Tiny Typing Kids: A letter to young nonspeakers

an RPM rapid prompting method letterboard stencil is in a tree with sunlight shining through the letters. Photo credit by autistic advocate matthew rushin.

Dear Hannah and fellow tiny typing kids,

Be grateful. Back when I was your size, no one knew what RPM was. All we had was ABA.

Getting introduced to my girl Lisa Quinn at the peak of puberty loosened the noose of silence that strangled my actually intelligent thoughts. Getting to start RPM with her at such a young age is like a gift under the Christmas tree.

Are you ready for doors to open for you? Can you picture college? All these beautiful things are on the horizon for you.

I am fiercely hopeful for my own bright future, but I am envious of the leg up you will have from starting at your age. I cannot wait to see you make your mark on this world.

Signed,

Trevor Byrd

Editor’s Note: Trevor Byrd is a teen nonspeaker attending Reach Every Voice, a nonprofit school in Maryland that uses rapid prompting method (RPM) for nonspeakers with motor apraxia. He wrote this after seeing a young girl at school using a letterboard to communicate.

Photo credit: Matthew Rushin. Letterboard from Halo-Soma.org.

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  1. “Are you ready for doors to open for you? Can you picture college? All these beautiful things are on the horizon for you.” This made me burst into tears. Good tears. So much amazing potential is going to be unlocked when these kids can communicate all of the amazing things they think, feel, dream, want, need…

    I feel this way about the Transgender kids who are coming up behind me who have access to blockers and will have access to hormones and surgeries. They will be able to lead empowered, authentic lives from a much earlier age than me and my generational peers.

    It is getting better. We have a long way to go but it IS getting better.

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