Ask Dr. Sheely

by | Oct 23, 2015 | Rachelle's Corner


Dr Sheely, We have been thinking of beginning RDI. What would work with a consultant look like and how much would it cost?


Thanks for your question. I love hearing from you and I hope that the following is helpful. I must tell you that I love what we do, so I will try not to go on and on!

The Guiding Relationship
Our fundamental understanding of autism is that it thwarts the guiding relationship that is, for the most part, pretty intuitive with parents. The primary reason that the guiding relationship is frustrated is that in typical development there is an emotional feedback loop in place allowing the child to bring quite a bit to the table and send certain messages. In the beginning this happens through facial expression that the parent then uses to guide the child.

Most problematic is that because of the disruption created by autism, a certain kind of intelligence, which we refer to as dynamic intelligence, does not develop. (This does not refer to all intelligence, especially that of a static nature which is often intact.) However, this does not make dynamic intelligence less important since it is fundamental to so many things – our jobs, our relationships, and, therefore, primary to our RDI™ work.

Working with a Consultant
I will describe my own practice which is similar to that of most consultants. We begin fairly early on with an assessment, different from others you may have experienced because we are teasing out the optimal support for you and your child. We want to make sure that we’re not overcompensating and we also want to analyze whether there are co-occurring problems or obstacles that need to be considered. Following the assessment we begin our work-usually weekly meetings that always focus on a specific goal and include assignments specific to the area of student/child growth that your guiding will foster. These student/child areas include such things as joint attention, competence, self-regulatory decision-making, co-regulatory decision making and emotional responsibility.

Professional Fees
Our consultants set their own rates, so I’m not able to answer this question. However, we do ask that they be very specific about how you will work together before you begin the process. This would include a discussion of their fees, meeting times and your access to the resources as described below.

RDI Learning Community
All of your work between sessions occurs within the online RDI Learning Community. Here we have objectives, webinars and discussions where you will learn to analyze your work between face-to-face sessions, formulate questions for your consultant and present snippets of the work that you want your consultant to see. For my families it’s the time between sessions where the exciting growth occurs. Thus, when you walk through the door every week your consultant is ready to help you move forward. I don’t know if you have other children, but we concern ourselves with them as well – that they not feel their family’s resources are so devoted to the child with the problem that there is nothing left over for them. We want couples to have a strong relationship with each other, their other children and time for themselves, too.

I hope I have answered your questions. Best to you and your family.

Dr. Sheely


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