Our leadership inspires us to move forward and make sure we are on the right track!
Ross Spenser Garsson
HALO President of the Board
Ross Spencer Garsson is a member of Dickinson Wright PLLC (Austin office) in its intellectual property section. He has more than 25 years of experience practicing intellectual property and technology law. He earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and his B.A. in Mathematics (both cum laude) from Rice University and his J.D. (with honors) from the University of Texas School of Law, Austin.
Ross practices on Intellectual Property litigation, patent prosecution, and intellectual portfolio management in areas including chemical, nanotechnology, semiconductor, computer technologies, and medical devices.
Ross has litigated numerous intellectual property disputes in State and Federal district courts, the U.S. court appeals, and the U.S. International Trade Commission. Before law school, he worked as an engineer at Standard Oil/BP.
He is a Founding Master of the Barbara Jordan American Inn Of Court. He is on the advisory board of Rice Alliance and is on the Board of Directors at HALO (Helping Autism through Learning and Outreach) as well as the ACE Academy.
Ross is the father of Hunter. Hunter has been coming to HALO for over a decade.
Executive Director and creator of RPM (Rapid Prompting Method)
Soma Mukhopadhyay lived in India until 2001, homeschooling her autistic son Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay. Since speech-communication was not easy for Tito, she taught him how to spell on a typewriter, later on a computer, as well as handwrite independently. Soma and Tito were featured in a BBC documentary "Tito's Story." By then Tito aged 11 had already handwritten a book Beyond the Silence which was published by the National Autistic Society (UK).
The Cure Autism Now Foundation invited Tito and Soma to the USA after they watched the BBC documentary. The parent members of the organization asked Soma to try her teaching method on their children. The success of her teaching technique on seven non-speaking and two selectively-speaking students with autism earned her a fellowship to implement her technique with other students in Los Angeles. Her work was featured in the "60 Minutes" television program and Soma’s technique began to be called the Rapid Prompting Method (RPM).
The popularity of RPM began to grow and parents developed HALO, offering Soma a full-time work environment. Soma continues to offer her services through HALO camps, workshops and training for teachers and parents.
Soma and Tito have been featured in the BBC documentary and "60 Minutes," as well as CNN, the HBO documentary "A Mother’s Courage,"
National Geographic Magazine, Scientific American, People Magazine, and The New York Times.
Soma has a B.S. in Chemistry (honors), M.S. in Inorganic Chemistry, and B.Ed. in Education.
She is on the advisory board of the "Talk School" in Pennsylvania.
Amy Campbell holds her Bachelor’s Degree in Business, with a concentration in small business management from University of Phoenix. She is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Business Admiration through the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.
Amy is the Executive Director and co-owner of ACE Teaching and Consulting. She is responsible for the business and management of the clinic. She enjoys working with families, getting them prepared to work with certified RPM provider Erika Anderson, sharing her knowledge about RPM and assisting the families.
Amy serves as a President of RPM Support and a member of 432 Civil Affairs Battalion Family Readiness Group.
Nancy Parkhurst was raised on a ranch in western Kansas. In 1976, she graduated from Kansas State University with a double major in Psychology and Sociology.
She is married to Frederick Parkhurst and they are involved in construction and commercial real estate. They have two children, Luke and Rachel.
Rachel has Angelman Syndrome. It is a neurogenetic disorder which has been put on the autism spectrum.
Rachel has been working with Soma for 15 years. Nancy has been a national board member for the Angelman Syndrome Foundation. She enjoys working on the HALO board to help the autism community.
Maiyah is HALO’s bookkeeper. She has formatted its annual Voices magazine, a publication of short essays and stories by HALO's students, and has prepared student training clips and videos for training and social media. In addition to HALO, Maiyah has worked in various technical educational facilities and has focused a great deal on the operational management of small businesses.
Shawnta has been at HALO since 2018. She is also the parent of an autistic child. As the office administrator, Shawnta greets and directs parents and students, answers the phone and emails, and manages client scheduling. Outside of HALO, Shawnta is a PTA board member at her child's school and a volunteer with her church.
Parent Advisors to HALO
Sue Finnes (U.K.)
Sue is passionate about sharing what she has learnt in order to help others. Her son Christopher, is the reason Sue became involved in RPM. Chris had autism, was non-speaking, had huge sensory issues, dyspraxia and epilepsy and was classed by the so-called experts as "low functioning." Sue had been teaching Chris using the Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) since 2011, which was when they were first able to see Soma Mukhopadhyay for a few sessions in the UK. This was a life-changing experience – straight away Soma started teaching Chris age-appropriate educational topics – the first session included an analysis of a poem!
Chris tragically passed away in February 2023, and Sue is determined to carry out his wishes that all students like himself be provided an opportunity to find their voice.
Sue was so inspired by what she has seen Chris and other students achieve that she decided she wanted to empower more parents to learn and use this method with their children. In 2013, she created the international Facebook RPM parent-learning group "Unlocking Voices - Using RPM." Using her skills honed as a Senior Training Manager at Lloyds TSB, she helps others to learn the RPM method, working closely with Soma to ensure that accurate and up-to-date information is provided to parents. Sue works hard to answer parents' questions promptly and to create free learning resources/videos for this group.
