unless they are threatening or from individuals who spread hate speech. I started this blog because nothing happens in echo chambers except echoes and group think. Unless the person is intent on causing harm, I welcome all people to comment.I, too, obviously, love to debate. You are welcome to come back anytime. To cover some of your other points:Your volunteer status doesn't bar you from advocating for something; your failure to identify your position was the problem. You had knowledge that you did not disclose.In addition, when you state we are at an impasse, I believe you misinterpret my position on a couple of things. I am not attempting to discredit RPM. If it cannot withstand scrutiny, it discredits itself. Because I believe in following the evidence wherever it leads, when studies are done and published on RPM, I will report on the results, whatever they may be. I really am open-minded. If you follow the science, if the ideals of coming as close to objective reality are one's guiding principles, it means going where the evidence leads and owning one's mistakes rather than trying to rewrite history.I also recognize and have stated repeatedly that we cannot wait for research to move forward on attempts to improve our children's lives. I'm not willing to put my children at risk for unproven therapies that can harm them, hugely different than what you are suggesting. The way you word it suggests an inaction on my part that leaves my children's issues unmediated, and I assure you that is not accurate.I'm also against people being taken advantage of, something many of my posts deal with, as there are some truly dark sides to the people who call themselves autism experts and promise cures. My oldest is 20, and I have watched the quack treatments come and go, and if I can prevent parents new to the diagnosis from turning to woo, then I will do my best to provide evidence-based information. You're right, ultimately people will make their own decisions. I wasn't and don't try to make decisions for people. I do believe, though, that people are accountable for their decisions.A last note: your name is on two of the three tax returns; in 2006 and 2007, it shows that the books were in your care.So, parents comes to the HALO site, they spend 25 bucks for the membership, 135 for the dvd, 39.95 for the book. They put their kid in the camp (how much?) and then they spend 725 bucks for the training so they can do it at home. How much is the grand total?If Soma works with the kid on a regular basis, how much a session?In 2006, HALO brought in $5600 in membership dues. If it was 25 a pop, that's 224 members. In 2006, nearly 23 grand came in through public support and along with that, the total revenue from the camps, sessions, etc amounted to over $203 thousand dollars. That is, I think you'll agree, a lot of money to collect from parents of autism kids,right around 900 bucks a member, if only members provided the income.Now, here's the thing. What's to stop anyone from doing the same kind of thing? Nothing, and there are enough folks with absolutely no credentials, no training, and no special expertise setting up autism clinics offering to help. And if they call it a school, they can do it tax free, too. Seems to me a skeptical person notes these things and asks questions.

  64. April 25, 2010 3:28 pm

    >"The HALO School" was founded in 2002 as Texas Corp and then filed for and received IRS non-profit status. It's founding was unrelated to Soma and RPM, and at the time of its formation, it was intended to be school.Prior to founding "The HALO School", for more than a year I traveled to visit "best practice" schools on east and west coasts. At that time, the majority were based upon ABA. I was discouraged to observe no real academic instruction occurring at any of those institutions. Nevertheless, I held hope for helping to establish a school for older persons with autism, in Austin, Texas. For months I met with professors and department heads of the University of Texas, and one of the professors of special education agreed to serve as a school director. However, in the spring, prior to the fall of 2003 when we planned for a school to begin, the professor said that he might be moving and thus he backed out immediately.So "The HALO School" was basically inactive (there was a volunteer board of directors, no staff, and definitely no money coming in or going out). Then I went to observe Soma working at the Carousel School in Los Angeles. This was the first school for persons with autism that I had seen where even the students with severe symptoms were given the opportunity to receive classroom instruction on age-appropriate academic subjects (science, math, etc). I invited Soma to do a workshop for Texas parents and educators, and to visit my daughters school at the time, so that Soma could demonstrate how she would work with students there.However, the main point I wanted to drive home is that the person who originally attacked HALO for being chartered as "The HALO School" apparently does not know about the guidelines and the process for chartering a non-profit. But I can attest that, when I was at HALO (until Feb 2008) it met the required criteria as a non-profit. In addition, HALO followed the appropriate legal requirements by filing for a business name change (called a DBA – Doing Business As) HALO-Helping Autism through Learning and Outreach. Maybe the blogger author conveniently left that part out. In any case…The reason it was decided to function as a clinic rather than a school was so that we could serve more students, which would also allow for "research" to be conducted on a broader range of ages and abilities.Soma does earn more than the average teacher. But she's not an average teacher. Why not pick on the salary of a NBA player or maybe a government worker or anyone else who does a relatively unimportant job, yet scores a nice salary? Soma works with the students with whom most other educators have given up on. They bite, spit, hit, kick, scratch….you name it. Should a teacher not be well-compensated for signing up for such a job, especially when the students generally make significant improvements?Well, anyway…. It's possible that at this point HALO would be best off functioning as a regular clinic, rather than a non-profit. Perhaps the scientific genius who authored the original post can offer up a financial plan and the assistance to accomplish that, as well as complete all of the research that is needed.Regards,Linda Lange-Wattonville

  65. April 25, 2010 3:39 pm

    >The last I heard..NBA players weren't bilking parents out of thousands of dollars offering a service that has not undergone scientific testing. Kim, it never fails to astound me the sheer arrogance of the people who instead of fully reading your post decide instead to cast aspersions on both your character and education. Cherry picking comments and building strawmen out of nothing. You are asking questions-bringing up logical points. They just need to be right. As I wrote before, this is a blog for adults.

