It’s been a long time coming.
Next week we will be in Green Bay, WI. Rhema will be receiving special training through Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) – a teaching technique designed to help people with disabilities improve their communication and academic performance. I’ve researched it and read about it for years. I’ve corresponded with friends and others who use RPM with their students. And I’ve been encouraged and inspired by many non-speaking people who have found a way to share their beautiful minds through their writings.
For years I thought, One day I’m going to take Rhema to Texas to see Soma – the mother who pioneered this teaching method for her autistic son. Finances and multiple military deployments always put it on the back burner. When Brandon came home last summer my desire for Rhema to be exposed to RPM fanned into an internal fire. We waited for months to get a training slot at the Texas center, but the classes always filled within minutes of opening. Friends prayed that a door would be opened – and finally it was in Green Bay, WI.
Brandon will be away on business so it will just be the girls and I traveling to Green Bay for a week-long camp. At first I told Hope that she would have to stay with the grandparents.
“But… but I really, really want to go!”
“I know, Hope. But I also need to be trained so that I can work with Rhema when we get home. I don’t want any distractions. I’m going to need to concentrate during the sessions.”
“I’m going to be concentrating, too,” she said simply. “And taking notes in my pink notebook and asking questions at the end.”
I laughed. Of course. Hope is the girl who reads Rhema’s home notes from school more intently than I do. She communicates with Rhema better than anyone I know. They play school and games together and Hope is always teaching and always studying her sister. How could I forget: I needed Hope to be there with us.
Rhema already receives a wonderful education at her school. The best. I am hopeful RPM will be another tool in her belt to help her communicate. A very gifted therapist and friend is interested in helping us practice RPM with Rhema at home when we return. There is a real possibility for her to learn to spell and type, to finally have a voice. I believe it. This is an important time for her, and I feel like this could be a life-changing week for us.
Brandon’s parents and my parents have insisted on contributing to the cost of travel and training. It means a lot to me – how they believe in her! My father and I talked about it recently:
“She had another speech evaluation done. Spoken words are just so hard to come by, Dad. Her mouth and tongue can’t make the letter sounds. It seems like she’s been working on “p” and “b” for years… never mind the other 24 letters. It’s just hard for her, but I know she has so much inside, so much to tell us.”
“Rhema, Rhema.” He let the sound of her name hang in the air. “Her name has such a powerful meaning. A living expression of word. I still believe God has amazing plans, great things in store for Rhema.”
So we are ready to go.
I’m so thankful we go with the prayers of many.
“O Lord, I have never been eloquent… I am slow of speech and tongue.” The LORD said to Moses, “Who gave man his mouth? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.” ~Exodus 4:10-12