Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both…

- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost.

There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.

-Chinese Proverb

We are now approaching the one year anniversary of our involvement with a Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) program with our Little Man. I have been hesitant to write about this program so far since, I fear that any explanation of my layman’s understanding of what RDI is, the research behind it, and its long and short term benefits, would not do it justice. Fair to say, we did our due diligence and believed the RDI program would be a benefit for us.

I also realize that many parents of children with Autism have tried this, and many other “treatment” methods and there are many strong opinions out there about the positives and negatives of each. You want to occupy your self for a few hundred hours? Go search Autism treatment methods on the Internet. If you really want to amuse yourself, read the anonymous comments posted at the bottom!

Fortunately, I am not here to enter any debate, or to start a new one, just to relay, in part, our experience.

It would be far too difficult to relay what RDI has been like for our family in one post. So, I expect that I will be posting more and more as we continue on this path. Also, I should say that we are not pursuing RDI as our only way to get after this crazy little thing called Autism. Our Little Man is still enrolled in an Applied Verbal Behavior class though our school district.

So, with the understanding that this is just a partial glimpse into what RDI is, I say this about our experience thus far:

RDI has provided my wife and I with many tools to use to engage with our Little Man in structured activities in such a way to maximize the social opportunities that are presented naturally in those activities. That is a little general, I know. I intend to flesh this out more in the future. But for right now, what I can say is this: my wife and I now have way to structure almost any activity (i.e., making coffee, doing dishes, cleaning up, cooking, recycling, playing puzzles and games, etc…) in such a way where we are genuinely doing them together with the Little Man in way that makes sense to him and in way that he enjoys. Not to mention, we do them in such a way, that he gains understanding through experience of how to engage with others in a joint activity. If there is no other benefit of RDI, it has enabled us to pull that Little Man, from time to time, out of his preferred removed repetitive world and into the activities of our world where we can enjoy the discoveries of life together.  For that benefit alone, it has been worth it!

More to come.

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