  66. April 25, 2010 3:50 pm

    >I disagree. Blogging is for people who like to blog, and oftentimes for people who like to talk about problems without actually being a part of the solution. Raising issues is one thing, but being informed before broadcasting an opinion is another…. And because I feel this type of blogging is counterproductive, I will comment no further here.

  67. April 25, 2010 4:10 pm

    >It would appear that by the sheer number of posts-Kim enjoys bloggingHow about blogging to raise issues that there is no scientific evidence about? Does that pass your criteria? "It is a place for people to talk about problems without actually being part of the solution"WTF does that mean???! "Raising issues is one thing, but being informed before broadcasting an opinion is another"Did you even read the post? I'm make absolutely no sense. You don't understand the point of this blog whatsoever. So farewell, and good luck with not being part of the solution.

  68. April 25, 2010 11:34 pm

    >It is so good to know how much a home-grown teaching can worry some of us. Everything has a time to ripe. The ripening time of mango is different from a cauliflower. You don,t need a 'scientist' to tell that. A 7 year old knows. Just like that the research opportunity for RPM was different from others. I couldn't let a 'psychologist' research something based on neuroscience! Could I? Talk Psychology? I can talk too. 🙂 See according to Piaget, the first 2 stages – Sensory Motor stage and Pre operational thought stage do not occur in Autistic people like typical children. However if things are 'taught' – we can go to the Concrete operational thought stage, where a child is taught about science and other topics so that the Classification skill, Combinatorial skill and the Conservation skill is learned. That can make the world less scary place. Children can learn about 'rain' appreciate it as a part of precipitation process and eventually learn to apply it. Wasn't that an easy Psychology? Piaget would be proud! So the goal in RPM is to Educate so that the Concrete Operational thought stage can lead to the Formal Operational thought stage. That can allow the autistic person to understand that defaming is not a good virtue. As to my salary…. Yes, when a lazy person like me works, 10 sessions a day, and when she is not forcing anyone to pay or even come to her, when she has to save for her retirement and for her autistic son's future because he has no one else in the US, to take care of him, not even the social security because he does not qualify for any state services, a salary is charged. There is no pressure on anyone to come. Parents come back if they want and don't come back if they feel that they can do it themselves. So no – I charge what I believe would support the responsibilities.About the letter board. When a child starts to aim as RPM works on the motor skill to aim at the right letter (which is very difficult for an auditory learner) I have to hold it keeping the eye level and hand orientation of the child in mind. I can't be putting someone in water without teaching him how to swim. Who does that? Then, once their eyes are conditioned and less visually defensive to the letter board ( happens when some children become selectively visual -can look at a branch but not the letters), I slowly bring it down to the table top level. Can't do that overnight. It needs practice. Skill Practice. Practice is the key. I learned it from Grandma. I don't need a Psychology degree to know that. Ask old Prudentia Aunt. She will tell the same. Touch A, spell A, practice A. As a neuro-scientist – He will say that I am evoking the Putamen, so that a pathway forms to the Premotor cortex and then to motor cortex. Isn't that easy for an illiterate woman without a Psychology degree? Oooo…look at her! She talks:) But you don't have to believe earth is round. And I don't think I will say anything else too even if you hurt me. Basic Piaget can be tough for Psychologists:) Well, have to cook my dinner now. My son is waiting. I am also a very basic mother you see. -Soma Mukhopadhyay

  69. April 26, 2010 2:06 am

    >Soma,I appreciate your comment, but I’m afraid much of it makes little sense to me. For example, you write, “It is so good to know how much a home-grown teaching can worry some of us.” Firstly, why would that be good, and secondly, what do you mean by home-grown? What concerns me is the thought of vulnerable parents and even more vulnerable children being bilked of money and time that might be better spent elsewhere, on therapies that have been tested. What concerns me even more is the thought of children with sensory issues being bombarded with sensory experiences that I personally would find, based on your sample videos, overwhelming. As an instructor, what bothers me is the idea that you believe you can measure competency and mastery of skills by offering forced choices, one right answer and one wrong answer. How would we know that they are getting the correct answer better than chance? How do we know that your body language, gestures, mannerisms don’t tip them into making the correct choice? What bothers me is the thought that parents like Lisa can state they believe all nonverbal autistic children are intelligent, even though there is abundant evidence that many children on the spectrum are cognitively impaired. How cruel is it to think, act, expect, and attempt to force behavior a child is incapable of performing? As the mother of three on the spectrum, one of whom has a cognitive impairment, I find that absolutely horrifying. There are other things I’m afraid I just don’t understand the relevance of: “Everything has a time to ripe.” And this has to do how with your trademarked method having no research showing its efficacy? You write: “ The ripening time of mango is different from a cauliflower. You don,t need a 'scientist' to tell that. A 7 year old knows.” Our children are not fruits nor vegetables, and unless a child has had the personal experience of growing food, no, a seven year old wouldn’t, unless they’d been taught in school. And it, too, has nothing to do with proving that your modality doesn’t do more harm than good.I assume, though, that this comparison of mangoes and cauliflower is pertinent to your next sentence: “Just like that the research opportunity for RPM was different from others.” I would have to argue that your analogy is not apt or relevant.You then go on to write: “I couldn't let a 'psychologist' research something based on neuroscience! Could I?” Perhaps you are unfamiliar with psychology, your Piaget references notwithstanding? Modern psychology is rooted in neuroscience.“Talk Psychology? I can talk too. :)” Perhaps you only glanced over the post and have not looked at the rest of Countering. Research-based blogging means examining the research that has been done and evaluating it. It is far more than talk. Backing up one’s assertion with evidence is a fundamental part of being scientifically and skeptically inclined. It is a hallmark of the rational mind.You then launch into Piaget’s stages and assert that “according to Piaget, the first 2 stages – Sensory Motor stage and Pre operational thought stage do not occur in Autistic people like typical children.” Where exactly does Piaget write this, and how exactly has this been shown? Certainly there can be some interesting hypotheses drawn concerning Piaget’s stages and autistic development, but little has been done in the way of research. Since the causes and ultimately the symptoms of autism lie within difference in neuroanatomy, Piaget’s stages are interesting as reference points, as ways of assessing where a child might lie within, but if the underlying hardware isn’t there, you cannot teach conservation, for example. Maturational processes within the brain are necessary. And the truth is that with literal-minded individuals, teaching abstract processes required within formal operations is at best a dodgy be cont.

