First I should say a few words about the Rapid Prompting Method. It was developed by Soma Mukhopadhyay, (see her website here) the mother of an autistic boy. It is based on using a letter board that the student uses to spell out the words he wants to say. The rapid prompting part is that the teacher prompts the student to quickly find the next letter by touch, or voice, or nudge, or noise, or whatever stimulus she has found that the student reacts to. The idea is to establish a rhythm that keeps the communication flow going, and definitely not to do the pointing for the student. Another aspect of the method is that the pointing practice is done with challenging academic material rather than mindless spelling exercises. Therefore in her work with Ian, the teacher Elizabeth (see her website here) uses topics like “Confucianism”, “photography”, “astronomy”, “humanism”, “Emily Dickinson”, etc. She gives a brief introduction to the topic and then asks Ian questions about it. The following is an example from the session on Confucianism:
…Confucius taught anyone who was eager to learn. His ideas, called Confucianism, stress the need to develop responsibility and moral character through rigid rules of behavior.
How was Confucius different as an educator? HE TAUGHT ANYONE WHO WANTED TO LEARN
What were the principles of Confucianism? STRICT RULES OF BEHAVIOR
Confucianism is not, properly speaking, a religion; it’s a way of behaving, so you’ll do the right things.
How does philosophy differ from religion? SECULAR VERSUS RELIGIOUS
The most important things to Confucius were peace and order. Why do you think peace and order are important for a society? FOR SOCIETY TO WORK PEOPLE OR GROUPS NEED TO GET ALONG
What is your role in society? MY ROLE IS TO TEACH OTHERS ABOUT AUTISM ESPECIALLY NONVERBAL PEOPLE…..