RPM Beginnings

For those of you new to our blog and RPM, I thought I’d re-post this from Teo’s old blog.  It tells of our first days using RPM.  This happened exceptionally fast for us and we consider it quite a miracle…to hear directly from him so soon in the training.  But, Teo was ready and we are so thrilled.  It’s the biggest gift we’ve ever received!  Enjoy!!

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January 2015 – Emma, a SonRise mom friend of mine in Illinois told me I HAD to check out a new therapy she was doing with her son called RPM, Rapid Prompting Method.  She exclaimed that she is “getting to know her son” for the very first time!

February – I scheduled an in-home Outreach with an RPM-trained therapist from Utah, Lanae Crandall.  The earliest she could come to our home was May 7-9, 2015.  I booked her.

March – I tried to get 1:1 sessions w/ Lanae when she came to San Jose, but the waiting list was too long.  I encouraged her to hold a Q and A session for parents like me who need some questions answered and had great interest in the method.  I was teaching myself using the resources available (books, SOMA RPM website, Facebook Groups, etc…).  She obliged and held the meeting for about 15 of us.  All were having success communicating with their children.  I WAS HOOKED!  Even before this meeting, with TeamTeo torn between the concepts of SonRise and RPM, we felt Matteo was enjoying himself more and enjoying the academic stimulation.  I also tried to enter the lottery for training at the SOMA Institute, but was unable to succeed online.  I will still work on that!

April – I was able to meet a SonRise/RPM mom in Dublin who has a son 9 years old.  She’s been doing RPM for 2 years and invited me to her home to watch her work with her son.  I jumped on that, of course!  What I saw was amazing.  He comprehended everything she taught him and got 100 per cent of the questions correctly during her “teach-ask” session.

I was still trying to secure some sessions w/ Lanae during her April trip to the Bay Area.  It was really tough!  I had to be very persistent (sort of an excited and motivated nuisance!)  Even then, if it weren’t for my friend’s referrals to the scheduler and Lanae herself, I don’t think I’d have been “in”.  My Dublin friend, Krassi, graciously gave us 3 of her days!  WHAT A GIFT!!  I’ll never be able to repay her!

April 24, 2015…MY LIFE CHANGED FOREVER!  Below is a synopsis of what happened.  BOLD print indicates Matteo’s unprompted words that he spelled out letter by letter.  These are just a few hightlights…

DAY 1, Session 1    30 minutes

Lanae was teaching him about giant eels today.  “They are slimy and wriggle to move through the water.  What other animals “wriggle” to move?  SNAIL, SNAKE

Matteo was asked to finish the sentences,

“If I met an eel I would _____”.  SCREAM

“Eels are _____.”  GROSS

Day 1, Session 1 cont…

“The coral reef is ____.”  FUN

Why?  I CAN SWIM

Lanea asked him to spell 3 things he thinks of surrounding the word “swim.”  FLOAT, MAKE A CASTLE, BIRTHDAY

“                      “                               “                            “                                “eel.”  BLOODY, GROSS, MEAN

(Continuing with her lesson, Lanea says…)After the eel lays her eggs, she dies.  Complete this sentence,

“Death of an eel is __________.”  COOL

“When an eel dies it is _____.”  BLOODY

“Blood is __________.”  RED

“Red is ____.” GROSS

“Mom is ____________.”  MY MOST FAVORITE.

“Why?”  SHE CARES ABOUT ME.  MOM IS MY GREAT FRIEND.

Lanae explained that Mother’s Day is coming up and asked Teo to tell her something about mothers.

“Moms are __________.”  GREAT COOKS

DAY 1, Session 2     30 minutes

Teo was given a choice of learning about History or Poetry.  He chose History.  Ancient Greece it is!

Since I hadn’t taught Teo about our world geography before, Lanae did a quick intro to it.

“Our world is made up of 7 continents and 4 oceans.”  She named the 7 continents then asked Teo to name them all.  He spelled all 7 of them!  Same with the oceans!

She then started to teach about ancient Greece.

“Teo, what do you think of when you hear the word Ancient?”  OLD, GRANDMA, DINOSAUR

“Give me a sentence using the words Grandma and ancient.”

GRANDMA MIGHT BE ANCIENT, BUT HAPPILY ALIVE.