  70. April 26, 2010 2:06 am

    >Thurber et al. (2007) note that “Developmental research on autism has yielded data indicating that there are age-related changes in symptom expression.” They also note that there has been little research comparing autistic cognitive development “with theory and facts related to a theory of normal cognitive development.” Their case study of one adolescent on the spectrum is interesting, but they note that “The question remains regarding autistic social cognitive schemata, related neuroanatomic anomalies and amenability to Piagetian-based therapeutic interventions.”Making the world a less scary place for children is indeed a noble thing. How exactly are you doing that when you press them into a wall and rip paper? I’m also not sure I see how your methodology teaches these things. How will students be applying rain, Soma?You then write: “Wasn't that an easy Psychology? Piaget would be proud!” I don’t think he would, actually. You write: “So the goal in RPM is to Educate so that the Concrete Operational thought stage can lead to the Formal Operational thought stage.” How exactly are you going to do that? You don’t spend a full instructional day with the clients. Who is teaching them when you aren’t? How exactly do you do that? How are you assessing the student? Forced choices between a right and wrong answer? How do you handle a cognitively impaired student who cannot read and cannot process the information? Do you take that into account or do you deny that reality?I have to admit, I actually thought this was quite humorous: “That can allow the autistic person to understand that defaming is not a good virtue.” Neither is taking money from people on an unproven method and charging quite a bit to do it. Exactly how much again? Do you work with the clients without insisting the parents go through the $725 training session?There is no defamation in my piece. It is an evidence-based blog that notes there are no scientific studies for the efficacy of the method you have trademarked. There’s a walkthrough of the public-access tax returns. There’s a walkthrough of your FAQ and the opinion that there are testimonials and fuzzy language, no solid theory or evidence to back your claims. You then choose to adopt the my-poor-son mantle and how you have to take care of his future. Of course you do, just as I have to work hard to make sure my three children, all of whom are on the spectrum and one of whom has a cognitive impairment, are provided for. So, I go to work each day and teach my students. You choose to do what you do, and maybe you do an excellent job, and maybe you make a huge difference in these young people’s lives. But you know what? There’s no evidence that your method works. All you have are testimonials and that is not evidence. Infomercials rely on testimonials to sell products. Evidence-based practices rely on actual scientific studies to back their be cont.

  71. April 26, 2010 2:06 am

    >You write that “There is no pressure on anyone to come. Parents come back if they want and don't come back if they feel that they can do it themselves.” All well and good, and how it works for most things woo. Mercola sells an abundance of products, but it doesn’t mean they work. And I’m sure he charges what he thinks is reasonable, too. Acupuncturists and chiropractors do, too. Oh, and so does Thoughtful House, too, around 400 bucks an hour to see one of their docs or talk to them on the phone. Autism therapies are big business, aren’t they? And no parent is forced to come, but the allure of the promise that their child can be rescued, recovered, do work at grade level regardless of their circumstances is too great to resist in many cases.Of course your methods take time. Teaching takes time. The school system is supposed to be doing what you’re doing, though: teaching. And the public school system is free. You believe in your method, I understand that. You want to help people, of course. There’s no harm in making money off of them while you do it. None at all. After all, they don’t have to come to you. You’re just providing a service. Sounds a whole lot like the rhetoric used by lots of folks selling all sorts of products.“Practice is the key.” Yes, indeed it is. So why does that require a $725 dollar training session for parents? How much is the camp the child has to attend first?“Isn't that easy for an illiterate woman without a Psychology degree? Oooo…look at her! She talks:)” And yet you’ve said nothing to substantiate your method and why it is worth the investment. If you make no progress with a child, if a parent expresses their dissatisfaction with the results, how do you make it right? “But you don't have to believe earth is round.” The earth being round is scientifically confirmed, though, so, you’re right, it’s not something I have to believe. It is known. “And I don't think I will say anything else too even if you hurt me.” Victimhood and strawmen are not ways to win a debate. Evidence to back your practices, evidence to show they actually help autistic children and their families (not just your own), that’s the way to win an argument.“Basic Piaget can be tough for Psychologists:)” Apparently it can be a real ass-kicker for people who aren’t and like the soft woo sale. I think you should contact Deepak; you might have a real future as a woo peddler. I hope you enjoyed your supper with your son. I, as a mother, too, will go tuck my three children into bed and wish you a good night.Reference:Thurber, S., Sheehan, W., & Valtinson, G. (2007). Autism Spectrum Conditions from a Piagetian Perspective: A Case Study. Psychology Journal, 4(1), 28-39. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database.

  72. April 26, 2010 2:20 am

    > Dr James T. Todd's take on RPM.

  73. April 26, 2010 3:02 am

    >Oops! Triple anger! Tomorrow would be better:) -Soma Mukhopadhyay

  74. April 26, 2010 11:18 am

    >Soma,Once again, I'm afraid you leave me a bit confused. Are you angry and waiting until you've cooled down? I assure you, I'm not at all angry and am sorry if you thought so.

