This systematic review is aimed at examining the effectiveness of the rapid prompting method (RPM) for enhancing motor, speech, language, and communication and for decreasing problem behaviors in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A multi-faceted search strategy was carried out. A range of participant and study variables and risk and bias indicators were identified for data extraction. RPM had to be evaluated as an intervention using a research design capable of empirical demonstration of RPM’s effects. No studies met the inclusion criteria, resulting in an empty review that documents a meaningful knowledge gap. Controlled trials of RPM are warranted. Given the striking similarities between RPM and Facilitated Communication, research that examines the authorship of RPM-produced messages needs to be conducted.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Allen, A. A., Schlosser, R. W., Brock, K. L., & Shane, H. C. (2017). The effectiveness of aided augmented input technologies for persons with developmental disabilities: a systematic review. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 33, 149–159.
American Psychological Association. (2017). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Washington, DC: CBS Publishing.
Amora, B. D. (2012). Nick with Soma [video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRE0mRuj4dY. Accessed 10 Nov 2017.
Anderson, D. K., Oti, R. S., Lord, C., & Welch, K. (2009). Patterns of growth in adaptive social abilities among children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37(7), 1019–1034.
Baio, J., Wiggins, L., Christensen, D. L., Maenner, M. J., Daniels, J., Warren, Z., Kurzius-Spencer, M., Zahorodny, W., Robinson Rosenberg, C., White, T., Durkin, M. S., Imm, P. N., Yeargin-Allsopp, M., Lee, L. C., Harrington, R., Lopez, M., Fitzgerald, R. T., Hewitt, A., Pettygrove, S., Constantino, J. N., Vehorn, A., Shenouda, J., Hall-Lande, J., Van Naarden Braun, K., & Dowling, N. F. (2018). Prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among children aged 8 years — autism and developmental disabilities monitoring network, 11 Sites, United States, 2014. CDC MMWR Surveillance Summaries, 67(SS-6), 1–23.
Beukelman, D. R., & Mirenda, P. (2013). Augmentative and alternative communication: supporting children and adults with complex communication needs. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
Bridgemohan, C., Bauer, N. S., Nielsen, B. A., DeBattissta, A., Ruch-Ross, H. S., Paul, L. B., & Roizen, N. (2018). A workforce survey on developmental-behavioral pediatrics. Pediatrics, 141(3), e20172164.
Chandler, M. A. (2017). Parents want to give their autistic children a voice in the schools, but scientists call their technique ‘false hope’. The Washington Post Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/parents-of-autistic-children-are-pushing-schools-to-allow-controversial-communication-techniques/2017/02/28/1bd33da2-ed6a-11e6-9973-c5efb7ccfb0d_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.c658118d94db. Accessed 31 Dec 2017.
Chen, G. M., Yoder, K. J., Ganzel, B. L., Goodwin, M. S., & Belmonte, M. K. (2012). Harnessing repetitive behaviors to engage attention and learning in a novel therapy for autism: an exploratory analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 16(3), 1–16.
Cleveland, J. (2008). The effects of multiple prompting on acquisition training for individuals with intellectual disabilities (Master’s thesis) (order no. 1456403). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (219949961). Retrieved from http://ezproxy.neu.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.neu.edu/docview/219949961?accountid=12826.
Deacy, E., Jennings, F., & O’Halloran, A. (2016). Rapid prompting method (RPM): a suitable method for students with ASD? REACH Journal of Special Needs Education Ireland, 29(2), 92–100.
Deyro, M. C., Simon, E. W., & Guay, J. (2014). Parental awareness of empirically established treatments for autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disorders, 31(3), 184–195.
Felce, D. (1994). Facilitated communication: results from a number of recently published evaluations. British Journal of Learning Disabilities, 22(4), 122–126.
Flippin, M., Reszka, S., & Watson, L. R. (2010). Effectiveness of the picture exchange communication system (PECS) on communication and speech for children with autism spectrum disorders. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 19(2), 178–195.