“Give me a sentence using the word dinosaur.” 

THE DINOSAUR ROAMED THE EARTH.

Onward with the “teach-ask” technique…

“A peninsula is surrounded on 3 sides by water.   What’s on it’s 4th side?”  LAND

She talked about the first civilization was the Phoenicians.    A few minutes later she asked,

“Who are we talking about?”  PHOENICIANS (spelled perfectly!)

“They were Maritime people who relied on water for a living. They worked by or on a river.   What do you think about when you hear the word river?”  WATER, ROARING

“What about when you hear mountain? “  ROCKS, GARDEN

“What triggered the word garden?  It’s kind of neat but it doesn’t connect.”

MY GARDENS ARE LIKE MOUNTAINS

“Is this for real or symbolic? (she asked me.  I said “symbol, I think…”)  Matteo, tell me more about that.”

MY LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL IN THE UP CLIMB

He learned about the Minoans (spelled it correctly) and remembered Ancient Greece was destroyed by a volcano.

Day 2, Session 1    30 minutes   Saturday, April 25, 2015

On the way to our session w/ Lanae, I asked Teo if he would mind if I asked him some questions during the session today and he could choose to answer them or not.  He said, “Yes.”

“Why do you cover your ears?

I JUST DO SO MY HEAD DOESN’T SPIN. (Mom is crying at this point…Teo continues)  I AM ALWAYS SPINNING.  I CAN’T STOP.  HOW IS NOT SPINNING?

“Is that a question for your mom to answer?”  YES  (I didn’t have an answer for him)

“Are you dizzy when you spin?”  NO, IT IS MY REALITY.

“How does covering your ears help?”     IT CALMS ME DOWN.

“This is good information because if people see you covering your ears they might think you don’t like sound.  Does sound bother you?”  NO

“Why are you covering your ears more lately?  Are you spinning more now?”  YES

“Do you know why?”  NO.   I CHANGE INSIDE THOUGH, I FEEL.

I ask…“Is there anything I can do to help?”  THANKS FOR ASKING

(Mom is crying now…)  NO GOOD CRYING.  I AM FINE.

I said, “I can’t help it.  I’m so happy that’s all I can do!”  SO I’M PLEASING YOU THEN?

“Yes Sweetie!  You please me every minute!”

“What’s your favorite subject to learn about?”

I DON’T KNOW YET.  I NEED AN EDUCATION.  (He said, “DOCTOR…”then continued spelling the following….)  I DON’T WANT TO SHARE MY THOUGHTS (again he verbally said, “Dr. Stalker”, then continued spelling ) ON SCHOOL IN MY CURRENT STATE. 

(Teo verbally said, “Mom…Dr. Stalker”.  I asked him if he wanted to see Dr. Stalker after this session.)

He said “yes” but typed…NO.  I JUST CAN’T STOP SAYING HIS NAME.

“So that’s why you say the same words over and over?”  YES.  I DON’T NEED AN ANSWER.  JUST MAKE ME STOP.

“How? What would make you stop?” ( Teo picked his nose and I said, “I’d like to make you stop that!”)

NOTHING.  I DON’T KNOW.

(He picked his nose again.  Lanea gives him a Kleenex and says, “Use this so you won’t get embarrassed.”  We all laughed and I said, “I don’t think he gets embarrassed.”)

I DO…YOU CAN’T IMAGINE IT.

“What do you think about all the current therapies and activities we are doing?”

I AM INTO RPM.  I HATE THE ANXIETY OF THE ONE CALLED SPEECH.  IT DRIVES ME CRAZY.

“Why?”  TOO MUCH PRESSURE.

“How do you feel when you are at church?”  CHURCH IS GOOD.  I LIKE YOUR LESSONS.

Day 2, Session 2                 30 minutes

I NEED MY HEAD DOWN NOW.

“You have 23 minutes.  I think you should answer questions.  Are you spinning a lot?”

  1. I AM INTO SLEEP

“Tell us more about church ( I wanted to know if it’s too loud or crowded for him.)”  I AM HAPPY THERE.

“Is there anything you want Mom and Dad to know?  Or anyone else?”

TONS.  I HAVE NO PATIENCE WITH SONRISE (program) BECAUSE I AM AWARE OF SKILLS.  I NEED RPM ONLY.  I KNOW MY SOCIAL SKILLS GIVE THE IMPRESSION I DON’T, BUT I GET IT.