  75. April 26, 2010 11:59 am

    >No please don't be confused. Sometimes stress can lead to a lot of confusion and stress is Psychological:) There was this man, who went starving because of confusion! He had a red apple on a plate and a green apple on another. And he was so confused that he never could decide what to do with them. See, confusion can be very serious:) – all Psychology I mean. Stress triggers the Amygdala part of the brain – Grandma thought so:)causing confusion. But I have to go to work now – 'Camps' 🙂 I mean. Happy blogging:) It is a wonderful day in Austin for 'camp'. -Soma Mukhopadhyay

  76. April 26, 2010 1:22 pm

    >Under stress, hormones such as cortisol surge and severely affect people's reasoning and cognition. Isn't that chemistry? I can understand that perhaps from a psychological point of view this could cause a "flee or fight" sensation.Is it like that poor man who simply could not choose between a red apple or a green-so instead chose nothing? Makes me wonder-(from a psychological point of view of course) if the man then danced around the plates in order to distract people from acknowledging his choice.

  77. April 26, 2010 3:25 pm

    >Conducting a quick Kim-style internet investigation, here's the evidence:–She's blasted RPM as FC, yet she has Facebook friends who are FC proponents.–She is not listed on the faculty page for Cisco College.–She posted more pictures of her cats and flowers than of the 3 children with autism she claims to own.One can either follow Kim's lead, and draw sweeping generalizations and conclusions about Kim's identity and validity. Or, responsible blogging adults can avoid stooping to the level of Kim and Kim's faceless cohorts in hurling profanities and ignorance as a means to "counter the age of autism".

  78. April 26, 2010 3:50 pm

    >Linda,I'm an adjunct. There are no adjuncts listed (which is true of most universities and colleges) except in the course schedules. You obviously did not do the kind of search I would do or you'd have seen that. Also, if you had, you'd have seen the interview with me at cafemom that was picked up by Parentdish, which features the one picture of all three of my children out on the web. After the nasty attacks on how my children shouldn't exist, you really think I'm going to put my daughters' pictures out there again on what was a positive piece? If you'd done the kind of search I do, you'd have seen my curriculum vitae, too. Oh, and a decent google search would turn up a pdf file of all the social science syllabi of Cisco College on the net, with mine contained within the one file.Back to the idea that not posting my children all over the web implying something other than my desire to protect them from wackos: my adult son's photos are on this site, but my minor daughters are not. They are protected because they are minors and my identity isn't pseudonymous. My son gave his permission. If he removes his permission, I will remove his photos.Complete strangers, especially ones who have in the past made threats against me, have no right to have access to my daughters' photos. And I don't claim to own my children. That's pretty dang offensive. Do you own your children? Next thing I know the fact that I refer to my children as the bright boy and the garden girlies will be used by you to prove that I'm disconnected because I don't refer to them by name, rather than a desire to protect them. Happened over at parentdish. Go right ahead, go for it.I didn't blast RPM as FC. I said there was no scientific evidence for it. I said it was making a good living for Soma, and as such, there was plenty of reason not to have it tested. Others have said that RPM and FC are the same.You're absolutely right, I do have facebook friends who are FC proponents. And I have facebook friends who believe that vaccines cause autism. See, if they're focused on helping our children, making the world a better place for them, willing and interested in being supportive, then why on earth would I turn down their friendship? I have friends of all religions, too, even though I am an atheist. It's amazing how supportive people can be of DIVERSITY and working to protect the disabled and impaired from abuse and charlatans while working towards acceptance, appreciation, and accommodation.I do believe you've done far better than me at drawing sweeping generalizations. I admit, I am somewhat impressed at your ability to go off half-cocked and condescending. Must be that responsible blogging you were talking about. There are far more damning indictments of RPM than mine. Have you gone to the link I provided to Respectful Insolence? I wouldn't want you to miss out on the opportunity to counter the charge that RPM hasn't been scientifically validated, after all.

  79. April 26, 2010 3:51 pm

    >Linda, I thought that you weren't going to come back? Isn't it nice that Kim has friends with all kinds of beliefs. Questioning the science of those beliefs is not condeming those people. She is simply asking questions. Unfortunately there are some who take this questioning personally and embark on some sort of vitriolic rant. Attacking her career, her children, what she posts. As was stated many times before-This is a blog for adults.

  80. April 26, 2010 4:00 pm

    >Kim can obviously dish out criticism, yet not take any herself. You've validated my point, though, which was that just about anybody can do a few internet searches, draw warped conclusions, and then spread misinformation like wild fire. If Kim wanted to know the facts and all sides of the issue, then she might dig beyond finding a few websites to help build a lop-sided argument for her personal theories.I do wish I'd noticed the "unsubscribe" button sooner, as it's painful to have an inbox filled with lunacy, the content of which rivals that of shock jocks or hate mongers like Rush Limbaugh.

