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The Therapy that Unlocked the Voice of an 11 Year Old with Autism

KaterinaNote: This post needs little introduction beyond the email from a Mom who wanted to share her daughter's success with the Rapid Prompt Method with all of us. Some of you might say, "Oh that RPM is hocus pocus and the work of a guided hand." I can promise you that RPM can absolutely unlock the voice, the thoughts, the intelligence of our kids with autism because I have seen two of my own children blow my mind while working with Soma.  And while we have not had the smashing success Katerina has - and I blame only myself for that - I know that my preverbal and partially verbal daughters are bright, thoughtful and fully engaged in the world thanks to Soma. Learn more about her work at HALO.org. And thank you to Hildy and Katerina Gogal!  XOX  Kim

Dear Ms. Stagliano

I am writing on behalf of my 11 year old nonspeaking daughter, Katerina.  On November 18, Listen_to_me_by_rachellove147-d34d13d2014 we discovered a technique to unlock our daughter's voice, the method we used and are stilling using is Rapid Prompting Method (RPM). Through RPM, we discovered a brilliant girl who has been trapped inside of her body unable to communicate and/or show the world her true potential.  With RPM Katerina is finally able communicate her thoughts and show the world how intelligent she is. 

A child that was doing preschool academics (unsuccessful I might add) less then a year ago is now doing grade level academics and has expressed a strong desire to become an advocate for nonspeaking children.  Her writing is her avenue to advocate and is also therapeutic for her.  She is hurt and disappointed in the world for treating nonspeaking children as though they have no potential.  A child that was once perceived as having minimal receptive and expressive language (through AAC devices) is now a fluent writer and she has some amazing things to say!

Below is a story she wrote, please consider publishing it and help her advocate for nonspeaking individuals. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns,

Sincerely,

Hildy Gogal

The Voice by Katerina Gogal

Once upon a time there lived a girl named Katerina. She was very beautiful and so sad, no one could communicate with her because she had no speech.  Katerina's voice was trapped inside her head. She was brilliant but everyone treated her like she was stupid. Not having speech was harmful, she was perceived as not having any language, oh how wrong they all were.  Language and speech are not the same! Katerina developed such anger, so many insensitive cruel people said such horrible things about the girl in front of her, thinking she did not understand.  People who were suppose to educate the girl did not believe she had any potential.  Such a sad life the girl had and oh how lonely. Imagine a world where you have no one but yourself to connect with, how many people could survive? Katerina did.  Katerina learned to communicate her thoughts through RPM. Some people still doubted her, fools. RPM gave Katerina the strength and drive to find a voice.  She yearned to find a way to show the world how smart she was. She needed speech to show them. On Halloween night, Katerina woke up with a brilliant plan, she was going to make a magic potion that would allow all the words in her head to spill out of her mouth. She jumped out of bed, lite a candle for some light and scrambled around her bedroom frantically for her book on magic potions. Where did she last see it? Yes, under her bed! Katerina pulled out the book and turned to the drink some speech potion page.



Katerina carefully read the directions, this recipe looked yummy. She quietly went downstairs and gathered her ingredients, sugar, water, fresh lemons and food coloring.  She ran up to her room, mixed the ingredients together while saying the magic words     " talk! speech, turn on" , she said the magic words in her head three times and then gulped down the drink that looked like pink lemonade and smelled like sour lemons. The potion was wet and smooth and even more delicious then Katerina could ever imagine. Puffs of steam came out of her mouth and ears. Did it work? Katerina was not sure at first but then all of a sudden she felt different. Katerina opened her mouth and out spilled such beautiful words! Ecstatic to hear speech come out of her mouth, Katerina frantically began labeling everything in her room. She was excited and wanted her parents to hear her speech too.

Her parents were in a deep sleep, she gently nudged her mom and waited for her mom to wake up. When mom woke up, she looked at Katerina and asked "what's wrong Katerina?" Katerina smiled and said "nothing is wrong mom; things couldn't be better!"  Mom jumped out of bed and turned on the lights. She hugged Katerina and burst into tears. Dad woke up and said "what is going on?" Katerina began talking and now dad was speechless. The world seemed perfect and no one doubted Katerina's intellect.

Katerina made it her life's mission to give voices to all non-speaking kids, she never wanted any child to be treated as cruelly as she had been. Non speaking kids are underestimated by the world! Going to bed that night Katerina realized advocating for non-speaking kids was necessary and could be accomplished with speech, a letterboard or a keyboard. To say speech is better then a letterboard is wrong, a letterboard is a voice! Katerina undid her potion, she realized she loved herself the way she was. It was not her that needed to change, people need to accept and learn RPM and teach non speaking kids like they do regular kids. Now is the time for change, watch out world Katerina has found her voice!

###

Eleven year old Katerina enjoys listening to Taylor Swift, riding crazy roller coasters and swimming.    Katerina aspires to be a writer and advocate for nonspeaking children. She believes all children should have a voice.  Katerina's voice was unlocked almost a year ago through Rapid Prompting Method (RPM). 

Comments

E. Callahan

If you are near Long Island and would like to learn more about RPM, please feel free to contact me at elizcallahan621@gmail.com. Soma comes to Long Island fairly regularly and we have an observation room set up for anyone who would like to learn more.

liza chapman

My son uses an android app called Autism myCommunicator. It works great for him. Helps him communicate with me and my husband. http://bit.ly/1NAk7PJ

Patricia Costello

We recently started RPM with our non-verbal 19-yr-old son, who's standard test scores have always been "less than 1 percentile". After a week with Soma in Texas, we were thrilled to discover how wrong those scores were. Last month we started working with an RPM provider here on Long Island, and upon meeting her for the first time, in a house he'd never been in before, he immediately spelled out "God is strong in the room. No stopping His love."

Ginnie Breen

Katerina,

My daughter, Elizabeth, is a lot like you and she also wants to be an advocate for non-verbal children. She has written a book called "I Am In Here: The Journey of a Child with Autism Who Cannot Speak But Finds Her Voice." You can buy it on Amazon or we would be happy to send you a copy. If you would like one, please email us at Virginia@IAmInHereBook.com. We also did a talk at TEDMED talk to get the word out and Elizabeth got a standing ovation from the crowd at the Kennedy Center: http://www.tedmed.com/talks/show?id=7301. We are all in this together.

God bless, Ginnie

Mary Brown

Katerina's writing is beautiful, but I'm bothered by the fact that Age of Autism introduces her writing by reinforcing the skepticism - that people with non-verbal autism can't possibly be capable of intelligent thought, and that any effort to give them communication tools must be the product of overzealous supporters. And this from the autism community! My son learned RPM 15 years ago, and will graduate from high school next year. Why is typing still so controversial, even in our own community??? You would rather think that people with severe autism are also retarded and have nothing to say??? Please just accept that this is a real thing, and stop giving voice to cruel skeptics who would deny our kids a communicative life.

Jeannette Bishop

Thank you, Katerina. This is an inspiring story!

Sun~Rose

Wow Katerina!

Love,
Sun~Rose

victorpavlovic

WOW, this is always a great moment, not just for you but for everyone, God Bless You.

Shanti

AWESOME!! Katerina. I hope we can read more from you!

Twyla

Amazing and wonderful story! Keep writing, Katerina! All the very best to you.

Dan Burns

For a video example of a non-speaking child using RPM, watch "Autism, Letterboard, & Goldfish" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drYere098uc

Amazing.

CD

Katerina, you're story and writing are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your message with the world and advocating for other children who have lost their voices. I have tears in my eyes reading your story.

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