My name is Rhema and I am autistic. I was trapped in silence for twelve years. My autistic body would not obey my intelligent mind. To be totally stuck in your own head is a nightmare. Sometimes I hurt myself and did destructive things because I was so absolutely frustrated. The one hope I had was one day that I would have a voice bigger than I could imagine.
My mother took me to learn RPM and this was the moment I was sure I would be able to speak one day. It took a lot of work but I learned to make my finger point on my letterboard and keyboard and I learned to also listen to the letters in my head.
Now I am able to share my thoughts. Now I am able to study strong subjects in school. Now I have two friends that I can talk to. Now I have education opportunities I never had before.
Imagine how disheartening it is to hear that your organization would say that my means of communication is not valid and is even harmful. How can you say that I am not the author of my own thoughts just because I need support? How can you say that the thing that has freed me from a prison of silence is a hoax? I hope you will reconsider your position. I hope you will not jeopardize the chances of others to have their voices heard. I hope you will listen.
The proposed policy on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) can be read here.
Powerful letters from other non-speaking autistic advocates in response to ASHA’s position statement:
Open Letter to ASHA on RPM – Laura Nadine
An Open Letter to ASHA – Philip Reyes
Response to ASHA proposed position statement in FC and RPM – Niko Boskovic
Open Letter to ASHA – Dare to Listen
Letter to ASHA – Jordyn Pallett
To contact ASHA and voice your support for RPM, you can write or email:
ASHA Board of Ethics: firstname.lastname@example.org
ASHA Governance: email@example.com
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Attn: Board of Directors
2200 Research Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20850-3289 USA