RDI in school

RDI is an intervention that addresses dynamic intelligence ( Theory of mind) in our children.  For school age children, being able to take on perspective, understand critical thinking, emotionally regulate with another person, and reflect on their surroundings is crucial.  If our children were not given this opportunity before 5 years old, it is never too late to lay the foundation for Dynamic thinking and improve a child’s quality of life and social understanding.
Below is a chart that outlines static and dynamic intelligence. 
Static thinking is what you know. For example, formulas, procedures (like following a recipe), memorized information (like multiplication tables), habits and routine.  You will note that much of the static column is what comes easier for our children because of the effects of Autism on their neurology.  The Dynamic column is what so many of our children struggle with.  Dynamic thinking involves flexible thinking, experience sharing communication, appraisal and self-awareness.  When we deliberate, reflect, worry, hypothesize, daydream, and improvise we are using our Dynamic intelligence

(Static Abilities)
(Dynamic Disabilities)
Thinking and Problem Solving (Cognition)
Black & White
Detail Analysis
Parts – to – whole
Rule-based thinking
Alternative thinking
Critical thinking
Good enough thinking
Grey area thinking (fuzzy logic)
Hypothetical (“what if”)
Improvisational thinking
Simultaneous processing
Social & Communication
Social Rules
Multi-Channel communication
Perspective taking
Regulating & Repairing

Emotional regulation
Planning, preparing, previewing
Self-efficacy, resilience

 So how does struggling with Dynamic thinking impact learning? Being able to relate to others is at the core of HOW we learn.  Babies have thousands of hours practice in the social and emotional  back and forth between themselves and their parents.  Children with Autism do not have this chance unless we specifically create for them a  deliberate way to revisit what they missed the first time. 
Without this opportunity to restore their developmental path,  we are fostering use of static thinking only and therefore not preparing our children to a higher quality of life that is possible for them.
New Jersey core curriculum, along with every other state recognizes to prepare our children for society,  we must go beyond simple memorization and procedures.  For our children with Autism, wanting more for them and preparing them for independent lives should be in the forefront and partnership with both skills and thinking is crucial for success.    As with any child growing into adulthood,  the ability to think, problem solve and take on other perspectives creates in every individual an engagement as active citizens in a dynamic  society and to successfully meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st-century global workplace( per Core standards)

Mission: 21st-century life and career skills enable students to make informed decisions that prepare them to engage as active citizens in a dynamic global society and to successfully meet the challenges and opportunities of the 21st-century global workplace.

 Vision: The systematic integration of 21st-century life and career skills across the K-12 curriculum and in career and technical education programs fosters a population that: Applies critical thinking and problem-solving skills to make reasoned decisions at home, in the workplace, and in the global community.
Uses effective communication, communication technology, and collaboration skills to interact with cultural sensitivity in diverse communities and to work in cross-cultural teams in the multinational workplace. Is financially literate and financially responsible at home and in the broader community.
Demonstrates creative and entrepreneurial thinking by recognizing and acting on promising opportunities while accepting responsibility for possible risks.
Is knowledgeable about careers and can plan, execute, and alter career goals in response to changing societal and economic conditions.
Produces community, business, and political leaders who demonstrate core ethical values, including the values of democracy and free enterprise, during interactions with the global community.


  1. Thank you Kathy for RDI info. Three years ago, Our Child Development Specialist/Pediatrician has recommended RDI for our 6 year old son. We have not had much success with our insurance company covering this service. Also, there are few RDI Consultants in our region.


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