Terri Sikkema

RDI® Certified Consultant

Location: Collingswood, New Jersey, United States

Phone: 609-634-1991

Areas Serviced: South Jersey, Philadelphia area and long distance.

Languages: English

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About Terri

My goal is to provide you with the most effective, practical and current resource’s available to address the challenges faced by individuals on the autism spectrum. In my career, I have worked with many children and explored a variety of approaches. Originally, I attended Rutgers University to pursue a degree in Early Childhood Development and Psychology. It was there that I began working with young children with autism. At that time, 1 in 10,000 children received an autism diagnosis. I began training in the only available treatment at the time, Applied Behavior Analysis. I continued my education at the University of Virginia where I received a Masters of Education and became a certified teacher specializing in Early Childhood Special Education. I have since worked in Early Intervention Programs and in public school preschool disabled classrooms.

As the years went by, I noticed not only a dramatic increase in the numbers of children diagnosed with autism, 1 in 68, but also limited growth in the children’s main areas of weakness: engagement and social reciprocity. Often the goals were not developmentally appropriate and skills were taught in a rote way. Parents were not given the tools needed to re-engage their child. I felt, as a mother and teacher, that these very special children needed to be taught like everyone else, in a developmentally appropriate way and through parents and caregivers. I needed to explore methods other than ABA.

I found the Relationship Development Intervention Program through an Early Intervention client and as I watched this wonderful mother sustain engagement with her child, I knew I needed to become a Certified Consultant. In my RDI training I learned how to teach parents to guide their child and address challenging issues, such as building motivation and strengthening social and communication skills. I really love this part of my work, where I help parents regain their connection with their child. Being a certified Relationship Development Consultant for the past 8 years has been the most rewarding part of my career. Everyday I am privileged to watch the relationship between parents and their child on the autism spectrum develop. Watching the developmental process unfold in these children is nothing short of miraculous.

I take a holistic approach to treatment, remembering to consider the impact of biological and nutritional issues on the child. This is a complex neurological disorder that requires an integration of various approaches to remediate the core deficits of autism, thereby giving hope for a quality of life for the individual affected as well as their families.

I am highly committed to continuing education in my work with families and children.

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