Some comments from parents who have worked with RPM both in the UK and in the USA:
Dr Prosenjit Giri & Dr Anuradha Giri (father and mother of Ron):
After years of despair and frustration with a non-verbal autistic son it was God's grace that we met Soma on 17 March 2012 and had the training in RPM. It was an instant eye opener - a boy whom the literate and educated society discarded as a learning disabled and idiot, suddenly became a beacon of hope. This is the first time we understood that Ron is an intelligent boy with so much knowledge and bubbling energy who was dying to express himself to us and to society. Thanks to Soma for giving us our little angel. Thanks to Andrea for giving us the opportunity.
The last couple of years have been an amazing and wonderful journey. We now speak with him, teach him and even play with him through RPM. He has already finished Key Stage 1 syllabus; successfully answered examination papers; and started Key Stage 2. He has even shown his skills to Paediatricians, Educational Psychologists and Speech Therapists. He is much calmer now as he is able to express himself and proudly show us what he can do. He even kisses his stencil/letter board which has given him so much freedom and hope of life.
Heather Wood (mother of James):
When Andrea told me of her experience with Soma in Texas, I was sceptical. When she said she wanted to work with James after she had returned from training in Texas, I agreed; for no other reason than she was my friend. She then proceeded to change our lives. It took some time but gradually James began to express himself and his thoughts and feelings. After years of thinking that my autistic son didn't understand a thing, RPM opened up a whole new method of learning for him and a whole new channel of communication for us both.
Diana Eden (mother of Sam):
When Sam first worked with Soma it was such a revelation to us! Sam is 19, seen as severely autistic with severe learning difficulties, we had no idea of any opinion he may have had on any subjects or indeed if he did have any opinion. His speech was limited to things he wants like tea, toast, walk, go etc.
When Soma said she was going to work with Sam for about 30 minutes I felt nervous. I said I did not think he could manage that and he may grab her, pull her hair, bite his own hand, all things he can do when feeling challenged or frightened. As it turns out the "fight or flight" response is very strong in autistic people, Soma explains in one of her books! She also explained it to Sam in one session when he was getting agitated; he listened and then carried on with the lesson.
She took Sam into the room and asked him to sit down as she was going to talk to him, he bit the pencil, Soma did not flinch, just talked about carbon and how our bodies are made of carbon! She told him to sit and listen as he looked good sitting there! Sam looked at her with interest from then on! She spoke quietly and quickly it was hard to keep up, she spoke about South American tribes, used expressions such as "and guess what", "you probably know this", she treated and spoke to Sam like an intelligent young man, completely assuming he understood everything she said to him.
She got him spelling quickly on the stencils, at the end when he was getting more comfortable he was able to spell out when Soma asked "what do you like about yourself", Sam spelt "my looks", and we know he is "curious about politics" and "upset about animal cruelty".
Doing RPM ourselves has been a learning curve but with practice and perseverance we are sure, more than ever before, that we will be able to have meaningful conversations with Sam in the future and more importantly Sam will be able to express himself much more, revealing his true personality.