A powerful conversation strategy for individuals with ASD.

I googled Communication and Autism…this is what the highlight said People with autism have challenges with communication and social skills. They often find it hard to have conversations and may not pick up on social cues. Some people with autism may not talk at all, and others may talk very well. But all will have some challenges making friends and communicating socially. With my own experience as an Autism Parent, and the 15 years involved in RDI, I believe we still need to catch up to what the research says regarding how we can help individuals with Autism communicate.   Not one of us learned how to communicate through a set of social stories or teachings on what to say over every single possible situation that could occur…as if that would even be possible. We cannot control what other people say to us, life is not a script that everyone follows.   While perhaps well meaning, in Autism Circles today, this method of “if this person says this, you can say that” is still wide

Teens and adults working on Dynamic Thinking

For older clients, we may still go through the family consultation program, however what we see with teens and adults is they have had many additional years to built up a storehouse of negative memories where they feel incompetent.  They have spent years trying to make sense of subtle clues in relationships, how to share perspective and reflect  on their own day and the events that have unfolded. They have spent many years keeping themselves safe in a world that is very complex . Imagine if every day was new,  struggling to learn from experience or to even see how each experience ties into another.   They have learned skills but have also learned how to compensate for challenges and many times how to avoid that uncertainty that comes with stepping in an experience that has some unknowns.  Many times this is where Anxiety takes hold, and seeing behaviors is common.  RDI and working on Dynamic Intelligence supports the family to get to the root of the WHY of the behaviors and anxiety

Supporting the family with younger children

RDI takes a family first through the family consultation process, first preparing for guiding by refocusing on What Autism is and how we can indeed change the brain and the outcome! Lets be clear,  by saying change the brain, I mean that we help the child with self affirming moments, where they can tell themselves things like, "I can fall down and get up".  Changing the brain to handle challenge is not changing who a child is at their core,  its removing the potential for the anxiety that could manifest because of that unproductive uncertainty. Together with families,  In a very deliberate step by step process from writing mission previews on where you want to see your child in 5 years or 10 years, to being more aware how to organize activities during the day to be optimal for that redo!  We go to learning about co regulation and framing, and spotlighting , to helping a child not feel like their whole world is crashing down when something changes in their day  It’s a very

Can RDI help my child and family?

RDI is not just for those considered low functioning, high functioning, ( not thrilled with the terms) young children, tweens, teens and adults, etc. Every single individual deserves a chance to revisit their own development! In many therapies, while well meaning, they do not take this into account and they think general knowledge…what we call static skills, can be successful. The problem is interactions never go as planned, there is not a set script for true authentic interactions. Trying to build on a foundation that is not yet there and then wonder why nothing generalizes. This work on general knowledge does not even touch the deficit in personal knowledge which is how we all make sense of the world and how each interaction has PERSONAL relevance to our life Consider this... Semantic knowledge is information, Experience knowledge is how we encode and learn from our experiences, Agentic is our own self awareness and becoming knowledge is the knowledge we gain and use f

Episodic Memory and Autism (part3)

Click to view part one and part two Research informs us that in typical development the foundations for episodic memory are formed in infancy through everyday parent-child interactions that take place naturally within their relationship.  Similarly, research indicates that the parent-child relationship, when the child is on the autistic continuum, is disrupted.  Within RDI this relationship is referred to as the ‘Guided Participation Relationship’.  The founders of RDI Dr Gutstein and Dr Sheely, label this disruption as a ‘Lack of Growth Seeking’ which prevents the child from being motivated to learn that ‘you and me = us’, through: seeking and sharing experiences with their parent looking to their parent when they are unsure of how to do something, or just need some encouragement to continue naturally observing what their parent is doing within their environment to enhance their own learning exploring and experimenting with objects with the

The Impact of Autism (ASD) on Episodic Memory

IF you haven't read part one, click here The main body of research on episodic memory within ASD has been carried out by Lind.   Lind(2010) states that the interpersonal social communication difficulties, experienced by individuals with ASD, inhibits their ability to form episodic memories through parent-child engagements within shared moments, events or episodes.   ·        As individuals with autism have difficulty sensing the emotions that they are experiencing in the moment this will impede any emotional episodic memory encoding and will therefore impact emotion related recall.   o    Research by Lind (2010), cites a case study in which a 21-year-old high functioning individual with autism was able to recall that one of his unique personality traits was that he was friendly.   When asked to recall specific detail on when he was friendly to another, or an event where he showed friendly behaviour, he was unable to do so.   He had an inability to tie his self-belief to a

The Parent Child Relationship in Autism

Welcome to our series on The power of Episodic Memory in Autism .  The Main text will be Part 1 and Part 2 .  Along with these two foundational blog posts will be posts going into additional detail with examples and applications.  We welcome your questions and comments as you read through and think about your own family,  which will help inspire future blog posts. Thank you to Sharon for starting this series with the backbone centered around episodic memory.  Sharon's contact info can be found at the end of this article.  Our self-identity is formed through personal memories created in specific moments in everyday life that connect emotions, experience and events as lived in episodes, exclusive to us as individuals (Tulving, 2002).  In a nutshell, we could both be in the same place at the same time, we may or may not be there together and yet the emotional experience that we come away with could be very different.  For instance, we could be watching a comedy film at