Frame, K. N. (2014). An analysis of variables influencing parental choices of treatments for their child with autism spectrum disorders (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Memphis, Memphis, TN.
Ganz, J. B. (2015). AAC interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorders: state of the science and future research directions. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 31(3), 203–214.
Ganz, J. B., Davis, J. L., Lund, E. M., Goodwyn, F. D., & Simpson, R. L. (2012a). Meta-analysis of PECS with individuals with ASD: investigation of targeted versus non-targeted outcomes, participant characteristics, and implementation phase. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 33(2), 406–418.
Ganz, J. B., Earles-Vollrath, T. L., Heath, A. K., Parker, R. I., Rispoli, M. J., & Duran, J. B. (2012b). A meta-analysis of single case research studies on aided augmentative and alternative communication systems with individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42(1), 60–74.
Gernsbacher, M. A. (2004). Language is more than speech: a case study. Journal of Developmental Learning Disorders, 8, 81–98.
Granlund, M., & Olsson, C. (1999). Efficacy of communication intervention for presymbolic communicators. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 15, 25–37.
Hemsley, B. (2016). Evidence does not support the use of rapid prompting method (RPM) as an intervention for students with autism spectrum disorder and further primary research is not justified. Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, 10(3–4), 122–130.
Higgins, J. P. T., & Green, S. (Editors) (2011). Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions Version 5.1.0. The Cochrane Collaboration. Available from http://handbook.cochrane.org. Accessed March 2011.
Horner, R. H., Carr, E. G., Halle, J., McGee, G., Odom, S., & Wolery, M. (2005). The use of single-subject research to identify evidence-based practices in special education. Exceptional Children, 71(2), 165–179.
Hyman, R. (1999). The mischief-making of ideomotor action. Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, 3(2), 34–43.
Iacono, T., Trembath, D., & Ericsson, S. (2016). The role of augmentative and alternative communication for children with autism: current status and future trends. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 12, 2349–2361.
Iversen, P. (2007). The informative pointing method (video file). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7m351faqO7Y. Accessed 10 Nov 2017.
Jacobson, J. W., Mulick, J. A., & Schwartz, A. A. (1995). A history of facilitated communication: Science, pseudoscience, and antiscience science working group on facilitated communication. The American Psychologist, 50(9), 750–765.
Knight, V. F., Huber, H. B., Kuntz, E. M., Carter, E. W., & Juarez, A. P. (2019). Instructional practices, priorities, and preparedness for educating students with autism and intellectual disability. Focus on Autism and other Developmental Disorders, 34(1), 3–14. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088357618755694.
Lilienfeld, S. O., Marshall, J., Todd, J. T., & Shane, H. C. (2014). The persistence of fad interventions in the face of negative scientific evidence: facilitated communication for autism as a case example. Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, 8(2), 62–101.
Lorah, E. R., Parnell, A., Schaefer, A., Whitby, P., & Hantula, D. J. (2015). A systematic review of tablet computers and portable media players as speech generating devices for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45, 3792–3804.
McNaughton, D., & Light, J. C. (2013). The iPad and mobile technology revolution: benefits and challenges for individuals who require augmentative and alternative communication. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 29, 106–116.
van der Meer, L., Kagohara, D., Achmadi, D., O’Reilly, M. F., Lancioni, G. E., Sutherland, D., & Sigafoos, J. (2012). Speech-generating devices versus manual signing for children with developmental disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 33(5), 1658–1669.
Millar, D., Light, J. C., & Schlosser, R. W. (2006). The impact of augmentative and alternative communication intervention on the speech production of individuals with developmental disabilities: a research review. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 49, 248–264.
Mirenda, P., & Iacono, T. (2009). Autism spectrum disorders and AAC. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
Moher, D., Liberati, A., Tetzlaff, J., Altman, D. G., & The PRISMA Group. (2009). Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. PLoS Medicine, 6(7), e1000097. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000097.
Mostert, M. P. (2001). Facilitated communication since 1995: a review of published studies. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 31(3), 287–313.
