RPM changes life of teen with autism

iPadStaten Island, N.Y. — Nick D’yAmora, a 17-year-old with autism from Staten Island in New York, has been living most of his life unable to communicate.

It was in 2010 that his life started changing, because it was in that year that he and his family learned about the Rapid Prompting Method (RPM).

One day, Nick and his mother, Barbara, went to hear one lady speak about how her child, who has autism and is non-verbal, is able to communicate with her through his iPad. The child even communicated with the audience using the same device.

It gave both Nick and Barbara new hope. Nick’s mom told:

“I left that day so full of hope. This can be my son, this can be his path, we are going to change the course of his autism.”

RPM is a method wherein students are required to give prompt responses after their teachers provide them with certain informations. The students’ responses are expected to evolve gradually, which start from picking answers, to pointing at them, and then eventually to actually typing and writing them. Later on in the program, students are finally able to use Alphabet cards or gadgets like iPads to spell out words as they communicate with other people.

Later that year, Barbara decided to bring Nick to the Halo Clinic in Texas to learn RPM, which was created by Soma Mukhopadhyay initially as a means to communicate with her son, who has autism.

It took Nick a year and a half to finally be able to communicate with his family, but it was worth all the hard work and patience.

Nick has been named one of the top ranking in Staten Island’s most inspirational islander poll by The Advance.

He even graced an interview with SI Live by communicating through his iPhone and alphabet cards, with the help of his Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS) mentor Sue Cannella. He told:

“I am so honored and I thank all who voted.”

When asked about what he has to say about the RPM, he said:

“It brought me out of my autism world. I can finally communicate with the world.”

Nick added that his life mission now is to help other non-verbals like him communicate.

His mom, who was formerly a Department of Education special education teacher and a founding member of a nonprofit organization called GRACE Foundation, said:

“It’s so important parents and teachers know they (autistic children) are in there, but we have to help get them out.”

Source: Kiawana Rich: SI Live: Inspirational Islander Nick D’Amora doesn’t let autism hold him back