In the UK, Sue has set up a not-for- profit Community Interest Company called "Unlocking Voices - Using RPM." She hosts workshops and gives presentations along with Alexandra Hopwood, the UK Soma-certified RPM provider. Sue was honored to be a parent speaker at the HALO-RPM conference in 2017 and has provided input to many of Soma’s books. Sue takes no fees for anything she does – it is all voluntary.
Meredith Altschuler (U.S.A.)
Meredith Altschuler has been immersed in Soma-RPM since starting the academic program with her daughter, Chana, in September 2014. She credits RPM with transforming Chana’s life and the life of their family.
Meredith, who has an M.S.W. from Tulane University specializing in Children & Families, taught play work to autism families and served as the teacher of a fully integrated non-verbal autism/neurotypical classroom in her area before finding RPM.
She is the creator and administrator of the RPM Homeschooling Parents’ Facebook group with over 850 members worldwide and also teaches RPM online via group classes, 1-1 sessions and aide & parent training.
Lisa Bailey (Canada)
Lisa Bailey began teaching her son Fox with RPM in May 2014. She was looking for a new educational method geared towards non-verbal autistic students which would not be focused on extinguishing behaviors or repeatedly drilling basic skills. That year, Lisa travelled to HALO with her son to do a 4-day camp with Soma and found what she was looking for and so much more. RPM was completely transformational. It not only improved Fox's quality of life, but also that of their whole family.
As Lisa’s passion about RPM grew, she wanted to help others also achieve success with it. So in 2016, she became a certified RPM Practitioner and in 2018 she co-founded RPM Connections. She now works with students all over Ontario. Lisa is also a moderator of the RPM Homeschooling Parents’ Facebook group, its mission is to help parents learn how to do RPM at home with their children. RPM — which Soma continues to develop and innovate — is a perfect match for Lisa’s belief in lifelong learning and growth.
Donna Shank (U.S.A.)
Donna has a M.A. in International Public Administration (Middlebury Institute of International Studies, CA) and a B.A. in Psychology (University of Notre Dame, IN).
Donna Shank has two boys and has been an RPM parent since 2014 working with her son, Ryan (now 21,) and hosting multiple RPM Provider workshops as the Owner and Director of Wings to Fly Therapy and Play Center. After seeing the amazing progress of so many students, Donna pursued her own RPM training and is now a Level 3 Provider teaching RPM to students, parents and caregivers at her Northern Virginia RPM Center.
Donna also founded her non-profit Wings to Thrive in 2019 to build community opportunities for the RPM and larger autism community. Donna is also a moderator of Unlocking Voices-Using RPM Facebook group. Donna's mission is to spread RPM to underserved areas and utilize her languages of Spanish and Italian.
Parent Advocates for HALO
Fabiani Malheiros Eggers
Fabiani is the parent of a minimally-speaking young adult. She started teaching her son using the Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) in 2021.
After receiving her certification, she created an Instagram - @rpm.brasil - and shared her knowledge with other Brazilian families. She translated Soma´s red book into Portuguese, along with two other Brazilian mothers, Renata Bonotto and Flaviana Decker. Also, along with Flaviana Decker, she creates and edits content for Soma RPM's social media. She is also an RPM consultant in Brazil. She created a Masterclass with Flaviana Decker: “Presuming Competence and Intelligence,” and a “Basic RPM Course in Portuguese for all Brazilians interested in learning about RPM. Fabiani’s mission is to spread RPM around the world.
Flaviana is the parent of Victoria Decker, a minimally-speaking teenager. She started teaching her daughter using RPM in 2014. Flaviana’s commitment to fostering a life beyond the letterboard for Victoria, especially through sports, underscores a dedication to comprehensive growth that includes academics and community engagement. Together with her daughter’s extraordinary efforts and a supportive team, Victoria achieved a notable milestone by racing at the inaugural USA Triathlon Youth and Juniors Nationals competition in the neurodiverse division. You can check more at @iamvictoriadecker. She translated Soma´s red book into Portuguese, along with two other Brazilian mothers, Renata Bonotto and Fabiani Eggers. Also, along with Fabiani Eggers, she creates and edits content for Soma RPM's social media. Both mothers also created a Masterclass: “Presuming Competence and Intelligence,” and a “Basic RPM Course” in Portuguese for all Brazilians interested in learning about RPM. Flaviana is also a parent consultant for Portuguese-speaking families and a volunteer to spread RPM worldwide.
Krassi began teaching her son through RPM. Today she continues to provide RPM services as a Level 3 provider in the Bay Area.
Prathima organizes RPM parent workshops for Soma and other RPM providers. She began teaching her daughter through RPM and is a Level 1 provider.
Trinidad Jiménez Gili
Trinidad is the parent of a minimally speaking child who motivated her to switch careers from the entertainment industry to the educational field. She has been teaching her son through Soma®RPM since he was four. She has a Master’s degree in Spanish Linguistics and Literature focusing on Spanish Language Education from San Diego State University and a Master’s in Creative Film and TV Writing from the University of Barcelona (ESCAC). Trinidad works as a Soma®RPM teacher with bilingual families (Spanish and English) in the US and Latin America. Also, she has been teaching Spanish as a second language with RPM principles for several years.