Mostert, M. (2010). Facilitated communication and its legitimacy — twenty-first century developments. Exceptionality, 18(1), 31–41.
Mukhopadhyay, S. (2008). Understanding autism through rapid prompting method. Denver: Outskirts Press.
Mukhopadhyay, S. (2011). Curriculum guide for autism using rapid prompting method: with lesson plan suggestions. Denver: Outskirts Press.
Mukhopadhyay, S. (2013). Developing communication for autism using rapid prompting method. Denver: Outskirts Press.
Mukhopadhyay, S. (2014). Developing motor skills for autism using rapid prompting method: steps to improving motor function. Denver: Outskirts Press.
Mukhopadhyay, S. (2015). Harnessing stims and behaviors in autism using rapid prompting method. Denver: Outskirts Press.
Mukhopadhyay, S. (2016a). Developing expressive language in verbal students with autism using rapid prompting method. Denver: Outskirts Press.
Mukhopadhyay, S. (2016b). Mathematical concepts for autism using rapid prompting method. Denver: Outskirts Press.
Mukhopadhyay, S. (2017a). Developing the visual skill of reading using rapid prompting method. Amazon Digital Services LLC.
Mukhopadhyay, S. (2017b). Learning life skills using rapid prompting method-part 1. Amazon Digital Services LLC.
Nach, E. J. (2009). Instructional use of research-based practices for students with autism spectrum disorders (unpublished doctoral dissertation). Lynn University, Boca Raton.
Ochs, E., Solomon, O., & Sterponi, L. (2005). Limitations and transformations of habitus in child-directed communication. Discourse Studies, 7(4–5), 547–583.
Parker, R. I., Vannest, K. J., & Brown, L. (2009). The improvement rate difference for single-case research. Exceptional Children, 75(2), 135–150.
Patterson, S., Smith, V., & Jelen, M. (2012). Autism spectrum disorders: information for pediatricians supporting families of young children on the spectrum. In S. I. Ahmad (Ed.), Neurodegenerative diseases. Advances in experimental medicine and biology (pp. 51–60). New York: Springer.
Paynter, J. M., & Keen, D. (2015). Knowledge and use of intervention practices by community-based early intervention service providers. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(6), 1614–1623.
Paynter, J. M., Ferguson, S., Fordyce, K., Joosten, A., Paku, S., Stephens, M., Trembath, D., & Keen, D. (2017). Utilisation of evidence-based practices by ASD early intervention service providers. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, 21(2), 167–180.
Pigliucci, M., & Boudry, M. (2014). Prove it! The burden of proof game in science vs. pseudoscience disputes. Philosophia, 42(2), 487–502.
Pluktelevision (2010). Autism workshop: informative pointing -- section 1: part 1 of 4 [video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03F-Gn7oc6M. Accessed 10 Nov 2017.
Probst, P. (2005). “Communication unbound – or unfound”? Ein integratives Literatur-Review zur Wirksamkeit der ‘Gestützten Kommunikation’ (‘Facilitated Communication/FC’) bei nichtsprechenden autistischen und intelligenzgeminderten Personen. Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie, Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, 53(2), 93–128.
Rose, V., Trembath, D., Keen, D., & Paynter, J. (2016). The proportion of minimally verbal children with autism spectrum disorder in a community-based early intervention programme. Journal of Intellectual Disabilities Research, 60(5), 464–477.
Schlosser, R. W. (2011). EVIDAAC single-subject scale. Unpublished manuscript, Northeastern University, Boston.
Schlosser, R. W., & Koul, R. (2015). Speech output technologies in interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorders: a scoping review. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 31, 285–309.
Schlosser, R. W., & Sigafoos, J. (2006). Augmentative and alternative communication interventions for persons with developmental disabilities: narrative review of comparative single-subject experimental studies. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 27, 1–29.
Schlosser, R. W., & Sigafoos, J. (2009). Empty’ reviews and evidence-based practice. Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, 3, 1–3.
Schlosser, R. W., & Wendt, O. (2008). Effects of augmentative and alternative communication intervention on speech production in children with autism: a systematic review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 17, 212–230.