  81. April 26, 2010 4:06 pm

    >Hahahahaha. Linda posts that I have faceless cohorts! Click on her blogger profile. Nothing. Click on my faceless cohorts. Blogs. A history of information to see. Wow. Maybe faceless, but again, no one has the right to see faces. It is, after all, a dangerous world out there filled with people who like to make threats and some who like to carry them out.As to this gem, "hurling profanities and ignorance as a means to 'counter the age of autism'": I think I'll take this to mean you're a fan of AoA, DAN!, woo, and other stuff that is counter to scientific evidence.We don't hurl a lot of profanities here, although we occasionally indulge. But we try our damnedest to make sure anything we put out there has evidence to back it up. You, and your faceless cohorts, on the other hand, hurl insults and don't answer the questions. Plus, you say you won't come back, but you do. Whatever happened to following one's word?I'm going to assume, and I think readers will as well, that if you can't answer the reasonable questions that have been asked here about RPM, its cost, heck, lets even add in third party assessments showing that a child has improved his academic skills, that you have no evidence and are unwilling to answer the questions because you know they do not place RPM in a favorable light.So, your call. Provide some details not couched in inflamed rhetoric or fuzzy abuses of psychology, or continue the invective and loopiness. I'm pretty sure that impartial folks looking for information, when they come across your comments are going to be able to make their own decisions regarding the whole mess.One more question, though. How is Halo any different than any Joe Schmoe deciding he's got a sure-fire method to help autistic kids, so he sets up a nonprofit and then charges what he thinks is reasonable? No qualifications necessary, just a willingness to put his shingle out. Most responsible adults would do some digging, ask some questions, want some evidence of efficacy. If you don't, more power to you.

  82. April 26, 2010 4:10 pm

    >How so Linda? She is asking for studies..and has researched looking for them…she has asked questions. You would think that someone who was a proponent of RPM would answer those questions. But instead you yell about her having an opinion. What is it that you are looking for? It would appear that you just want her to say"hey RPM hasn't been studied..but Linda thinks it is go for it? But because she doesn't say that she is somehow equated with Rush Limbaugh? Are you serious? I mean that in the nicest possible way. But have you actually read any of this? You are biting yourself in the ass with your own special kind of logic.

  83. April 26, 2010 4:14 pm

    >Oh, Linda, I'm so relieved you found the unsubscribe button. Shew. What a happy fortune for you, as you know, we can only take so much lunacy!I can take criticism just fine. You apparently can't answer questions. I know, I know, it's work to actually provide evidence and stuff. It's so much more fun to go on a rant and an attack. You know? Ah well, having found the unsubscribe button, you'll at least avoid having to read this latest response. Thank goodness!Maybe you need to work on reading comprehension and in looking around. Evidence-based blogging is what I do here (and my friends who often offer a post of their own). If RPM is scientifically validated, I promise, I'll be one of the first science-based bloggers to cover it.

  84. April 26, 2010 7:57 pm

    >Linda,Umm… Where to begin? First you must achieve Mindfulness, then Humility.Bask awhile in your new found ignorance, then return and try again.We will be here for you.

  85. April 26, 2010 10:31 pm

    >HALO is 6 years old. ABA took 24 years to get research published. RPM has one study that is near publishing. It has three more in the works. Research … especially good research takes time … even years. As I mentioned before, Harvard, Penn State, Cornell, and MIT are all working on research.The costs to take your child to HALO are:$25 Membership Fee$725 for 4 day camp.If you are pleased with what you have seen, you can buy a book to help you do this methodology at home and at your child's school. Cost $40. If you want your child's teachers to learn this, but they can't take the time, nor the flight to come to a training, you can buy her conference on DVD for $135.If you would like training on RPM either as a parent or a teacher – wait at least a year of trying it at home first – then you can come to the 40 hour training for $725.There are scholarships available if needed.

  86. April 26, 2010 10:33 pm

    >Oh, just realized that it used Uponastar 7 … just so everyone knows upfront, that came from Lisa Helt. I have introduced myself earlier.

  87. April 26, 2010 10:50 pm

    >A day of my expensive camp is over. Hope you all had a very productive day blogging. It is wonderful to see varied ideas, confused minds, some hateful words at each other, childishness etc. Autism is a big field and we are all trying our best to do what we believe. Of course opinions are different and no one is forced into believing anything. What I believe and do today will always be replaced with better paths and beliefs. As Lord Tennyson had said 'Change is the law of Universe'. And there would be people who see what I see and people who won't. In the long run we try our best and try it sincerely. Sincerity is what matters to all. Yes, if time comes, as I said before the research paper would be out. Every thing as I said like cauliflower and mango takes its own time to ripe. So is research. RPM research is taking a longer time maybe because I was waiting for the right opportunity. We cannot push research or rush research. I had to show results only then I could stimulate research interest. Some fruits and vegetables ripen early, others not so early. As my fee is concerned, Dell sells computers and charges a price. Mac charges a price too. There is a difference. And so my labour charges are different from the charges of other treatments. That is what I value my labour. Once I begin to lose getting results, I would definitely bring down my charges and certainly people would stop coming to me. I hope you find something better because there is a great need for children with Autism to be educated and believed. I would go back to my country India, where I belong once you find a better way which surely will happen in time. I tell my colleagues here too – I would stay here and serve their children as long as my work would matter. I hope I could answer better. And no – I am not teasing anyone now.-Soma Mukhopadhyay

  88. April 26, 2010 11:18 pm

    >"RPM has one study that is near publishing. It has three more in the works."Can anyone offer more information about these studies? Who is doing them? What kind of studies? How many participants? etc…

  89. April 26, 2010 11:35 pm

    >Hello Jypsy, We submitted around 9 to 10 students and showed their progression towards – motor skill- going from 2 choices to aiming at the right letters to spell the responses, learning behaviour – how non compliance was converted into positive learning etc. so that when people see certain behaviour they don't judge the mind that is capable of reasoning and learning. Yes, the research is IRB approved. The children did their best through the years and I am proud how hard they tried despite their sensory challenges. Skill development in Autism takes time although we wish that it can happen soon. I hope if things go well, children would be taught and they can be productive members of society. If that happens I would feel that I have put my beliefs and energy towards the right cause. And surely there would be better paths that would replace this. As long as children and Adults benefit- then I would gladly phase myself out. -Soma Mukhopadhyay

