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Frequently Asked Questions

Check out some of our frequently asked questions. If you have more questions, please contact ACE directly.

What is Soma® RPM?

The Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) is an academic teaching method that empowers persons with Autism and similar disorders by giving them the means to express themselves through learning, understanding, reasoning, and thoughts by identifying the students open learning channels at that instant of learning. During an RPM session the student will use an appropriate tool for output- through the use of written choices, stencil boards, laminated letterboards, and eventually, a keyboard and/or handwriting. RPM uses prompting to initiate a student’s independent response without physical support. It is important to note that RPM is not the physical item being used to produce the answer, whether that be written choices, picture pointing, a letterboard or a technology device, rather, these are simply tools to assist expression. The goal of RPM is to improve motor pathways, decrease distraction, increase tolerance for skills, communication, generalization, and sensory needs and begin to bring back together the student's learning channels so they are able to reason and apply information in a variety of environments.

How is RPM unique from other methods?

• RPM is distinct from other methods as it is an academic teaching method based upon how the brain works.
• An RPM session focuses on learning despite a student’s stims/behaviors.
• RPM works up to and then maintains the use of age appropriate academic material for students of any age.
• RPM does not require students to sit (although this may be a goal over time) and RPM providers will work with aggressive students.

Is RPM only for non-verbal students?

No. RPM has been used by various students on the Autism spectrum and with similar disorders including verbal and non-verbal students of all ages. Non-verbal students are given a way to communicate their academic abilities as well as wants, needs, etc., while verbal students are given a way to extract the appropriate responses at the right time.

What is the common progression for students using RPM?
• All students begin by learning how to choose and what to choose, through the use of empirical and rational teaching and the use of factual, academic information. This occurs through the use of 2 choices and progresses to 3 and 4 choices.
• As the student’s motor skills, level of concentration, and spelling skills improve the use of letterboards/stencil boards are introduced.
• As students gain the confidence, feel successful, and become proficient in academics and open ended communication, students eventually progress to keyboards, handwriting, and in some cases verbalization.

Can RPM be used with students with other diagnosis or with dual diagnosis?
RPM has been used for students with Angelman Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Prader-Willi Syndrome, Chromosomal abnormalities, Fragile X, Dyslexia, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, blind, and deaf. Parents who use RPM with their ASD child have even reported borrowing some RPM concepts to teach their neurotypical children.

Can parents be successful using RPM?
Yes! At ACE we strive to teach parents and professionals the basics of RPM and how to implement the method in their home environment. We strongly encourage parents to work with their children outside of clinical sessions and to take advantage of our consultation services to ensure they are on the right track. RPM will give families a means in which to teach and communicate with their children. 

I do not live in Green Bay. Are there still RPM session options for my child?
Yes, ACE offers a variety of session options for families that are traveling a longer distance or are unable to travel:
• RPM sessions are held on Thursdays and Fridays for students who live in the tri-state (WI, MN, IL) area, generally attending sessions once per month.
• If you are from a further distance, ACE offers camps in Green Bay, WI where students receive two sessions per day for four consecutive days.
• If you are unable to travel or have a group of people interested in RPM, ACE offers workshops where we will travel to you to hold RPM sessions.

Can RPM be used in a school setting?
Yes, ACE has worked with many school districts to successfully implement RPM. We offer in-person and virtual school consulting services to aid teachers and paraprofessionals in learning the method to utilize RPM with their students. During an in-person school consulting, Erika will come to your school and teach the basics of how to get started with RPM, work 1:1 with students and observe teachers/paras conducting 1:1 RPM sessions to give constructive feedback. During school consulting, ACE considers the specific needs of each school and builds a consultation package to meet those needs. Follow-up consulting is conducted through a video conferencing program where Erika will help the school stay on track by virtually observing their teachers/paras working with students, give feedback, and answer all RPM questions.