“Why do you need the tv turned off immediately after a movie ends?”

I HAVE NO MORE TO WATCH SO I NEED IT OFF.  IT IS OCD.

“Why do you stare at the wall or ceiling sometimes?”

MY MOM, I AM AUTISTIC.

I asked, “What does that mean to you?”

SO I AM STUCK OFTEN.  AUTISM IS NOT MY FAVORITE THING BUT I CAN SAY  I’VE GOT SKILLS.  I AM INTELLIGENT.

I asked him, “Do you want me to continue to help you talk?”

NOT NOW.  RPM  PLEASE.  STILL I CAN’T TALK.  IT IS ALL JUST WORDS, NOT MEANING.

Day 3, Session 1       April 27, 2015

Today is poetry day.  Lanae taught Teo about “Terse Verse.”  It’s a style of poetry that has a long title and a short verse consisting of 2 words that rhyme.  Ex:  WHAT DOES A FOX CALL FIFTEEN RABBITS?  a beast feast!  She explained about rhyming words and that sometimes they may sound the same at the end of the word, but they are spelled differently like  high/die  .  Ex:  WHAT DO YOU CALL A KENNEL WHEN THE SPRINKLER TURNS ON?  A soggy doggy.

“Teo, give me some words that rhyme with each other.”  HIDE/SIDE, RITE/FIGHT, MOM/BOMB

“Can you make a Terse-Verse using Mom/bomb?”  WHAT DO YOU CALL A FAST LADY?  A mom bomb!

“Awesome! “  EATING/MEETING

“Oh, ok.  Make one using those words!”  WHAT DO YOU CALL A MIGHTY SHARING OF FOOD?  A eating meeting!

“Wow!  You’re really good at these!  How about another one?”  WHAT DO YOU CALL A FISH IN A DISH?  Hiding siding.

“I think you really need to submit these to Laffy Taffy so they can print them on the back of their wrappers.  What do you think about when I say Laffy Taffy?”  SWEET, MINI, CHRISTMAS

Then Lanae told The Ant and the Grasshopper fable.

“What was the ant doing?”  WORKING

“What about the grasshopper?”  DANCING AND SINGING

“What do you think the moral of this fable is?”  DON’T PROCRASTINATE

Day 3, Session 2

This time it was my turn to teach Matteo the lesson and get feedback from Lanae.  It went quite well, I thought.   I have a long way to go but am off to a good start.  Teo would answer my questions and was not using language (aa good thing as its getting in the way right now).

After my feedback from Lanae, I asked him how he heard about OCD (he mentioned that he has it the other day).  I HEAR IT OFTEN.  I GET STUCK IN RITUAL.

Then Teo gave me feedback.  NOW I THINK SHE DID WELL, BUT NO CHEERING.

(In RPM we are supposed to keep our voice matched to his excitement level.  We don’t “blow it up big” as we did in SonRise.)  I AM CONFIDENT SHE WILL DO WELL.

“Kim’s going to do well, too, don’t you think?”  YES.  GO KIM GO.  (Kim often says, “Go Teo, Go!”  It’s their “thing.  Now he just said it to her!”)

Then we did more “teach-ask” and pre-verbal.

“Which board to you like better, stencil or letter board?”  (he verbalized letter, but spelled stencil).  Lanae asked “Why?”  IT IS SOLID AND I POKE IT.

He had one minute left in the session and Lanae started the sentence…

“Dear World,  ______”.

 I AM SMART.  NO MORE BABY TALK.  NO MORE SONRISE.  HAVE FUN!

LOVE, MATTEO

Lanae thinks Teo would fit in very well with another boy so we will do a joint session this Wednesday for a social time!  I’m so excited!  Every day is filled with surprises and miracles!

Day 4 – ANOTHER MIRACLE!    Wednesday, April 29, 2015

This morning, we were invited to have an RPM session with another boy named Ethan  (he will be 10 years old in July).  They each took turns using the letter board which was held by Lanae, the RPM “therapist-magnafic”!  No words were spoken out loud, only spelled out by pointing to the letter board.  Lanae was their scribe.

