Saturday, November 24, 2012

RDI ~ then and now (part two)

Yesterday, while driving home from our weekly speech session, I just happened to glance over at my boy. He was sitting there quietly, listening to music and watching the world go by. For some unknown reason I felt a little heartsore and this thought came to mind.... "The biggest worry I have in my life is - what happens to Nick when I die?" Is that a BIGGIE or what?

Oh boy!


I do know that our family life has changed for the better. We are more accepting of our situation and we tend to have a positive outlook. In fact, life is pretty amazing, regardless of the fact that we have a severely autistic teenager. 


And this young man of ours just continues to progress. Isn't that great? He is 13 and still continues to make progress. 


My latest facebook status:  "A little update on Nick's vocab.... He is trying so hard to verbalise what is going on around him. He sounds out the letters of familiar short words and he has progressed from saying individual letters (i.e.) c.a.r. to blending the sounds.... c.ar. Exciting stuff." 

Over the years I have watched Nick progress; and then plateau for a long period of time. We have had times where he has been unhappy or highly anxious or switched off. This was a fairly consistent pattern until I began to really focus on RDI, roughly two years ago. I can now say without a doubt, that for the last two years, Nick has continued to move steadily forward, step by step.

Our RDI journey continues to be a learning experience for the both of us. A big part of Nick's improvement is the fact that I have been learning how to guide him effectively. I know that it seems kind of crazy... being guided on how to parent! However, it really is beneficial and I definitely need help with the fine tuning! 

I want to share two video clips. The first clip (two minutes) is from around early 2011 and the second clip (four minutes) was taken in October 2012. In order to keep this post short and sweet, I am going to let you, the reader......


Spot the difference!


Early 2011

October 2012


So, what do you think?

That biggie still weighs on my mind, however, (yes, I know this is very corny and I am sure the line comes from a movie!) we are working towards a better future....


~ * ~

15 comments:

  1. Really great is all that I can say. You can be proud on your boy and yourself. You are doing great job. xx

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  2. WOW! You Guys are amazing! I can't tell you how happy I am for the both of you. I know that so many people will comment on the progress that your son has made. That is hands down -Obvious- and I can go on and on about that. However, what really stood out for me was how much YOU have changed as his mother. You have a relationship with him that is now so natural. You communicate with him so beautifully and their is a light and special bond in both of your faces together. Your relationship and how you view him certainly has changed. More importantly, it is certain that you truly understand him, respect him and enjoy your time together. OK, I cannot end without commenting on your sweet boy. His self regulation is incredible, he will teach us all that communication is not overly verbal and I think he is my new idol! I am so proud of his progress. I am an RDI consultant and have seen thousands of videos in my 10 years. However, with you and your son's permission, I would love to share this to other families. YOU guys ROCK!!!!!
    Joyce Albu

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  3. @Petra ~ Thank you xx

    @Joyce ~ Thank you very much for your positive feedback. To receive such a comment from an RDI consultant reaffirms for me that I am on the right track. :-) I am very happy for you to share this with other families and I hope that they find it useful. Kind regards. Di

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  4. Di thank you for sharing, the change is fantastic. With the first clip there is an element of it being about the task & just getting it done but with the second the relationship & what is going on between you is what is so obviously important. You both seem so much more relaxed in one another's company. All that time together is really paying off.

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  5. How lovely. I looked at RDI when Archie was 8, and found it very hard to implement, having seen this it may be time to revisit. One of the things I struggle with is getting Archie to listen to me (when he does, he understands, but sometimes he can't seem to regulate enough to do that) - your interaction with Nick (especially in the second clip) is so calm. Looking forward to following your blog.

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  6. @lissilou ~ I am thrilled with our progress. To be honest, there are still times when our interactions do feel *about the task*, however, Nick is much more relaxed and regulated. I also have a better understanding of how to guide him. Thank you for your comment.

    @alifeunlimited ~ Thanks for stopping by. I know what you mean about getting your son to listen to you. I found that by changing my communication style and slowing everything down really helped Nick to become more focused (and also encouraged him to think for himself). A new facebook RDI group called Autism Guide has started up if you are interested. https://www.facebook.com/groups/471747329526072

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  7. Oh wow...look at all that fabulous interaction! Well done to you both. You are so patient and calm with him. It's lovely :-)

    xx Jazzy

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    1. Thank you for your comment, Jazzy. We do have lots of lovely interaction. For a child of many challenges, he certainly has come a long way.... as have I! :)

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  8. The biggest thing that struck me was how in the first video Nick and you were sparring most of the time. In this video, he is with you and attentive and comfortable with hanging on when he is not sure. He is not in such a rush to get things done because he is able to be in the moment.

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    1. @Walking ~ You are so right. Nick used to always be in such a rush... now he is much more comfortable with going slow and taking the time to watch and think about what is happening.

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  9. Di, I'm with Joyce in this. You have so much confidence in yourself & in Nick in the 2nd clip. You know he can be competent and you play around on his edge of competency so well (edge +1). The apples thank you, I'm sure, for guiding Nick as he learns & understands about the care some things require. He is a wonderful apprentice! You are a cool Mom!

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    1. Thank you, Libby. As you know, I have a really great guide and she has made such a difference to my parenting! :-)

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  10. That is such a wonderful change and made my evening, thank you for sharing it!

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  11. I love these videos! What lovely interaction. I agree with 'Walking' in that when I saw the first one it seemed to be about control. It reminded me of my friends son who used to line things up around the house and is now able to say that he kept checking the line he made in case it had been disturbed and that if play workers were to be told one thing they should be told to NEVER DISTURB THE LINE! What relationship intervention does is relaxes all that control and makes the child feel safe enough to blossom. Nice to see !(:

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  12. Hi Sharon, thanks for stopping by. Control was such a biggie for us as well and the difference now is that Nick is a lot more relaxed and extremely flexible. See you in Dublin!! :-)

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