Monday, May 6, 2013

Why I like RDI....

I have several posts on this subject that I have already done.  People don't have any idea of what RDI is unless they do it.  Several years ago ... probably 8.. I went to an Autism Awareness Friends and Family  Day presentation.  I invited friends and family. ;)  During the seminar they had a video of a child who had graduated from ABA.  It was an example of 'success.'   Andrew was so young at the time and I was full of promise of what it might be like to have a child who had 'done the therapy' and was healed/cured/remediated/graduated from the program but I was so sad as I left the event.  It was a back and forth of a question..answer.

Interviewer:  What's your name?
child: BettyLou
Interviewer: What grade are you in
child: 4th
Interviewer: What's your favorite subject?
child: writing.

And on it went...

And I felt sick to my stomach when I left because that is not what I wanted for my child.

A week ago I went to a seminar where Temple Grandin was the speaker.  I could not put my finger on it, and while it was very interesting, it bothered me.  A friend who does RDI asked how it went and I told her.  This is the email I wrote;

She is very aba… 

She is very 'pro strengths'.. over half the people there were teachers and when she mentioned that not everyone needs algebra.. everyone clapped.   Also when she talked about how schools are not built for those who are visual and spacial learners.. again clapping. 

She talked about the importance of work for kids on the spectrum.. getting jobs walking dogs.. that sort of thing.

Said work places should be more accommodating.  They can give a wheel chair ramp but won't give an autistic person a private office.  Or change the lighting.  And they should.

She talked about fitting job to the person.

People who have heard her before say that it is the same presentation every time but it was the first time i have heard her and it was interesting.

She talked about how you have to teach 'these kids' everything.  My immediate thought is that you CAN'T teach anyone everything!!  

My friend did not tell me her opinions before I told her mine and I mentioned how it was just..... slightly weird!  And that was it.... the presentation and the Q&A were..awkward.   She did bring up some FABULOUS points.  The jobs are important.   Giving a voice to changes in education is priceless.  Dr. Grandin is to be respected and admired for what she has accomplished and given a voice to.

But, Dr. Grandin is famous.  She has a great life and more power to her!!  But not every child on the spectrum will grow up to be Temple.  99.99% wont.  So how do they 'succeed' in their own right?

That is where Relationship Development Intervention.. RDI...  comes in.  RDI doesn't teach a kid "everything they need to know."  It teaches kids how to think, how to adjust, how to BE.. in the world.  As an example here are the two objectives we are working on right now:

  • Distinguishes between significant and unimportant changes  and reacts differently based on the analysis.

  •  The Student has an accurate generalized experience of himself as a competent decision-maker - someone who can effectively engage with challenges 

If you have a child on the spectrum PLEASE do not go out and just try and do these objectives.  They are of hundreds (probably thousands) and we have a trusted guide that takes us through how to navigate this for OUR child.  But I show them as an example.  As you can see they don't teach.  For the first one we are working on the significance of any change.  And they happen all day every day.  What should we have for dinner or breakfast?  Could we have dinner FOR breakfast?  My child views every change as significant so we have to start small.

By the same token, I have spoken to friends about how ABA may have allowed us to have a more 'normal' life.  Would my child do better at following the rules?  Would we have a quieter life?  Right now... yes.  Maybe.  But what would the future look like?  To be honest part of the reason I am writing this blog entry is  my own therapy.  To show myself that yes we are on the right track.  I was reminded by my PT today that there are many points of entry into the circle of remediation.  (And that is more for another day.)  But RDI has really made a difference in how my kiddo handles real life.

1 comment:

walking said...

On the one hand, Temple says a great many things that need to be said. On the other, there is much that make me squirm. She has often talked about the importance of being useful. What about those who lack the gifts that can be honed into something seen as useful by the world? Are they different and less?

When you say, "You have to get the child to"... then you've lost me.

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