RDI’s Family Consultation Program

Wondering how RDI can help? Is RDI a good fit for our family? Reflecting on these questions may help you decide

Relationship Development Intervention is based on the Model of typical development.  This affords children with Autism the same chance at a redo in their development as their peers without Autism. An example of this is- typically developing children develop resilience and the ability to manage uncertainty in the first year of their life. The Brain is an experience based organ!!

Building on motivation, helping a child feel competent and not only to manage uncertainty but to embrace it is part of the foundations of RDI. This opportunity for a second chance is rooted in fostering the guiding relationship, which is how we all learned from our parents, and how society passes knowledge onto children who do not have any obstacles preventing them from accepting guidance. When this guiding relationship is disrupted because of Autism, the parents can feel that they avoid anything in the day to day that could potential cause tension. They become an entertainer and because they are not getting feedback, this feedback loop is interrupted. This results in feeling like you have to prompt your child to do everything, and that you have to do their thinking for them. The child withdraws, becomes overly controlling or overly passive, and obsesses on areas of competence which means will want to talk about the same thing.

RDI is a precise systemic program for to restore this guiding, broken down with objectives for each stage of intersubjectivity … For more on intersubjectivity look here and here

Here is where the stages of Intersubjectivity broken down

There are goals for parents that empower them with the tools they need for remediate their child’s Autism, and in the process transform themselves into expert guides, decision makers and able to see themselves as competent parents when addressing Autism…along with learning how to help their children ( ASD or NT) became effective in their own decision making.

A few examples of parent goals are

  • Student assessment, planning, and obstacle management
  • Personal assessment, planning and support
  • Set the stage for guiding
  • Guiding methods
These are examples of some of the parent objectives while we are preparing for guiding. Copyright- RDI Connect Dr Gutstein 2020

The student stages follow typical development and work on

  • Competence Development
  • Joint attentional learning
  • Self regulatory decision making
  • Co regulatory decision making
  • Emotional responsibility

(Within these student goals are three different stages which includes multiple objectives for each)

Once a family graduates from the Family consultation program they can move on to the next level, fine tuning any obstacles that remain with their child’s/students dynamic intelligence ( in this stage of the program autism is no longer an obstacle and the individual thrives on growth and learning new things and seeks out challenge). Families are graduated to working on advanced concepts to effective pass on reflection and perspective concepts along with advanced experience sharing to their child. This goes from “we” to meaningful independence “I” with ability to reflect and use their past experience to plan and prepare for any situation. More about this next phase is here

RDI is helpful to children and adults of any age..believing that all milestones regardless of chronological age must be addressed and cannot be ignored if we want to continue to move forward with a strong foundation. For families who do not start with RDI, many come  after their previous therapy stalls due to that therapy concentrating on specific skills and not addressing the complete developmental trajectory.

RDI advocates when fostering engagements for the child, to frame everyday activities with the focus on pacing and adjustment, along with the mode of communication and uncertainty present…to give a child a small enough challenge to feel competent in contrast to a challenge to great to handle. Planning and Framing activities allows the interactions to be structured but at the same time * family friendly* for each individual family dynamic, making RDI less about therapy and more about helping the child become competent in engagement through activities the family already does and interacting in their social world.

Upon completion of FCP program, you will begin working on more advanced Dynamic Intelligence- Additional information here