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Rapid Prompting Method (RPM)

Post Series: Ethics Scenario Archive


Our school has been bit by RPM…HELP.  One parent went to a conference on RPM and has come back convinced that she has been undervaluing her son’s intelligence. She’s making somewhat extraordinary claims about what he is communicating with his RPM instructor, and sort of implying that we should be instructing him differently at school.  We’ve been clear that we cannot change his goals unless we see him displaying those skills at school.  In one week, we now have another family saying that they heard about it and are starting RPM as well and are “expecting a miracle.” I’m thinking about the Bridget Taylor Compassion article, and I want to ensure I don’t get on my BCBA high horse and refuse to listen. At the same time, these families want us to watch several hours of video of the student in RPM sessions and attend a conference too. Obviously, we aren’t willing to invest our time into learning about something we are opposed to.  I am trying to find the words to lovingly and respectfully help these parents to understand that there is no evidence to support this treatment and it may even be harmful.  I imagine thinking you are “hearing” your child’s voice for the first time is incredibly reinforcing, and they aren’t likely to walk away from that.  Any tips on how we can help this family, and what to say to the other families that may reach out to us about it? It seems to be spreading :/


  • Codes to Consider: 1.01; 1.02; 2.09
  • Committee Input:
    • Approaching the topic in an un-biased way by finding the literature of the topic to share with families.
      • Ask questions: Address how to fade the prompts in a systematic way. Is there specific procedure or protocol available? How will this be functional?
      • discuss generalization and functionality of this mode of communication.
    • ASHA sent out statement not supporting RPM (discuss with speech therapist, family, team members etc.).
  • Exploration:
    • First watch the videos that the parents are wanting to show, then have the conversation of effective treatment and evidence-based treatment.
    • Consider conversation about prompt fading
    • Pull in the other professionals (speech, OT etc.) to be a united front/share information from varying perspectives
    • Addressing the community as a whole about communication, provide educational opportunities for families?.
    • Data collection on the student using it with different people or in different environment. There may be other data already collected on problem behaviors to show that this intervention is not benefitting the student.
    • Using the individual that has the most rapport with the family to be able to have this conversation.
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