Ian’s eighth RPM Lesson


This is the transcript of Ian’s eighth lesson in RPM with Elizabeth, and the third day of his journey into the world of communication. Elizabeth’s words are in italics and Ian’s in CAPS.

Subject of the lesson: Kyle Thompson, photographer

Kyle Thompson was born in Chicago on January 11th, 1992. He began taking photographs at the age of nineteen after finding interest in nearby abandoned houses. His work is mostly composed of surreal and bizarre self portraits, often taking place in empty forests and abandoned homes. He has no formal education in photography.  

What is the name of the person we are talking about?  KYLE

What does he do?  PHOTOGRAPHER

Where did I tell you that I found the inspiration for this lesson? FACEBOOK

What is facebook?  SOCIAL MEDIA

Do you have a facebook account? NO

Do you want one?  YES….(this may be something to consider as Ian is able to use the letter board at home.  I have RPM clients on FB and there are others out there who really enjoy using FB just like the rest of us)

Why didn’t Kyle use models for his photos?  ANXIETY


What makes you anxious?  CHANGES IN ROUTINE


How old is Kyle? .……… *I broke this down for Ian, had him subtract 1992 from 2014….22…..then asked him to calculate how much older Kyle is than Ian…..7 YEARS

Where does he take many of his photographs? ABANDONED HOUSES

What does abandoned mean?  HOMES THAT ARE EMPTY

What does bizarre mean?  STRANGE

How did Kyle learn to take pictures?  TOOK PICTURES A LOT

Have you ever taught yourself something?  I TAUGHT MYSELF HOW TO LEARN…..how?….BY LISTENING

Let’s talk about Kyle’s photographs.  (I showed Ian the pictures above and asked him to pick one that resonated with him.  He picked the top left photo).  I LIKE THIS PICTURE BECAUSE HE IS EMERGING FROM THE SWAMPY WATERS.  IT IS LIKE THE WAY I FEEL.  I AM EMERGING FROM THE SWAMP OF SILENCE.  (Beautiful!!!! Great metaphor!)

Kyle’s photographs have gone viral on the internet.  He has gone from a pizza delivery man to a professional photographer in a few years.

What does viral mean?  SEEN ON INTERNET

What inspiration can you take from Kyle’s life?  EVEN WHEN YOU FACE HARD CHALLENGES YOU CAN SUCCEED

Ian learning RPM

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