  90. April 27, 2010 3:28 am

    >Lisa, Thank you for your answers. How much for Soma to work individually with a child on a routine basis? Are these children being homeschooled or are they being pulled from school during the day and brought?Full disclosure, which the site doesn't do, seems an important way to lend credibility. Transparency matters.Also, if Soma is conjecturing, the site and the way the FAQ is written don't take that into account. Better to be honest and humble and admit the hypotheses one is using and note that they are unproven methods rather than write things that very much are counter to scientific evidence.Make more videos of actual instruction available; if the chattering that occurs on the two videos is not what occurs in regular sessions, choose more representative videos. Make it clear how the students are assessed. Is there a school psychologist on staff to assess the students? Are impartial assessments without forced choices conducted? How is progress ascertained? Are goals written down?Soma,You may have altered your "teasing" (not how I'm viewing your responses by the way) by the end of your second to last post, and in your response to jypsy, but the beginning of it leaves a lot to be desired. I teach three college courses, and I'm taking two; I have three children; I assure you there's a great deal more to my day than responding to one of your ardent and rude supporters. Indeed, yes, there's little doubt where the childishness and hatefulness came from, Soma. How interesting that you found it wonderful.Lisa says there is one study in the works (is that Belmonte's?), and three more coming. You say differently. Which is it?Will there be control groups? What are the study designs? Who is assessing and how are they assessing the subjects? How long is the study duration? What other therapies are being used concurrently with the subjects? How will you control for confounders?These things are relevant.Look, here's my main problem. RPM is making claims it doesn't appear to be able to back up, based on at best soft woo or misunderstandings of cognitive psychology and neuroscience. It talks a good game, but if you know the science, you know that it doesn't hold.If Soma were selling herself as a tutor, an assistant, someone willing to spend time helping students with special needs, then there wouldn't be the issue. No promises beyond a willingness to spend time helping tutor a student with special needs. No invented theory to make it sound all on the up and up. And I'm sure parents would be glad to have a warm, caring teacher to spell them so that they could have a break from working with their children. Having homeschooled my son for a decade, I have to say that if a caring teacher had been in the area and charging reasonable rates, and was equipped to deal with his special needs, I'd have been glad for the break from working with him 24/7. I'd have welcomed it, especially, when it wasn't just my son, but all three of my children I was working with at one time. Do you see the difference between the two things? If you don't, can you explain why?

  91. April 27, 2010 2:06 pm

    >@Soma"Sincerity is what matters to all."No, sincerity has no place in science, you are dead wrong. I am not impressed by your unprofessional comments here. If you can't back up your claims with credible science, better to admit it and say the studies will be forthcoming, and that should also be told to all parents. You and your colleagues/defenders here have been disingenuous.

  92. April 27, 2010 4:33 pm

    >I can attest to my son's acheivements. He was tested every year from when he was 3 until 9. Everytime he scored less than 50. I would ask the doctor, "if mentally retarded is between 50 and 70, what is less than 50?". Their faces would just stare. At his home school he was learning his ABC's ("show me 'A', etc), learning to cut with scissors, circling the tree in the picture, etc. He must have been bored stiff.Then he went to HALO at age 9. At HALO he was given choices to answer questions to real academics. He loved it because someone was actually teaching him something! And – to address your question about too much commotion – he was thrilled to be talked to like every other child and not just spoken to in three word sentences like a dog. There were two choices – how did I know he knew it with only two choices? He got 99% of them correct. He learned 2nd and 3rd grade material in short 45 minute sessions. The material was the same as curriculum at school for "Normal" kids.How did we do maintenance or know he retained the information? The same way you know with regular students … take a quiz, then a test, then teach next material that relies on the knowledge of the past curriculum.How is Mitch doing?(and so many other children I have met) Great! He is mainstreamed in 8th grade and took the state exams just like everyone else. The principal called me and wanted me to know that he received commended marks on his testing.The impartial assessments you refer to are shown through his grades and test taking. I no longer take him to psychologists for testing … I don't need to.Am I trying to brag? No. I am trying to let others know that that … yes, through anecdotal (sp?) means, this methodology worked for my son and others like him.Kim, you seem reasonable enough, why don't you bring your 20 year old to HALO and see for yourself? Soma sees many adults. Maybe he too would surprise you 🙂

  93. April 27, 2010 5:08 pm

    >Lisa,I want you to know that I find the latter part of your comment beyond offensive. First, no one has ever spoken to my children as if they were dogs.Second, my son is verbal. He had a stroke at the age of nine. He is cognitively impaired because of that stroke. I am a college educator and previously taught high school. I spent a decade at home with my son teaching him academics, one-on-one, and before that I was in the school with him much of the time. None of the forced choices crap, either. And certainly no ripping of paper, either. And damned straight no talking to him as if he were a DOG or otherwise incapable of communicating. While he made many improvements over the years and can read, his stroke caused damage that impairs his ability to spell. He has difficulties with executive functioning. He can do basic math, at about a second grade level, but he can also go on and on about Egyptian history. He is a beautiful young man who works hard everyday to do his best, and if you think I'm going to put him anywhere near Soma or any other untested, unproven methodology, well, you don't understand the meaning of reasonable. And you certainly didn't gauge the effect of your words well.I am more than a reasonable person, but I really, and I mean really, find this offensive. My son's inability to master grade-level work has nothing to do with not having the opportunities or exposures and everything to do with having had a stroke. Soma and her methods will get no where near my children. Ever. My children and their education are my responsibility and one I'm well equipped and qualified to deal with. Your suggestion that I bring my child to a woman who has absolutely no credentials that qualify her as an autism expert or an expert at special education, or qualifications that anywhere rise to my own, and piss away money that can better be invested in curricular material that is of high interest to my son, truly, out of anything I've read here by your faceless cohorts, truly takes the cake.Beyond that, do you realize what you've said, leaving that aside?: You're reasonable, so why don't you spend 130 something on the DVD, then send your kid to Soma for 700 and something for her to work with him for 4 days, cuz what you didn't manage to do in two decades of dedicating your life to his care and education, Soma can fix by ripping paper in his ear in 4 days.Really?