Schlosser, R. W., Wendt, O., Angermeier, K., & Shetty, M. (2005). Searching for and finding evidence in augmentative and alternative communication: navigating a scattered literature. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 21, 233–255.
Schlosser, R. W., Lee, D. L., & Wendt, O. (2008). Application of the percentage of non-overlapping data in systematic reviews and meta-analyses: a systematic review of reporting characteristics. Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, 2, 163–187.
Schlosser, R. W., Balandin, S., Hemsley, B., Iacono, T., Probst, P., & von Tetzchner, S. (2014). Facilitated communication and authorship: a systematic review. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 30(4), 359–368.
Schreck, K. A., Guide, C., & York, N. Y. (2014). Autism, parents, and treatments for their children. In V. Patel, V. Preedy, & C. Martin (Eds.), Comprehensive guide to autism (pp. 2283–2296). New York: Springer.
Scotti, J. R., Evans, I. M., Meyer, L., & Walker, P. (1991). A meta-analysis of intervention research with problem behavior: treatment validity and standards of practice. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 96(3), 233–256.
Scruggs, T. E., Mastropieri, M. A., & Casto, G. (1987). The quantitative analysis of single subject research methodology: methodology and validation. Remedial and Special Education, 8, 24–33.
Shane, H. C., Laubscher, E., Schlosser, R. W., Flynn, S., Sorce, J., & Abramson, J. (2012). Applying technology to visually support language and communication in individuals with ASD. Journal of Autism and Developomental Disorders, 42, 1228–1235.
Simeonsson, R., & Bailey, D. (1991). Evaluating programme impact: levels of certainty. In D. Mitchell & R. Brown (Eds.), Early intervention studies for young children with special needs (pp. 280–296). London: Chapman and Hall.
Slyer, J. T. (2016). Unanswered questions: implications of an empty review. JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports, 14(6), 1–2.
Smith, T. (2008). Empirically supported and unsupported treatments for autism spectrum disorders. Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, 6, 3–20.
Solomon, O. (2006). The “rapid prompting” Method of communicating with severely autistic children: A language socialization study. Final report. Washington, DC: U.S. National Academy of Education.
Suefinnes (2013). RPM all that people deserve is ..talking about his autism [video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUpfh9KrSQo
Tager-Flusberg, H., & Kasari, C. (2013). Minimally verbal school-aged children with autism: the neglected end of the spectrum. Autism Research, 6, 468–478.
Todd, J. T. (2015). Old horses in new stables: rapid prompting, facilitated communication, science, ethics, and the history of magic. In R. M. Foxx & J. A. Mulick (Eds.), Controversial therapies for developmental disabilities: fad, fashion, and science in professional practice (pp. 372–409). Mahwah: Rutledge.
Tostanoski, A., Lang, R., Raulston, T., Carnett, A., & Davis, T. (2013). Voices from the past: comparing the rapid prompting method and facilitated communication. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 17(4), 219–223.
Upper House of the Irish Legislature. (2014). Speech on autism support services by Rónón Mullen. Parliamentary Debates, Official Report, 235, 9.
Van Acker, R. (2006). Outlook on special education practice. Focus on Exceptional Children, 38(8), 8–18.
Wehrenfennig, A., & Surian, L. (2008). Autismo e comunicazione facilitata: Una rassegna degli studi sperimentali. Psicologia Clinica dello Sviluppo, 12, 437–464.
Yaffe, J., Montgomery, P., Hopewell, S., & Shepard, L. D. (2012). Empty reviews: a description and consideration of Cochrane systematic reviews with no included studies. PLoS ONE, 7(5), e36626. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0036626.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Electronic supplementary material
About this article
Cite this article
Schlosser, R.W., Hemsley, B., Shane, H. et al. Rapid Prompting Method and Autism Spectrum Disorder: Systematic Review Exposes Lack of Evidence. Rev J Autism Dev Disord 6, 403–412 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40489-019-00175-w
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Facilitated communication
- Rapid prompting method
- Systematic review