The “Rapid Prompting” Method of Communicating with Severely Autistic Children: A Language Socialization Study
Olga Solomon

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of California, Los Angeles

Primary Discipline

The study will analyze the innovative practice of “Rapid Prompting” in teaching severely autistic, deemed “non-verbal” children to communicate. Developed by Soma Mukhopadhyay, a mother of a severely autistic boy, and introduced by her at one of the schools for severely autistic children in Los Angeles, the method involves tactile, visual and linguistic stimuli that focus the child’s attention on written alphabetic and numerical symbols, which the child is repeatedly and rapidly prompted to indicate. The study will employ language socialization and discourse analytic methodologies, which incorporate participant observation and video recording in naturalistic environments. The study will examine video-recorded interactions between ten severely autistic children and the instructor, Soma Mukhopadhyay from the time of their initial meeting and throughout the instructional process. The training sessions between instructor, teachers and parents will be also video-recorded and analyzed to document their apprenticeship into the use of “Rapid Prompting”. The study will focus on the following analytic questions: How do severely autistic children display their communicative abilities? How does the instructor set up tasks and signal task completion? What verbal and non-verbal actions does the instructor undertake for “prompting” during tasks? The study will provide critical, baseline information concerning the communicative capabilities of severely autistic children and, importantly, the language socialization strategies that promote their realization. Documentation of the “Rapid Prompting” Method’s impact on severely autistic children’s communication with teachers and caregivers will contribute to creating new approaches to education of these children.
About Olga Solomon

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