Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tips for Relationship Development Intervention

Tips for RDI  Part one -
3 beginning tips to keep in mind while you are waiting to start a complete RDI program with your child-  I welcome any questions you may have about a particular situation in your family and how to help foster mindfulness! 
1        Slow down your actions with your child.  Give him /her time to think about what comes next…and if they don’t know what comes next, your pause will help your child to look at you to to try and understand.  As parents, we sometimes anticipate what our kids need and don’t give them a chance to seek out our interaction for that joint attention.  Or we are told to prompt them in the activity to the point where the child has no point other then following directions. There was nothing better than the first time my own son looked at me for information because I paused in our activity and did not compensate for him.  He had to reference my face for more information.  Keep in mind in the beginning of this process I counted in my head anywhere from 25 to 45 seconds before moving on.  This is a good rule to follow in both our actions and our language.
2        While slowing down your pace, limit your verbal communication and use as much facial expressions and body language as possible.  This reinforces the pause…as once our kids look at us,  we want them to understand that *words* do not hold the key to communication but that it is an entire package.  We want our children to hit the milestones of understanding those non verbal cues in their own life to translate into outside.  This is the very beginning of being able to read people and their words…an example being sarcasm if someone says,  “Love your hair” with a smirk on their face!! Losing your own language is for both children who cannot speak yet and very verbal children.  For children who depend on language ( over talking) you may want to invest in an ipod and tell your child that you cant hear him ( forcing him to communicate more non verbally) .  This way he/she does not think you are ignoring them.  They may initially become upset because they depend so much on words and not non verbal communication.  My son had a huge issue with this.  An example of this would be he would say Mom and I would look at him but he did not understand that me looking at him was the same thing as saying “what”? My younger son was Non verbal when we begun the RDI program.  I concentrated on social cues with him and limited my language until he was solid within those milestones.
3        For the language that you do use with your child,  comment on your thoughts in the situation instead of asking questions of your child.  This will help your child to understand that you are thinking, and that other people in his world have a perspective separate from his.  This is called Self Talk, and means you are simply verbalizing your internal thoughts but not requesting a response.  Typically, when someone says out loud, I love chocolate ice cream, I internalize that in my own thought process to think about what I like.  I may say  in response,  “ oh I love Mint chocolate chip ice cream” which is experience sharing, or I may say nothing at that moment.  Both times I am thinking.  Our children on the spectrum may not say anything yet but you are building a foundation for thinking.  Encouraging that process will build competence in your childs mindful intelligience.  Prompting a child just to talk limits their thinking and erodes their competence because responding to your request simply becomes a task to complete.  They already have their own agenda, self talk lets them know that we are in their world too. 

I hope these few tips encourage you!  Check back for more tips!

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