  94. April 27, 2010 6:15 pm

    >Well don't that beat all! Your son was treated like a dog and didn't respond..than he was talked at like a human and he responded! That aint a miracle darlin-that's common sense! Makes me wonder why in the hell ya'll let him be treated that way in the first place? Specially in light of that oh so arrogant comment ya left Miss Kim. Shows me ya haven't read this post fully-or iffen ya did-ya don't quite understand what "cognitive" means. The only thing your anecdote proves darlin is that your son had a rough nine years.

  95. April 27, 2010 6:25 pm

    >Kim,I really want to reply to this, because I think you took my last post personally. I was talking about how MY son had been spoken to before … like a dog. I in no means, and if anyone took it that way, please don't … meant to imply YOU speak to your son like that.I also did not say nor mean to imply that you had not tried to teach your son … please, don't try to read between the lines when there is nothing there. I totally understand that each and every one of us moms do the best that we can for our children.I was only saying that you never know if it will work for your son unless you try it. Please, believe me, the above comment I made was not in anyway a slam about you, your son, or how you broght him up. We (us Moms) really need to support eachother. Something we all tend to forget at times. I think this topic has done its course, and that people are becoming too emotional – not that you shouldn't have become emotional since you felt my comments were against you. So once again, I will leave you. Please don't ask anymore questions from me, because I don't want to be rude and not respond.I do wish you and your children all the best. We have chosen different paths but we both are doing what is best for our children.

  96. April 27, 2010 10:42 pm

    >Lisa, I didn't think you could get any more offensive after your first comment about kim's son today..and then you posted again. Do you understand what a stroke does to a brain? I think not. Do you understand what "cognitive impairment" is? No, from your comments you certainly do not. It would also appear- from your comments that you believe autistic brains all function the same way. They do not. "I was only saying that you never know if it will work for your son unless you try it" And therin lies the problem. Too many parents are suckered in to woo treatments with the pretense of-it might help..of course the pretense is helped along with anecdote. Go read from some autistic bloggers about the I.V. chelation they were subjected to-because their parents "heard" it helped…go read the parents who take out second and third mortgages to pay for these treatments(for years) because of anecdotal evidence. Or how about chemical castration? Yup-it is being passed off on parents of autistic kids for aggression-now there is no proof that it works-plenty on how damaging it is..but hey, a parent heard a good story about it-and you never know till you try right? It certainly makes the Geiers a heck of a lot of money..oh but no one is forcing people to go there. As P.T. Barnum so aptly put-there is a sucker born every minute. I don't doubt that your son is doing well. But I question what you attribute his success to. In your own words you said he was spoken to like a dog-till he was nine. I wonder if perhaps you had better people working with him during those nine years-what would have happened?

  97. April 28, 2010 2:18 am

    >Lisa Helt (aka "Uponastar") says, "ABA took 24 years to get research published."That statement is false. It is an RPM rationalization for selling a treatment that has never been demonstrated to work. Even if ABA had been done for years before anyone tried to verify it, its delay would not excuse the failure of the purveyors of RPM to demonstrate its efficacy. That’s how children try to explain away their transgressions.Let's correct the record: ABA is published research. ABA is not like RPM. There was never a time when there was a free-floating ABA enterprise, pushing an as-yet-untested therapy onto the market, searching for someone to test its effectiveness. Empirical verification is built in to every stage of ABA. It is not an afterthought as it is in RPM.ABA therapeutic practices involve taking scientifically proven principles of behavior from the laboratory and objectively demonstrating their effectiveness in practice. Good behavior analysts know that the basic principles work before they test them as applications; good clinicians know that their techniques have been shown to work before recommending them to clients. It's science first, workshops second. Publication now, claims later. When we read Lovaas, or any other properly done behavior analysis, we are reading research or something based directly on research. When we see a behavior clinic, we are not seeing a building full of people hoping one day they'll be proven right. We are seeing the practical outcome of over a century of basic and applied science. The misconception nowadays is that verification can only come from large randomized group designs. Such methods can give very good answers. But they are ill-suited to certain kinds questions. More important, they are not the only type of empirical validation that science has. If they were, almost all the science we know would have to be thrown out. It is hard to fit the work of Faraday, Newton, Galileo, Einstein, Darwin, Pavlov, or Skinner into the group-statistical mold. They knew that proof lay in the replication of objectively measured effects under carefully controlled conditions. A set of well-designed studies of small samples can be better evidence than the results of a single large study. Sidman’s Tactics explains why this is. Even so, ABA is passing both kinds of experimental tests, with many thousands of demonstrations of the validity of its principles in the lab and field, and a growing number of group demonstrations as well. Can Rapid Prompting claim anything like the scientific status of ABA? No. And that’s not, as Ms. Helt implies, because RPM is comparative recent. ABA is the self-conscious application of objective science to socially important behavior problems. ABA extends its empirical attitude to its clinical work. It believes “good therapy is good research.” ABA involves objective definitions, experimental controls, and continuous data collection. RPM, in contrast, is explicitly anti-empirical. Data are neither collected, nor are they wanted. Its procedures contain no protections against or tests for experimenter bias. Ms. Helt says, "Research…especially good research takes time…even years." But that’s an excuse. RMP hasn’t been doing the research; it hasn’t been collecting the data. Why not? Behavior analysts collect ongoing data as a matter of course. And years? Double-blind authorship tests can be done in minutes. A validity study of eight or nine subjects could be done in days. How much time did it take to star in "Sunshine Boy"? The fact that science and objectivity are not part of RPM reveals how little its purveyors care to behave in a clinically responsible or ethical manner. The anti-science attitude expressed on pages 16-17 of the one and only book on Rapid Prompting, Understanding Autism Through Rapid Prompting Method should be taken seriously. Rapid Prompting really does live by these words: "No scientific observation was needed. No data collection was done."

