Doing RDI

Waiting for help is hard to do, especially when it is help for one of your kids. Right after our diagnosis and as soon as we got on the wait list for Autism Outreach (DIR/Floortime) I came across Relationship Development Intervention (RDI). My husband and I were fortunate enough to spend the last year being trained in RDI.

RDI and Floortime have many similarities. RDI is a family based program where trained consultants support families to alter their interaction and communication styles.  RDI focuses on teaching children to be creative dynamic thinkers who can take different perspectives, cope with change, make decisions and take into account different points of views. Parents are trained and do all the RDI therapy with their children.  Over the last year we have taken a lot of video. Those videos are analyzed in our sessions with our RDI consultant.

One of the first things we talked about with our consultant when we started was the end goal and that was to live a normal life. By focusing on the social and communication side of things (which is huge in RDI) we are already living a “normal” life after only 1 year. My son is only 3 ½ and we are already at a point where we do not have therapists coming in and out of the house and we are not running to appointments. That is because I am the therapist and because RDI is now just a way of life that still lets us live like any other family.

In preparation for daycare I decided to focus on how fun it is to play with other people and taking turns. Lincoln and I started with parallel play activities and slowly worked our way up to activities where he needed me to continue the game.  For example, we would play farm and we would take turns having our animals walk through the barn, or we would build a tower with blocks and take turns.  Needing me to continue the game really helped him figure out that playing with other people truly is fun. We slowed things down for Lincoln to keep him regulated and able to learn as much as possible. I knew we reached our goal when he looked up at me and said, “Mom, I have to wait now, your turn.”

Throughout the last year of RDI I feel like I have become a really confident effective parent. I might not always feel like I am in the best shape or the best employee at my work but I do know for sure that the things I learned through RDI and what we do with my son is 100% the right thing to do. As a mom with a kid with ASD you know that is a pretty amazing feeling.


For more information about RDI:

RDI Connect (includes information about local consultants)

The Children’s Rehabilitation Centre in Winnipeg offers a seminar for parents on helping children become dynamic thinkers.  Watch for it on our calendar.

Discoveries in Therapy – Roseanne Papadopoulos, Winnipeg Occupational Therapist.  Her website contains a lot of information on strategies and therapy options.

Dr. Steve Gutstein – The RDI Book.

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