What is RDI ( Relationship Development Intervention)

 We know Autism is caused by the lack of networking within the brain.  There are numerous causes for this ( regressive/infantile Autism) so each child is unique!!  Because of this lack of dynamic networking,  our kids become very static thinkers-  where they do not like change and they want to control everything in their world to prevent any change in their environment.  This is why some children are very rigid.    When my son was just alittle over 1 year old I knew he had Autism because first of all I had a older son with Autism but among many other clues,  he would start crying in his carseat when I took a different way home.  If I went straight instead of turning..any variation that was against what he thought I should be doing. 
RDI is an Autism Intervention that targets Dynamic thinking ( theory of mind, perspective taking, intersubjectivity). 
RDI acknowledges this static wiring in our kids brain and believes a vital role to help our children is to create in them the ability to build up their dynamic intelligience instead of just accentuating skill based learning.  Dynamic thinking is A fancy term that describes what we all have …brains that are neutrally integrated.  We enjoy a challenge and we base our actions mostly on our perspective of relationships in our lives.   To have very static brains would mean that the focus would be off of the social and emotional factors of relationships and based more on rules or black and white thinking.  Our children have some excellent abilities like the  ability to memorize facts.  RDI works on the weaker part of the brain where the social dynamics are underconnected.  By doing this, building this strong foundation in our childs emotional understanding…as children progress through the RDI stages they are able to catch up socially because we are bulding those foundations from the ground up. RDI does this through years of studying how typical development unfolds…and believing that is still the best process for our children, gives the child a second chance to meet those milestones.  This is done step by step, in  a precise manner building upon each mastered social milestone.   An example would be understanding all channels of communications and other peoples perspectives.  RDI works on the foundations of communication first,  in which being able to use words in their actual context springs from.     Think about when you talk to a friend, you would say,   Love that color on you..but say it with a smirk on my face.  Your friend,  using different channels in processing your words would know that your words did not match what you said and she would know that you were really just being sarcastic in your language.  If you think about babies,  they learn to talk AFTER they have mastered, non verbal communication, the intonation in our voices, our gestures.
With my first son I did go out of order before I was introduced to RDI as we used a different intervention in the beginning…My son would say say with his programs so we had to create a program to try and teach him not to say say before words or script.   With my second son because I gave him the foundations for communication, he never had the pronoun issues or scripting…when he did start to talk his talking was experienctial and meaningful.
Addressing the social and emotional deficits of Autism itself as a precursor to all other static (academic) skills.  Addressing the core deficits of Autism and dynamic thinking lays a strong foundation for learning academics and skills in context and in an age appropriate application.
From the RDI Book-

The key to integrating dynamic and static learning is to make sure that you do not introduce static skills until the child is ready to develop the associated dynamic processes needed for real world competency

Kathy Darrow RDI Certified Consultant


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