In my 33 years of Occupational Therapy practice I have experienced the advances made in the treatment of children with Autism. Interventions began with physical restraint and institutionalization, but now we see adults with Autism who work, go to college, and have long-lasting relationships. Along with these changes come changes in our expectations. Following suit, our treatment models must also change to reflect our long-term and short-term goals for our clients. Three years ago, I finally encountered a treatment model that not only made sense to me, but was supported by evidence that I trusted enough to use in my own private therapy practice, Sensory Kids, LLC. It was a fascinating, humane and thoughtfully detailed program. RDI, or Relationship Development Intervention, developed by Dr. Stephen Gutstein, works on revisiting the path of cognitive-emotional development that neurotypical developmental children undergo. What does this mean? It means that the program’s focus is on developing the social and emotional intelligence of a child so that his/her interactions can be spontaneous, dynamic and fluid.

We (certified RDI Consultants) believe that each child with ASD, despite age or ability should have a chance at obtaining the foundational building blocks for later becoming competent adults. RDI’s unique approach offers a tailored intervention which works with parents and children in developing better broadband communication and facilitating the thinking process necessary for dynamic intelligence and problem solving.

Recent research indicates that RDI has potential to exert powerful impact on a child’s capacity and motivation for experience- sharing, communication, and social interaction. Data demonstrates that children in families participating in RDI were rated by parents as able to adapt to unexpected change and transition as well as typically aged peers, over 70% of the time. The RDI approach teaches parents to break down the process of learning: they can then teach their children to think and perceive dynamically in small components. Adopting this style serves to slow down and amplify the feedback system so that both parents and the children are more readily able to respond to one another. If you?re new to the RDI Program and would like to learn more read The RDI Book:Forging New Pathways for Autism, PDD and Asperger?s with the RDI Program. (Currently in print.)

Research by visiting the website: www.rdiconnect.com