Sunday, March 25, 2012

RDI... from my perspective!

The why....


I enjoy talking about RDI and sharing my thoughts and the progress of my relationship with my child. My involvement with my son has moved on from being that of a carer to being an active participant. I can really feel my connection with Nick ~ it is if we have an invisible thread holding us together...we move and dip and sway.. rolling along but always together. I can see how relaxed my boy has become and I feel extremely *chilled* at taking him out into the community. I can hear my son connecting with me. He may not express himself with words but we communicate with ease. Life is slow. Life is calm. Life is good. 


The info.......


It is my understanding that RDI is divided into three categories. #1 Parent goals. #2 Student goals. #3 The Dynamic Curriculum. At present we are weaving and interlinking our way though #1 and #2. We are a long way off #3, however, I have no doubt that we will get there……. slowly but surely, we make progress!

The beauty of RDI is that each developmental stage has been carefully thought out in accordance with a child’s natural development. Each and every objective within each stage is there for a specific purpose. We may not have worked our way though many objectives during the past year, however, our personal growth has been positive and very visible. Nick’s level of competence has improved and he is much more confident at approaching new challenges. His increased flexibility and resilience has made life so much easier for us all. I have learned the importance of *engagement* and I rejoice in the strides that we have made in this area. I am also very aware that with any activity I do with Nick, the activity is only the *prop* for our connection with each other. I know the importance of non verbal communication and I am slowly coming to grips with using declarative language in a more natural way. Using this style of language with Nick works a treat. I enjoy watching him process and *think* about what I have said...... and yes, he always responds! :)


The how.....


When we are assigned an RDI objective, I take some time to think about what we are going to be doing. I choose a few activities that I can use as props. I write up a framework sheet for each activity:- our roles within the activity and the co-regulatory pattern that we will use. I make a point of setting myself some limits as it is very important to me that I don't push Nick too far beyond his level of competence. As Nick's guide, I need to be very aware of  taking him to the edge and just a little bit beyond. It is a fine line....if I take him too far, our interaction becomes more about the activity than our interaction, which defeats the purpose of what I am trying to achieve!

I have two video clips to share....


The first clip is on engagement ~ emotional investment and responsibility. My assignment went something like this. Consultant: I want to now concentrate on Nick's engagement *contract*. All this means is we are going to target Nick's engagement on a higher level. To do this, we start with seeing what he does when you are less engaged in moments of interaction. We want to see his understanding of his responsibility to do *something* to re-engage you . When you pause with engagement, I would like you to wait and have limited eye contact for approximately 30 seconds. What does Nick do? Then you can resume the activity."

We spent around two weeks working on this objective, using different activities to ensure that Nick didn't get *stuck* on the same old, same old! This is one of our final clips and you can see that Nick is very capable of re-engaging! You may wonder why I didn't respond immediately; but I know my Nick so well..... I wanted to wait until he re-engaged with purposeful intent......


My second video clip is also on engagement ~ keep going! This assignment follows on from the one above! Consultant: This next objective is to continue with Nick...being able to re-engage. You stopped engagement and he was still (with you). Now we want to see what happens if you leave the (space)...*lose focus* with instructions for Nick to keep going with the action you left him with.(very simple actions) First start off very simple and only *stop* your focus for 5 seconds. We will be focusing on giving him more opportunities in this area. You are going to be walking away or stopping more then you are used too! We are going to gradually build up time for Nick to *keep going*, understanding the end point but also being engaged, for  30 seconds.


As we work through the activity, I notice that Nick is involved with removing the items, however, he isn't referencing me for information. Therefore, I pause and wait for him to acknowledge the pause. I slowed down the whole process. You can see that Nick was comfortable with me moving away from the activity. He took a few moments to process that his role was to carry on unpacking the bag. I thought he did great. He easily slotted back into our pattern when I returned to the activity. The second time I moved away from the activity, I used the word *finished* without thinking about what I was saying. Whenever Nick hears the word *finished* he thinks we have *finished*!! I realised my mistake when I saw Nick leave the table and walk over to the camera. I didn't want the interaction to finish like this, so I went back to the camera and stood by Nick and made a point of commenting that I needed to turn the camera back on. You can see that he came back to the bag with me, without any fuss.  How's that for resilience? :)

The last paragraph for this blog post........


