Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Answering the RDI "question "

Many apologies for not posting in a while….I definitely want to get back to going through the many components of RDI for my readers.

Over the course of the past month I have been working with a few schools alongside my families, and recently attended an RDI conference for professionals, followed by an RDI Dynamic Intelligence workshop for a few of us alongside Dr Gutstein as we continue to look at mindfulness and continuing the theme of competence for individuals who are at higher stages in RDI.
Yet over and over again….What is RDI?  How do you explain RDI?  How would RDI “handle” that? What would “RDI” do?  And as I talk to teachers, professionals, parents as they ask these questions,  the usual response after I answer them is Hmmm that’s interesting.
So take a look here and here and here and here  and I'm sure I'm missing a few great blogs

With that said, I'm going to take a few moments and talk about Why RDI?

When my kids were first Dx, I was focused on what I wanted them to do….  Talk, play, be able to follow directions, make friends, insert yours here.  When these simple processes don’t unfold naturally,  its smacks us in the face as parents and the focus,  for me anyway, was getting all those wants to happen.  Fortunately,  or so I thought, there were some programs to help my children *get* these skills.   I'm not going to spend time on the why and why nots…but for my family  it became clear in a few years that something else was needed. 

My son knew how to do many things, but did not understand the why of most of what he was doing during the day.  In RDI we refer to this as *product*  The skill of taking the trash out, or getting dressed or putting shoes on, or requesting something with language.  What he struggled with was the process…the Mental process of the motivation of why?...making sense of what was going on around him….the things that are not said that we,  we just know.  Like…  when do we take the trash out?  How full should it be?  What shirt should I wear today if its going to be colder or warmer?  Which shoes should I wear if it is raining outside?  What is someone else thinking compared to what I am thinking?   Those mental processes were not taught to me,  I gained that experience based knowledge by my own discoveries as I made meaning through my experiences, and most of the time if asked,  how do you know?  We would all say I dunno, I just know.  How do you learn what to do in situations where the answer is not clear, there is no right or wrong way, or you have to consider many factors before making a decision?

So that is what RDI is….we want our kids on the spectrum to be able to experience their world, take those experiences for their own internal learning about who they are…about their own sense of self…and how what is going on around them applies to THEM. And instead of withdrawing from the world because of uncertainty, they begin to understand when that feeling of uncertainty comes, they can engage with their world and make decisions….That its okay….they can feel resilience and competence.  They don’t have to withdraw, or act out, have a meltdown, run away, etc.  After all, the withdraw, and behaviors are just the symptoms to the underlying core  which is being able to handle the uncertainty of daily interactions. 

We all have our own threshold…we have built up through thousand of hours of practice as babies and this process continues.  With Autism, that threshold never gets to expand…  and this is what RDI addresses.  RDI goes back and gives an individual a do over….  In this do over the mental processes are developed so the process occurs with the product…milestones with skills…

the WHY with the HOW

It is a very human trait to want to be competent.  RDI acknowledged that our kids want the same thing…
Without the process ( just the product) our kids are ripped off.  They are prompted through their day because they don’t know they can make a decision…they don’t understand they have this ability or if they do understand, the fears of the uncertainty ( being wrong for example) robs them from feeling competent.  Inflexibility…. No wonder our kids like to control everything in their environment…this is safety to them…remove all uncertainty so I know exactly what is going to happen.  This is why many kids will ask questions they know the answers too, or repeat the same conversation over and over.  This is why my own son, dx severe infantile Autism, would stim all day…  to remove all uncertainty.  His stimming kept him safe in a world he did not understand.

Why RDI?  I could not accept that skills were all I could teach my 2 boys.  I wanted to show them that they could be mindful..and that they could make mindful decisions in their world as children, and as adults.  Just like anyone else.

For more information on RDI visit- My Website, and RDI CONNECT

Click here for a quick video from Dan Siegel talking about intuition (crucial for all kids)...the RDI program believes OUR kids with ASD can reach the same milestones!!

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