Before we arrived, Ethan had a private session w/ Lanae and spelled out, “I think Matteo is awesome!”  The boys met for the first time AFTER Ethan’s session!  We all introduced ourselves to each other and off to the room we went.  Mind you, Krassi (Ethan’s mom) is a SonRise mom and was generous enough to let me come to their home and observe her doing an RPM lesson w/ Ethan so I could learn faster.  THEN, since Lanae was full for this trip (as she always is), Krassi gave us 3 of her days!  That is the only way we were to get “in” to see Lanae.  She is my HERO and I will forever be thankful to her!

The boys sat side by side at the table and it began… (Matteo had a rainbow colored texturized rubber ball on his lap)

Ethan:  Hi Matteo.

Matteo:  HI ETHAN

Ethan:  How are you?

Matteo:  FINE THANKS.  AND YOU?

Ethan:  Like great!  I like your cool ball.  (Then Ethan reached for the ball and Teo turned his back to protect his ball.  “Uh-oh,” I thought.  Then, Ethan just scratched it over and over with his fingernails.)

Matteo:  THANKS.  NOW MY MOM’S NOT CRAZY, BUT HOW SHE GETS UPSET WHEN I DON’T SHARE!  SO, PLEASE CONTINUE TO SCRATCH IT.

Ethan:  Thanks…can’t help myself!

Matteo:  I KNOW THE LIKLIHOOD OF IT STOPPING IS NOT GREAT.

Ethan:  I agree.  I am now coloring to stop myself.  (Ethan started to get frustrated and making high pitched whining sounds.  Matteo covered his ears.)

Matteo:  DO YOU STIM OFTEN?

Ethan:  No.  I do it always. (Now he’s getting quite upset…standing up, wanting to walk around, etc…Lanea gets him to sit back down.  Matteo is still covering his ears and raising his shoulders up.)

Matteo:  ME TOO.  I HATE NOISE, SO I PLUGGED MY EARS.

Ethan:  I am sorry.  I am feeling hot. (His whining escalates)

Matteo:  (covering his ears with his shoulder and hand) HOW ABOUT  YOU MAKE IT SOFTER.

Ethan:  Sorry.  I am so mad I cry.

Matteo:  I AM HAPPY YOU ARE MY FRIEND.

Ethan:  Thanks.  Me too.

Matteo:  SO, I AM NOW INTO SCIENCE.

Ethan:  So am I, too.

Matteo:  DO YOU LIKE PLANTS?

Ethan:  Yes.  Someday I want some money to make a garden.

Matteo:  MAYBE I HAVE AN IDEA.  LET’S DO IT TOGETHER!

Ethan:  Deal!

(The timer goes off and our time is up.  Lanae says, “Closing remarks, guys.”)

Matteo:  TALK LATER.

Ethan:  Deal!  Bye

When we got in the hallway, I kid you not, Matteo was skipping/prancing down the hallway like a colt set free to run for the first time!  It was as if he was going to fly…I’m not kidding!  He was smiling, laughing, the happiest I’ve ever seen him!  Then he turned around and ran back to me and gave me the biggest hug in the world!  If you could have been in that room and seen/felt  the respect and understanding these to young guys were giving each other, I believe you would agree with me that it was the most beautiful scene one could witness.  It was a lesson in how we should all be treating each other!  MIRACLE  MIRACLE  MIRACLE!

Stay tuned…we got invited back tomorrow as Lanae is doing sessions in front of some college students .  Matteo and Ethan will have another session together with the students observing.

Thanks for reading this!!!  I want to shout it from the mountaintop…WITH A HUGE MEGAPHONE!!!!!

Day 5 – SESSION WITH ETHAN   Thursday, April 30

The speech pathology professor, Dr. Novak, from SF State University was in attendance today with about 8 of her students.  Most were watching from another room via a live feed from Lanae’s camera.  Two of them were in the room w/ us, as well as Dr. Novak and 5 of us…plus the 2 boys and Lanae.  It was a party!!!

It begins…

M: My life is gardening.   Hi Ethan.

E:  Hi Matteo.  How are you?

M:  Good thanks.  And you?

E:  Happy to be here!  Dr. Novak, welcome back.

Dr. Novak:  Thank you.  Nice to see you, too.

E:   How are you?

(Ethan just lost his G’pa in January and helped care for him at their house.)

