The summer of 2018 changed my life forever.
I was introduced to Lisa Mihalich Quinn through a communication provider who was working with my brother Richie at the time. Richie is autistic and a nonspeaker. He uses a method called RPM to communicate.
This introduction was crazy because I was living in Maryland and my brother was in New York. Oh how the world works in mysterious ways! I so badly wanted to learn how to communicate with my nonspeaking brother and work with others in this unique environment.
All I knew about Lisa at the time was that she started a company called Reach Every Voice. She was my only connection to someone who supports students using text-based multimodal communication. I met Lisa at a coffee shop and she offered me an internship on the spot! I couldn’t believe it.
After years of being a special educator in the public school system I was finally going to work in an environment with nonspeakers who were using multi-modal tools to communicate!
As Lisa’s intern I had several requirements: observing 1-1 sessions, learning how to develop different leveled lessons, and the most impactful of all, to observe Summer Institute.
Institute is a program that runs Monday through Friday, 3 hours a day, for 6 consecutive weeks. It's designed to give students who type, spell, or point to communicate an engaging and enriching environment that provides a meaningful learning experience beyond what is available in any outside-of-school program. I couldn’t believe I was in a room filled with nonspeaking students who actually wanted to be there and actually were able to participate in age-appropriate activities!
Students were playing games like Apples to Apples, What Do You Meme, Boggle, Scattergories, and Quiddler.
Students were learning about different topics of interest that they were able to choose; biology, history, culture.
And most importantly students were able to socialize with one another.
Since that summer I never stopped working with Reach Every Voice.
Summer Institute has grown and is now offered every summer.
There is even an option to participate from anywhere in the world with REV's Virtual Institute!
It doesn’t stop there.
Reach Every Voice offers Saturday Institute during the school year. This year we even developed a co-op program for students who were interested in alternative programming during the day.
Sometimes I reminisce on that summer and pinch myself. This magical program does exist and will continue to grow thanks to the students within our REV community and the educators who continue to presume competence.
Curious about our programs?
These 2 programs are both starting on June 20th, and we are looking forward to seeing you!
Which program would you sign up for?