Commonly Asked Questions About RDI®

by | Apr 8, 2022 | RDI® Core Concepts, Video

Do you have questions about the RDI® Model?

We have brought in people from around the world to listen, and answer their questions!

What is RDI®?

RDI® is different from other approaches to managing autism. RDI® is not a therapy. It’s a way you, the parent, can guide your child to use everyday opportunities to learn, grow, and develop. Most importantly, it’s about helping your child to build relationships – a relationship with you and the other family members, as well as with others outside the family circle.

Interested in learning more? Here are a few places to start:

What is Autism? 

What is RDI®?

RDI® is a Program for Parents

Is My Child Too Old for RDI®?

No! We’ve helped parents of very young kids up to teenagers and even young adults guide their children to grow, learn, and develop quality of life. Everyone has their own vulnerabilities and obstacles and RDI® works with this idea – it’s not a cookie cutter program. It can be tailored for each individual. 

Related: RDI® Myths and Truths

But What About ABA? Hasn’t That Been the Standard for Years?

You’re the parent. You’re the most important person in your child’s life – and you know them better than anyone. Choosing a plan to manage your child’s autism is very personal, and you may choose another program for your own reasons. All we want to say is – don’t rule RDI® out!

Many of our consultants are autism parents themselves – and several have been very open about the fact that they’ve switched from ABA to RDI® to build a relationship with their child, improve their child’s quality of life, and to give them opportunities that other programs just can’t offer. 

What Kind of Activities does RDI® Include? Is RDI® Play Therapy?

RDI® focuses on the process, not the activity. You can really do just about any activity with your child to help them grow and develop. You can use play, travel, visiting friends and family, grocery shopping, chores, arts and crafts – whatever! – as long as you’re spending time with your child and working on building that relationship with them. We are not a skill-based program, but skills will develop along the way!

Does RDI® Work for Everyone?

It doesn’t matter where your child is developmentally, what their IQ is, or whether they’re verbal or non-verbal. RDI® can help all children. Your child has potential, and the RDI® program can help you to discover what that potential is, and to meet it.

Is There Scientific Proof that RDI® Works?

The RDI® program was founded by Dr. Steven Gutsten and Dr. Rachelle Sheely and is research-based and has been found to be effective.

Find out more about the studies done on RDI® here: 

Does RDI® work in Schools or Other Institutions? Or is it Just for Home?

RDI® can be implemented by teachers in order to continue RDI® principles while the child is at school, but the program was designed to put parents in charge, so the primary guidance is done at home, with YOU, the parent, running things.

Can I Use RDI® Alongside ABA or Other Therapies?

Many other therapies focus on building skills quickly, and do little to nothing to repair the relationship between you and your child. While skills are important, the RDI® program is focused on the process of the relationship with your child. When you focus on this Guiding Relationship first, skills will come later. 

It’s probably not the best idea to combine two programs, because when you’re also trying to get your child to achieve all these other goals, the Guiding Relationship gets put on the back burner, and you and your child are both as risk for overwhelm.

How Long Does Change Take With RDI®? How Do I Know if RDI® is Working?

RDI® is a highly individualized program. Everyone will have their own unique capabilities and obstacles, and therefore, their own unique growth-seeking goals. It’s important to keep in mind that you must decide what the specific goals will be and also determine a way to measure those goals. What does success look like? If you feel that you and your child just aren’t meeting your goals, your consultant can help you to figure out what’s going on, and how to get back on track.

Is RDI® Expensive?

We know that each family has their own situation, needs, and budget, and that pricing is a common concern. RDI® is about empowerment. When you follow the program, you’re empowered as a parent to your child, you’re empowered to Mind Guide and to teach others to Mind Guide, and – most importantly – you’re empowered to take your child’s growth and development into your own hands. That empowerment is priceless.

When you pay a therapist to teach your child, you’re investing in your child. When you use RDI®, you’re investing in not only your child, but yourself, and your entire family – and the future of your child and their relationship with you and with others.

Take a listen to the following webinar featuring RDI® Certified Consultant Kat Lee and Echo Li, RDI® China correspondent as they discuss commonly asked questions about the program.


Are You Ready to Take Control of Your Child’s Growth?

If you’re ready to focus on rebuilding your relationship with your child, and want to ensure that your child discovers and lives up to their potential, RDI® might be right for your family. 

And if you want to know more about the program, access resources like webinars, tutorials, and more, read the latest research from RDI® professionals, and connect with and get support and advice from other parents and adults on the spectrum, you may be interested in joining our Online Community for Parents


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