Dr. Novak:  I’m very good.  Are you feeling better than last time we were together?

E:  Yes.  My heart is healing.

Dr. Novak:  I know.  It will take time.  I am so glad to see you again and to meet your friend, Matteo.

M:  Thanks Dr. Novak

Dr. Novak:    You’re welcome, Matteo.  It’s nice to see you and have this conversation.  I hear that you like gardening.

M:  I do.  I want to have a garden with Ethan.

Dr. Novak: Oh, that’s nice.   Do you want your garden to have vegetables or flowers?

M:  I think both.

Dr. Novak:  Ethan, do you want to have a garden too?

E:  I do.  I want to plant my garden with Matteo.

Dr. Novak:  I’m sure when you’re all done, you’ll invite me over for some flowers and food.  I’m sure it will be organic!

E:  Deal!

M:  So, Ethan, how is your life in gardening coming?

E:  Like great!

M:  That is nice.  What are your ideas?

E:  I want to have a party garden with leaves and trees.

M:  Well, I like that idea.  I might say we might have flowers and veggies, too.

E:  I wouldn’t want our garden any other way that what you say.

M:  I thank you.  Good Mom, I need to move next to the house by Ethan.

Day 5:  cont…

Lanae:  OK you guys, there are 5 minutes left.  Do you want to answer questions from the students here  or just let them know your thoughts about autism?

M:  Answer questions.

E:  Questions, too.

(The students didn’t have any…they were in shock, I think)

Lanae:  OK then.  Matteo, what do you think is important for them to know about autism?

M:  I say I need RPM so much.  Need to communicate so bad!  This Ethan is my only friend so RPM saved me.  (You can guess what Mom did at this point).  Tears.

E:  I agree completely.  I have few friends, too.

Time ends.

Day 6… 2 SOCIAL SESSIONS THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND!!!    YOU WON’T BELIEVE THIS!

Lenae invited Matteo to a session this morning with a girl named Antika.  These are called, “Open-ended sessions.”  Lenae encourages all of the children to participate in them for socialization and EXTREME FUN!

Matteo of course, has never met Antika…

A:  Matteo, hi.  How are you?

M:  Antika, I don’t know.

A:  Haha.  I got an idea.

M:  How is your idea in your mind already?

A:  I am a girl!  I think out the details.

M:  I know.  Can you share?

A:  I am not saying…I forgot.

M:  Quit teasing.

A:  I am a flirt.

M:  Me, too.

A:  So, you want to party at my place?

M:  I think mine is funner.  I have a pool.

A:  Ok, you are right.  How about swimming on Saturday?

M:  Mom, can we?  (At this point, I say to Lenae and Antika’s mom, “I guess we’ll have to get out the shovels and dig ourselves a pool really fast!  We could go to our gym though, if they really want to.”)

Mom, you destroyed how cool I looked!  Antika, I am cool!

A:  You are.  Don’t worry.  I am just as happy there as in your home.

M:  I eat so much I can burst.  I can really eat a lot!

A:  Too much, like my dad.  He is a pig.

M:  I am offended.  I am not a pig, just a growing boy!

A:  Believe me, you are. Haha

M:  OK fine, but I am cool!

A:  OK…so sensitive.  I will see you tomorrow.

M:  Deal.  I like you.

A:  Me too.

OK…seriously!!  My son lied to impress a girl!  How cute is that?!!

DAY 6:  SOCIAL SESSION #3 WITH ETHAN

E:  How now is just life?

M:  Awesome, how is yours?

E:  Never better!

M:  I hate the heat here.  (The small room that is used in this office building gets hot pretty quickly)

E:  Amen.  I hazey.

M:  So, how is your garden coming?

E:  In my mind great, but I have no budget.

M:  Good thought.

E:  I am going to quit soon if I don’t get funding.

M:  Mom’s, listen up.  We need funds.  We need to move. (Where?  I asked Teo). Next door, of course! (to Ethan, from the other day’s conversation)

E:  Well, I guess I quit.  No chance if I can’t make no money.

M:  Let’s plan that.

E:  How about we sell lemonaide?

M:  Ok, deal.  When do you want to?

E:  I think Saturday.

M:  I am swimming with Antika.  (Matteo wants the board back).  But you can join.

