Core Deficit Questionnaire

Dr. Gutstein has designed RDI® to directly address the core deficits of autism. Core deficits are the common deficits found among all people with a specific diagnosis. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, children and families are impacted to different degrees within the core deficits of autism.


RDI® was originally designed to address core deficits in a developmentally appropriate way. That means Dr. Gutstein chose objectives based on the neuro-typical pattern of development, keeping these core deficits in mind.
I am asking you to answer the following questions and consider the application to your own child and family. I also want to raise your awareness of these specific areas, so that you can begin to look at their impact on your family, your child, and the future. It will help you to determine if RDI is a good fit for you.

This will also serve as a way of watching the progress we make with RDI. The following are the core deficits Dr Gutstein originally designed RDI for: Experience Sharing, Social Referencing, Co-regulation, Dynamic thinking and Episodic Memory.
Please answer/comment on the following

Welcome to your Core deficit Journal

When talking to your child, does he pay attention to you?
Does he let you know that he understands you? What does your child do to let you know?
When you play with your child does he focus on you or the objects?
Does your child attend to the same things as everyone else in the room? If no, what does he do?
How does your child share his emotions with you?
Does your child involve you in an active role in his play or activities? Give an example.
What percentage of the time would you guess your child is “on the same page” as those around him?
What kinds of things/people/places does your child attend to most often?
When does your child interact with you the most?
Does your child initiate communication with you? For what kinds of reasons?
What is your child most motivated by?
Does your child have insight into other people and why they may do something? Please give examples.
.How do you see experience sharing impacting your family?
Does your child monitor the actions of others in their environment?
Does your child adjust his actions based on what he observed?
Does your child attend to and respond to non-verbal communication?
Is your child aware of dangerous situations?
Does your child run-away or wander off in public places?
Does your child ‘get lost’ in the details of a task?
Can your child continue to work with you even if the materials have been changed?
Can your child stop an activity before it is completed?
Is your child a perfectionist?
How does your child’s dynamic analysis impact your family’s day to day life?
Does your child use his voice or own actions to change your response (behaviors)?
Does your child express preferences?
Does your child understand the consequences of his behaviors?
Does your child demonstrate a range within specific emotions?
Does your child over or under react to a specific situation?
Does your child adjust his emotions based on the emotions of those around him?
Does your child accept a role in an activity with you?
Does your child attempt to solve problems on his own before seeking you out?
Does your child take responsibility for abiding in the limits? Is it easy to set limits for your child?
How does your child’s self awareness impact your family’s day to day life?
Does your child prefer exciting changes or for things to remain the same? Please give examples.
How does your child react to changes in the “rules”?
Is your child able to derive meaning from things that are not absolute (based on the bigger context or subtle changes)? (Ex. It is ok to hug your aunt but not ok to hug a woman in the grocery line)
Is your child able to “shift gears” if there is a change in plans? Please give examples.
Does your child use more than one strategy to get what he needs? Please give examples
Describe your child’s pretend play
Describe how your child solves a routine problem?
How does your child’s creative and flexible thinking impact your family’s day to day life?
How does your child communicate with you?
Why does your child communicate with you? (ex. To ask for things, to share ideas, to show you things, to have his needs met)
When does your child communicate the most with you?
Does your child have a wide range of facial expressions that he uses when communicating with you?
Does your child point or use gestures? Please give some examples
Does your child listen and understand the majority of what you say to him?
Does your child use different “voices” for different emotions? (ex. Whine, flirt, silly, angry, tired, excited)
Does your child attend to the non-verbal clues you use when talking to him? (your facial expressions, tone of voice, body language)
Is it easy to communicate with your child? Why or why not
How does your child’s communication impact your daily life with him?
Describe the type of memories your child shares with you.
Is your child able to remember specific events? How do you know
Is your child able to remember specific facts? How do you know?
Is your child able to remember specific feelings? How do you know?
Does your child create personal meaning from his/her own experiences? If so, is that meaning what you would expect? Please give examples.
Does your child like to watch movies of himself or look at pictures he/she remembers?
Does your child use previous experience to help him/her make decisions? Please give examples.