Once a week I try to listen to a webinar hosted by Dr Gutstein. The webinars are available for the parents who are working with a consultant and are members of the RDI platform. Personally, I find them incredibly interesting and I always come away with some snippets of information that have resonated with me. I do admit to also feeling a little overwhelmed with the content of each webinar. My brain takes in what is being said, however, at times I don't have enough time to process the information and keep up with Dr Gutstein! Thankfully, should I be so inclined, I can watch the archived version.
Way back, when I first heard of RDI, the main focus of the program was about child objectives. Working from a developmental perspective each child progresses through a series of objectives and stages. The parents help their children by changing their own communication style; and by purposely planning interactions with their children by using activities as props for engagement. The program has continued to evolve over the years and the focus has moved from the child to also include the parents.
Why the parent? you may ask... Well, if you think about it, in order to help our children progress, we need to be proficient at guiding our children? I think that I am a good parent, however, to be very honest, I am (or was) a parent who skimmed the surface. I didn't delve too deeply into parenting. I may have had a base line knowledge of child development but I didn't (and still don't) know each step and stage that children attain in natural circumstances.
Through RDI I have learned; and can visibly see, hear and really understand whereabouts my child is on the developmental scale. I have had to be realistic and accept what his capabilities are and come to terms with the fact that my son is lagging far behind that of his peers. Due to the fact that Nick has other issues besides Autism, I don't feel that he will reach the level of his peers. All I know is that we have him back on that developmental path and we move forward. As for how far forward he will move... well, we just don't know what the future holds.
But you know what? I am okay with that.
I have learned that RDI is not just about the child objectives, it is also about being an effective guide. It involves making decisions and thinking about those decisions. It is about learning from those decisions. It is about creating good guiding engagement habits. To get the most significant growth for myself, I need to learn how my decisions are being made. I need to self evaluate and record my thinking process. In order to guide Nick, I need to be on the ball on how to actually guide him!
I find that I do continuously think about what I am doing with Nick. My mind is always ticking over on how I can take him to the edge of his competence and then take one more step, for learning to take place. I plan an interaction with Nick and then assess the situation as I go along. We might come across an obstacle (i.e. I have discovered that Nick is unaware of gauging the speed of water from a tap). I will work over different scenarios in my mind and formulate a plan. Once I have a plan in place I can then address that issue from an RDI perspective.
I am starting to waffle and this just happens to be the quickest blog post I have ever written! Please bear in mind that this post on RDI is from my perspective. I have left out a lot of information and maybe I am barking up the wrong tree. Such is life! What I have written is very basic and not comparable in any way with this week's webinar.