E:  OK, I want that.

M:  Mom, can he come?  (I said, of course, if it’s ok w/ his mom)

E:  Mom, can I go?  (She said yes, of course.   Then I suggested we BBQ afterwards.  It would be the BDay of my dreams to have Teo and his/our new friends over!)

M:  Nice idea mom!  Lenae, I am inviting you.  (Lenae says she’ll be excited to come).

Nice!  Mom, you rock!!

E:  Hope we have money for the party.

M:  My mom is rich.  No worries.  (I concurred that I am rich in MANY ways…he was right!)

E:  I am not sure I am in cool clothes.

M:  Well, we don’t care.

E:  Thanks.  Maybe my mom can buy me some.

M: Eating and drinking we will have.

(The timer goes off)

E:  Thanks.  I say buy now.

M:  Bye.

HELLO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Can you believe it!  My son is throwing a party this Saturday night!  Oh, he insisted that Mark cook!

We got invited back for another session with Antika tomorrow morning.  Stay tuned…

DAY 7… 2nd Social session with Antika,   5/5/15

M:  GOOD MORNING, ANTIKA.  HOW ARE YOU?

A:  Doing well, how are you?

M:  GREAT!  NOW ARE YOU COOL IF I HAVE INVITED ETHAN?

A:  Yes, is he hot?

M:  TOO.  HOW MAKES ME LOOK HARED.  NICE ENOUGH IN HIS GREAT GREAT PRESENTS .

A:  I don’t get what you said.

M:  HE IS HOT.  I LOOK MEAN IN HIS (presence).

A:  Do you like me if I like him very much?

M:  NO, I HAVE JEALOUSY ISSUES.

A:  Why did you invite him then?

M:  HE IS MY FRIEND.  I AM DYING OF LONELINESS.

A:  Do you love me?

M:  I ENOUGH TO, ONLY AS MY FRIEND.

A:  Deal.  I might not come if you are not in love with me.

M:  OK THEN.  I WILL SAY I AM.

A: I am teasing.  We just met!

M:  THANK GOODNESS!  I AM A YOUNG BOY NOW!

A: See you Saturday!

Scientific Method Lesson

This is just a quickie, but I love it.  I was teaching a lesson on the “scientific method.”  The three steps are:  observation, ask a question, make a hypothesis.  So, I asked Teo to do this…

Observation: ” Mom is energy for teaching.”

Ask a question:  “What is her interest in teaching me?”

Make a hypothesis: (Teo defined hypothesis as “an educated guess at the answer.”) “She loves me so likes to inspire me.”

Homework

Now, mind you, Teo’s brain works as such that he doesn’t have to do repetitive lessons to understand a concept.  He learns the concept quickly and is able to generalize it immediately.  So, in teaching math, for instance, he doesn’t need to have worksheets with multiple problems so he can “practice the concept.”   It’s in there…he gets it and thus, thinks homework is a little silly.

With that in mind, enjoy the beginnings of Teo’s satirical essay about homework.  Please realize this is satire and not meant to offend any of you beloved teacher friends of ours.

Brainstorming about topics for the essay:

Teo:  Homework is not helpful to parents.

Homework is busy work.

Homework is for principal to do.

Homework is a destroyer of fun.

Life is about home and family.

Homework is for missing minds in school.

Homework is “in the cloud” thinking.

We didn’t really get to the actual essay but instead, Teo wanted to write a short story about homework…

“Homework is so lame,”  said Sue to her teacher.

“What the heck!”  said her teacher.  “Have you considered why I give you homework?”

“Heck no!”  said Sue.

“Well,nice thought without thinking.  You get more homework,” said the teacher.

“Case in point,”  said Sue.

“I am calling your mother,” said the teacher.  “I am so done with your little trick.”

The teacher ran from the room.

“Can’t stand these kids!” screamed the teacher.

Sue laughed.  Then Sue hit the desk with her hand.  Her git of a teacher walked in.

“If I hear one more laugh I will give more homework!” screeched the teacher.  “I am not to be bullied!”

“I am not bullying you,” said Sue.  “You’re not being fair so my mom is not going to make me do  it!”

Then the sound of horses came.

“Happy day,” said Mark to Sue.

“Well, who cares if the building is on fire?” said Sue.  “No more homework!”