This is only a tiny peek through the window. A minuscule glimpse into my relationship with my boy. This blog of mine is my own personal journal to chronicle our journey. My beliefs are my own and I am comfortable with my choice of intervention. For further information on RDI and children who are at the other end of the spectrum, you can pop on over to my friend Zoe's blog, Food for Thought ~ adventures in the not Nigella not Jamie kitchen. You may like to take a look at this blog Jacob's Journey.  You could also go and check out Kathy's blog...What is RDI?


~*~

Today's facebook status.....
Me and the Nick have just walked for one hour and twenty minutes. We collected pinecones, threw stones, looked at the birds, waited for the zebras to move out of our way, hummed, blew raspberries, very carefully walked through long grass (phew, no snakes!) and we had the best time. 

~*`

~*~

16 comments:

  1. south africa is gorgeous!
    Loved your videos. Keep sharing.

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    1. Hi B
      Thanks! :)
      I hope that you found them helpful...

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  2. Watching you two together is really beautiful Di. Snakes,ewwww.

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    1. Thank you, Dearna.
      Yes, I was feeling a little nervous!!

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  3. Di you are wonderful :) Such a great explanation of what you are doing and lovely videos of you and Nick. I especially love the second one where he keeps going even though you've gone to do something else - he's still within your framework and still co-regulating but now you are at more of a distance. You can really see him thinking about things here. I liked the way you deliberately slowed the process down as well when he was going a bit fast with the bag unpacking. BIG thumbs up (a little bit of non-verbal communication) ;-)

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    1. Thank you, Zoe.
      I have a clear picture in my head... of you standing there with both thumbs up! :D

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  4. very interesting!` Well done both of you!

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  5. Absolutely fascinating. I'm at very different levels in terms of therapy (if that is the correct term for RDI). Smiley has made very little progress since she was about 5, so I do the same things that I have always done, just making them age-appropriate. With aspie boy it is completely different. It's about lots of conversations and activities to reduce anxiety xx

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    1. Ahh, Blue Sky, our kids take such little steps but we just have to keep encouraging them hey! Your poor boy, anxiety is a terrible thing. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it! x

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  6. Wonderful Di, wonderful! I shed a tear when Nick got your attention by turning your face to his!

    This is a great way of chronicling your journey AND helping others. All therapies are slow and it's only when some time has passed and we look back that we can see how far we've actually come ;-)

    Two things though.... your house always looks SO tidy when you film these videos, you MUST tidy especially, right??!! Or is your house ALWAYS this tidy?!!

    The other thing is we may have a fabulous beach for our walks but you have zebras and wildlife? Amazing!!

    xx Jazzy

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    1. Thank you, Jazzy.
      First thing... and I really want to *whisper* this as I am embarrassed to admit it!! I have a really lovely lady who cleans the house. The population of South Africa is huge and not enough jobs! I could clean my own house but I choose to pay someone to do it. (Bear in mind, wages are substantially lower in South Africa).
      Second thing...we are very fortunate to have a share in an old cottage on a nature reserve and we get to go there once a month. I live by the sea (which is my best) but love to go inland. Sadly we can't travel with Nick, therefore, Mbona is perfect for us as a family.
      Thanks for stopping by, I enjoy your comments x

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  7. Thanks for continuing to tell your story. I am going to repost to our Facebook page.

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  8. Ahhh beautiful no matter how many times I see it :) Isnt it awesome how development unfolds!! Kathy

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    1. Hi there Kathy!
      Yes it is awesome, I love it!
      Thanks a million for your guidance! :)

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Thank you for taking the time to leave me a comment. x