This year, several of my families asked if I could find out what their kids wanted for Christmas. I was all for this idea – but first I had to create a lesson! I believe lessons are so important – not only does it help the student warm up their motor skills for a nice, juicy, creative writing; it helps build a context and focus for the language. Really, when you think about it, we talkers give our conversational partner a topic and build the details of our conversation as we go. Why wouldn’t we do that with our kids during RPM? Anyway, the lesson covered the history of Christmas and Christmas traditions. Great lesson. Epic FAIL as far as helping parents buy presents but a huge WIN for getting some of the most thoughtful, selfless, beautiful creative writing about the true spirit of Christmas that I have ever seen!
Creative Writing: simplekids.net offers a simple gift giving philosophy. Simplicity is the key to ensuring the gift giving is meaningful but not the main focus for the season. They suggest a gift list of something you want; something you need; something you wear; something you read. Based upon this philosophy, what would you include on your holiday wish list?
Here is what my kids had to say (you may want to pause here and grab a tissue!)
*Note: I use all caps to signify words that kids spelled on the letter board. Questions or comments from me are in italics. Responses written in upper and lower case were typed by my clients on a bluetooth keyboard.
THERE IS REALLY NOT VERY MUCH THAT I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS. THE THING I WANT MOST IS TO SPEND TIME WITH MY FAMILY IN HAWAII. THIS YEAR, NOTHING I NEED BECAUSE I CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING I DON’T HAVE IN MY LIFE. ONLY I WANT TO WEAR IS NEW HATS OR SCARVES. THE HATS I ENJOY ARE SOFT. TO READ, I WOULD LIKE MOM AND DAD TO READ TO ME EVERY NIGHT. THE BOOKS I LIKE ARE EVERYTHING ABOUT HISTORY, ART AND EARTH SCIENCE. If you had no limits and no restrictions, what would you give? I WOULD BUY MY MOM SOMETHING SURPRISING TO MAKE HER LIFE EASIER. JUST SIMPLY WANT TO TELL HER I LOVE HER VERY MUCH. MY OTHER GIFT WOULD BE TO HELP FRIENDS TALK LIKE ME NOW. ~Emma
Something I need is to communicate to all people that autistics like me who do not talk are smart even though we don’t look like we are. I want to have and opportunity to teach others about RPM and how it is possible to speak through spelling. I would like to wear a constant smile to show how happy I am now. I would like to read how others are succeeding in their lives now that they have the gift of community of RPM. ~Paul
MY CHRISTMAS WANT IS FOR ALL KIDS TO BE ABLE TO HAVE SUCH LOVE LIKE I DO. NO ONE SHOULD BE WITHOUT A LOVING FAMILY. MY CHRISTMAS NEED IS TO FIND GIFTS THAT SHOW MY FAMILY HOW MUCH I LOVE THEM. MY SOMETHING TO READ IS A SHORT STORY ABOUT AUTISTIC KIDS WHO ALSO USE RPM. THE THING I WOULD LIKE TO WEAR IS A BODY THAT LISTENS TO MY BRAIN. If you had unlimited resources what would you give? I WOULD GIVE AUTISTIC CHILDREN THE GIFT OF COMMUNICATION THROUGH RPM. ~Luke
Something I want is to help other kids talk using the letter board. This has opened so many doors for me. I want the same for all autistics so they have the human dignity of communication too. Something I need is more compassionate people who will advocate for autistics like Meghann and Elizabeth have done for me. To wear, I would like a suit of armor that protects me from the negativity of others. I would like to read more about others with autism. If you had unlimited resources are no restrictions what would you give this Christmas? I would give tolerance and acceptance to the world. ~Huan
NOTHING MUCH THAT I TRULY NEED. NOTHING I SERIOUSLY WANT. NOTHING I CARE ABOUT WEARING. I WOULD ENJOY SOME NEW BOOKS TO READ. I WOULD ENJOY SOME HISTORY GEORGE WASHINGTON AND THOMAS JEFFERSON. Anything else? THAT’S IT. If given no limits or restrictions, what would you give? I WOULD GIVE MY FAMILY A VACATION. I WOULD GIVE MY FRIENDS WITH AUTISM A VOICE. I WOULD GIVE THE WORLD PEACE. THE END. ~William
SOMETHING I WANT IS NEW TOYS TO SEND TO POOR KIDS. SOMETHING I NEED IS NOT TO GO TO BED EARLY. SOMETHING TO WEAR IS NEW SHOES. MY SHOES ARE GIVING ME A PINCH. SOMETHING TO READ IS NEW MYSTERIES TO PUZZLE OUT THE CRIME. ~Carson
THE ONLY THING I WANT IS MORE SONGS TO SING. ONLY THING I NEED IS A CHANCE TO LEARN THE THINGS THAT KIDS MY AGE ARE MEANT TO KNOW SOMETIMES SUCH AS THE MAIN THINGS THEY TEACH AT SCHOOL. TO ROUND OUT SOME TIME THE THINGS THAT I WANT TO READ ARE BOOKS AT SCHOOL THAT LET ME LEGITIMATELY LEARN. THE THING THAT I WOULD LIKE TO WEAR IS GRATITUDE FOR ALL THE AMAZING MOMENTS IN MY LIFE. ~Matthew
THE THING I WANT IS TO NOT BE SO ANXIOUS. THE THING I NEED IS TO NOT UPSET OTHERS WHEN I FLIP OUT. THE THING I WOULD LIKE TO WEAR IS A MORE OBEDIENT BODY. THE THING I WANT TO READ IS SCIENCE NOT LITERATURE. ~Davis
I very much want to make a difference in the lives of autistic kids everywhere. I want to help EV spread the word about RPM and help her teach parents how to do RPM with their kids. I need to catch up on my learning! I would love to have any family and friends sit down with me and teach me what they know and love best. They don’t need to use the letter board. Just talk to me and I will understand. The thing I would like to wear is historical T-shirts. What do you mean by this? T-shirts that reference great moments in history. The thing I would like to read is anything on audible books and anything someone wants to read to me. If you were given no restrictions and unlimited resources what would you give? I would give the gift of communication to all those who do not speak. This has been the best gift I have ever received and is my wish for all autistics. ~Ben
Merry Christmas from my kids to you and from all of us at Growing Kids Therapy Center! May all your holiday wishes come true! ~Elizabeth, Meghann and Jeanne