Relationship Development Intervention ®
"Cheat" Sheet by
Kathy Darrow- RDI Certified Consultant
There are two different ways our brains process information, Statically and Dynamically.
Static thinking is what you know. For example, formulas, procedures (like following a recipe), memorized information (like multiplication tables), habits and routine. We know that one rule is we need to stop when the traffic light is red.
Dynamic thinking is what you can do with what you know in a continually changing world. In other words, how you solve real world problems. Dynamic thinking involves major processes like flexible thinking, experience sharing communication, appraisal and self-awareness. When we use dynamic thinking our brains are operating more mindfully. We deliberate, reflect, worry, hypothesize, and daydream. AN example is what happens if the traffic light is not functioning. We can deliberate the fact that the light must be broken and plan our next action accordingly.
Our children on the spectrum are weak in dynamic intelligence! Keep in mind the following strategies when beginning to remediate your child's obstacles to Dynamic Intelligence.
REACH our children
Reaching your child- One minute of mindful competency propels thinking in comparison to one hour of prompted action which promotes dependence. One minute of competency builds a mind to make discoveries in relationships. One hour of prompting( commands, questions) builds skills without meaningful long term motivation. Remember the better use of your time and your child's time!
To help your child discover their competency and to build dynamic thinking fostered in resilience, slow your interactions down to allow your child to process what is taking place- in other words-
Experience the Experience. When you are guiding your child to understand how to connect with you, it Is crucial that you remember the goal is not anything to do with *WHAT* you are doing. This means thinking that you have to finish the activity. Having a mindset that you have to finish leads to being task focused. Parents, when focused on doing something, can easily turn into concentrating on the mechanics of the end result. Children on the spectrum naturally look at any activity as a task to complete since they excel in static intelligence. In order to help guide our kids to enjoy the *us* instead of the activity (me), you have to purpose in your framing to NOT be about any end result of an interaction. THis is a lot harder than it sounds and takes a lot of practice. Pay close attention to your interaction, at the start and your goal, and then reflect on the ending. Did you child take all the control, was the activity all about him and you were a bystander In his world? Did he decide it was over and you are left standing there thinking, so I guess we are done? Did you find yourself struggling with what you can do to connect with your child? Instead you should feel that there was a connection, a moment where there was nothing In the way, just pure connection. This moments are quick at first, but start to build as your child's trust and competency builds.
Cheat recap- remember to focus on the process ( A connected relationship), not the end product (what did we get done)
Journal to me your reflections on experiencing your latests Interactions with your child!
Anticipate you’re actions/reactions to guide your child
At first your child may want to be in control, or the opposite and be passive, or maybe engage in self stimulatory behavior which is an Indication of both and a defense mechanism to escape the overwhelming feeling of incompetence. IF you make your child do anything you are simply thinking for your child and removing all self discovery. For mindfulness, guide your child in the understanding that you will be with them, waiting for them to accept their responsibility in the back and forth interaction. Reactions from the child will have already been anticipated and framed so the child focusing on the relationship is *US*. We will continue to review this on your framing sheets.
Cheat recap- Frame out your interactions for success and promote discovery for your child's competence. SLow down your response time to allow your child the opportunity to process ( wait ( counting helps) 45 seconds whenever possible for a response)
Journal to me your successes and/or struggles In monitoring your reactions and actions in the journaling section of the RDI online system
Collaborate interactions in your day. Our children tend to want to be entertained. Entertaining is very different then each person in the activity having an active role and being co- collaborators. While there is nothing wrong with SOME entertainment in our life, we want our children to not view us as an instrument for their entertainment. PLus that gets exhausting after a while. :) We want to teach them joint attention, how to appraise important changes In the environment, and to determine how it makes sense of what is going on around them. We can do this in the simplest of activities. One of the secrets to turn an activity from entertaining to engaging the mind Is to create moments of productive uncertainty. This simply means we are allowing room for discovery by creating opportunity for our child to be competent in a role and slowing our pace down so that our child has a chance to process, then respond. To do this they need to be out of entertainment mode and into being a co creator of the interaction. ( We always learn more effectively when we are involved and not just a passive bystander being entertained) When we create this opportunity, we help our child learn by discovery and integrate this process to assist in their resilience! Here is an example. It is very common in Autism to entertain the child when they attend to us as a reward. Instead of doing this, we can turn that action into an opportunity for true mindful engagement by celebrating with the child his role in competence. Creating a moment of pleasant competence that is shared by a mutual gaze with no overwhelming *background* noise encodes as mindful success in our children. They want to continue this success because they have felt the competence in their own action, not because they are being entertained by another person. This is crucial for LONG term motivation and success. This is giving a child the Why bother thinking in their relationships.
Cheat recap- Escape the trap of entertainer and move to mindful guide! Just as much fun with the added bonus of not feeling like you are doing all the work!!
Journal the changes you see when you go from Entertainer to mindful guide!
Helping your child to communicate without words
Babies are excellent communicators before they even talk. Some of our children talk without understanding true communication. This is also a result of a strong static intelligence and a weaker dynamic intelligence. Children who are highly verbal need to learn how not to depend on language and start to comprehend the other channels of communication. This can be challenging. To remediate this issue, start using more Non verbal communication to promote your child in understanding that your face and expressions hold the clues to communication, not just words. In our own life, we are able to process many different channels of communication at the same time. We are able to access our dynamic intelligence to do this. An example of this Is sarcasm, saying one thing but our body language says another.
For children who are Non verbal, they still *hear* you. Talk less at them, yes talk less and use more non verbal communication to fill in their developmental gaps. They will begin to use language when this sequence is remediated…and their language will be functional. Another strategy used for Non verbal children along with verbal children, is Implementing self talk in the day. This means you as the guide, will comment on your thought process at different periods of the day. This is not talking at your child. This helps your child hear that you are thinking and helps them to understand that you have a perspective. Consider this example. You are eating an apple. Without expecting a reply, you self talk that it is delicious, juicy, etc. Your child gets to *hear* your thinking without the pressure of a response ( our children struggle with processing time) A second example is self talk through a difficult situation expressing things like, wow this is hard, I wont give up though, I can do it! Here is my final example regarding behavior- A child is jumping on the couch. You think to yourself, I really don’t like that and what comes out of your mouth is , get off the couch or something to that effect. Instead of speaking your final thought, self talk your initial thought of , "I really don’t like that". Give your child time to process your perspective so they can make their own discovery. There is more thinking on your child's part then when you just tell them to get off the couch, along with helping them be in tune that you have a perspective.
Cheat Recap- Use small amounts of slow, simple and deliberate speech along with Increasing Non Verbal communication. When you do talk, use experience sharing communication whenever possible. Examples are "I have my shoes on", or "Wow" or "I love this color" or "ooohhhh". Instrumental communication consists of questions or commands ( get your shoes) There is limited thinking needed with instrumental communication ( means to an end)
Journal to me your own discoveries with communication and what you are seeing with your child on the RDI online system either in journaling or when you submit your video!
For my RDI families- Family Reflections-
As you journal to me and submit video, we will pinpoint specific developmental missteps within the objective. Addressing unique missed sequences with the process of remediation is a reflective work for both you and your child. Keep this sheet handy as a help with your objectives.
To my Blog readers- Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you find this beginning cheat sheet Informative. If you do not have an RDI consultant please feel free to start to implement these starter strategies at home. Once I experienced the difference from these strategies for my own children I knew I needed to take remediation to the next level!