Include Our Kids!
Read About Others!
Rohit
9 years old, 4th Grade
Rohit is a bright-eyed and captivating young man who attends Canyon Springs Elementary
School in Sulphur Springs, California.  Like the other children in this series, Rohit is not able to
fully express himself verbally, but has acquired the skill of spelling out what he has to say on a
Letterboard.  He learned to do this from Soma Mukhopadhyay, Educational Director of HALO
(Helping Autism through Learning and Outreach) when she taught in Los Angeles, California.  
The initial success from the therapy Rohit received was nothing short of an astonishment for his
parents.  They realized they had completely underestimated his capabilities.  Rohit went from
being a kid with seemingly no clue how to ask his wants to one who not only made his wants
known, but also created and wrote small stories using his Letterboard.  For example:

                                                                            
Tradition
 Our family does worship Hindu god.  My grandfather used to do it everyday and it was passed    
  on to my Mom and Uncle.  Mom and I bow to God everyday before going to school.

                                                                      
Lion and Frog
 Once upon a time Lion and Frog were up in the forest and at that time a dangerous thing               
  happened.  Frog was attacked by a killer bee.  
 The lion helped Frog get out of the forest by killing the bee.  
 Lion and Frog met in the forest and they became good friends.


Rohit continues to work with Soma by travelling to her clinic in Austin, Texas whenever
possible.  In the meantime, his parents, Jaye and Vidya Dixit, work extensively with him at home
on academic subject matter which they have done ever since they learned about Soma's Rapid
Prompting Method two years ago.  Because of his success with them at home, they recently
decided to pursue having Rohit included in an age appropriate, general education class at
school.

The Dixits called an IEP meeting to take their request to Rohit's IEP Team at school.  Unsure that
Rohit would be able to handle the transition, the other members of the IEP Team expressed their
concerns.  Therefore, the Dixits suggested that their son be introduced to the new classroom
gradually.  The IEP Team agreed that beginning with the new year (2006) Rohit would be given
the opportunity to attend a general education 4th grade classroom for 30 minutes a week with
incremental increases over time.

The first day, as chance would have it, the general education teacher was using an overhead
projector when Rohit arrived and the darkness of the room made him too anxious to attend.  The
next day, Rohit arrived with his aide when the class was well lit and he successfully entered
through the back door and took his seat.  Rohit is most comfortable sitting in the back of the
classroom where he can survey his new surroundings, classmates and teacher.  He attended
the class during Math which is one of his favorite subjects.

Over time, and noting that Rohit was able to adjust, the IEP Team increased the amount of time
Rohit spent in the general education class to 30 minutes, three days a week.  Rohit has grown to
enjoy attending the class and is looking forward to the next step, that of participating with his
classmates in the classroom.  He is receiving positive support from his teachers and also his
new classmates.  His teacher has gone so far as to ask him to explain a problem and he
answered it successfully using his Letterboard.  Rohit takes his class assignments home where
he completes them with his parents who are able to support him on his Letterboard and with his
handwriting.

One of the most frustrating areas of concern for the Dixit's has been their school district's
struggle to maintain a well-trained, individual-classroom-aide for Rohit.  Employee turnover has
made it impossible for Rohit to have the consistent support of an aide who is trained well
enough in his communication method that he can use it successfully in school.  Although at
home he works on subects such as Math and Science, writes entertaining stories, and shares
his political views on the HALO Student Forum, he has thus far not been able to consistently use
his Letterboard at school to learn or communicate what he knows.

Jaye and Vidya are in the process of training his current classroom aide in the Rapid Prompting
Method so she can better support Rohit with his Letterboard and allow him to become more fully
involved at school and in his general education class.  The Dixit's also provide Rohit with two
private speech therapy sessions a week in addition to those provided by the school district.  The
next step will be to introduce an augmentative communication device with a keyboard such as
Alphasmart or LINK which will allow Rohit to type out his thoughts and his work on the
computer.

Thus far, Jaye and Vidya are happy with Rohit's inclusion experience at school.  Would they
recommend it to others?  Ever patient and loving, they respond, "We definitely recommend this
to anyone, with a word of caution:  If your child is not ready, please don't force it."