  98. April 28, 2010 12:25 pm

    >But what about the mangoes???

  99. April 30, 2010 2:07 am

    >Group, Yesterday,some true believer parents–one of which is a dear friend–sponsored a "workshop" in Madison,WI. I observred Soma in 1:1 sessions with three young adult clients. Soma used a combination of facilitated comminication and propmted spelling using a letterboard physically manipulated by Soma with no apparent initiation from the subjects. Please don't subject kids to fraud. There are good interventions that can help kids and young adults with ASDs to learn and communicate. Soma's RPM is NOT one of them.Nancy O'Mara,Colin P's momMadison,WI

  100. April 30, 2010 4:12 pm

    >Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your experience.

  101. May 3, 2010 11:32 pm

    >Yes, thank you Nancy. For anyone who really believes that Soma is valid please watch videos very closely, paying particular attention to her body positioning, hand movements that are holding the stencils, and placement of answer choices. She is moving stencils with slight body movements and wrist manipulation that any good con could replicate. She has been observed by Universities and teachers, including the university that resides in the same city, Austin, TX. Texas has plenty of medical schools and universities. I do not know of one ISD or university that is using her methods. Why if she are so successful? Because the Texas Education Agency scores testing of these students who have had answers moved to where they are pointing get 0for the score. She needs to stop handling all stencils and place them on a non moving slant board or flat on the table/desk. One can only wonder why she doesn't do that? A child can be conditioned/taught how to point without the object being moved. But I guess if she did that then she wouldn't get Valid results to give parents hope and Earn her money.

  102. May 3, 2010 11:55 pm

    >I should add that Soma holds no certificate to teach in the state of Texas or US for that matter. Don't believe me here's a link to check. her methods really worked she would be offered a position at a university and asked to teach those methods to students. ISDs would pay her a lot of money to teach those methods too. Trust me she has been observed by those entities, they saw the slight of hand.

  103. May 7, 2010 4:30 pm

    >I also observed Soma working with students in Madison. I saw a person who believes in focusing on ability rather than disability and is willing to work through some rather challenging behaviors to earn the trust and cooperation of her clients. Sure, there is cueing – I am a teacher too, and I think we call this "errorless learning" to get the process started. I saw kids whose anxiety and resistance were sky-high at the start of a session slowly come around as they heard Soma's patient and persistent attempts to engage them in the learning process. I have worked with kids like this, and believe me, to get them to point to a response with a pencil (rather than throwing, breaking or chewing it – or using it as a weapon against the teacher!) is a major step forward.I don't want to even enter the debate about costs, control groups, or whether this smacks of FC (my personal favorite, by the way). I see a person who cares about kids and believes in their abilities. For this, Soma deserves our respect.

  104. May 7, 2010 5:14 pm

    >How does someone who charges a large sum of money on a treatment that has not been studied nor proven deserve our respect? Because she's nice? Sad thing is-that her clients are the ones who bear the burden of proof. It would be nice if they were respected-by scientific validation of this "treatment"Then there would be no argument,no speculation, no anecdote.

  105. May 8, 2010 2:05 am

    >Quiet One "errorless learning" can be achieved without using slight of hand. She is not "cueing" which is giving hints to where the correct answer is she is "prompting," specifically a physical manipulation. If she thinks that is necessary then take the kids hand-over-hand and have him/her pick up or point to the correct response, until the child learns what motor skill you are wanting. She is facilitating a hoax when she uses slight of hands with children. ParentsARE believing that there child is able to do task of the OWN ablility.

  106. May 8, 2010 2:29 am

    >their not there. Sorry I get upset and can't spell correctly sometimes.

  107. May 17, 2010 6:44 am

    >I invite any of you to come visit us in Tacoma, WA. I have recently traveled to Austin to receive training in RPM. My non-verbal,non-communicating son has absolutely blossemed with this technique. For Truthseeker…I have used the letterboard just sitting flat on our dining room table and my son has spelled out words with NO verbal prompting or slight of hand. I welcome all questions and will answer them willingly.

  108. May 29, 2010 5:18 pm

    >Kim, I came across this on the "Sixty Minutes" website regarding RPM. The story was run in 2003 and it states "Scientists will soon find out if other autistic kids can be taught as Tito was. For the past year, Soma’s been testing her methods on a small group of children at the Carousel school in Los Angeles." Link to full story;lst;6 Just wondering if the results of that study were ever published? It's been seven years and I am guessing no…

  109. May 30, 2010 1:55 am

    >Allison,must not have been or surely Soma herself would have pointed that out.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: