Relationship Development Intervention, RDI®, is at this time, the only family centered approach that systematically targets the core deficits of Autism and other neurological disorders. The development of RDI® was based on a comprehensive review of research based upon typical infant development. From the research findings, a systematic plan comprised of incremental steps was developed to help the child gain cognitive, emotional, communicative, and social tools to obtain a better quality of life. By developing these essential building blocks, the child can feel more confident and competent when navigating the unexpected experiences of day to day life.
The parent becomes the primary therapist, or guide, for the child under the direct supervision of a RDI Program Certified Consultant. Structured ‘lab times’ at home help set up safe environments that encourage the child to reach beyond what is comfortable so that he/she has the opportunity to stretch and grow, and make new cognitive discoveries. Confidence and competence in these new abilities are reinforced by pervasively implementing the RDI principles and techniques throughout daily activities of life. Each program is individually constructed for the child's specific needs in order to decrease the child's obstacles and utilize their strengths to develop meaningful relationships, flexible thinking, self-awareness, and emotional and relative information processing. Consultations vary in the form of individual and small group education sessions, live demonstrations, phone consultations, Skype consultations, home visits, video analysis of home application, regular assessment evaluation, future planning sessions, and peer dyad groups.
Firm Foundations is the starting point for families on their RDI journey. The parent-child relationship is assessed, obstacle management is determined, and a program plan is created. Family readiness skills and basic educational information is presented.
During First Steps, the parent learns about guiding the child, thinks about how everyday activities can be used for guiding engagements, and sets up frameworks from which ‘missing links’ in development are ‘re-taught’ at a pace that best fits the individual child’s growth and development. It is during this stage that the child develops skills in the areas of competence, joint attention, self-regulation, co-regulation, and emotional responsibility.
Steady Steps reinforces the learning from First Steps and transfers the responsibility of learning and discovering over to the child in incremental steps. It is in this stage that the child learns to independently and successfully navigate the uncertain seas of life, developing and strengthening his/her dynamic intelligence.