Dr. Rachelle Sheely is the co-founder of the autism treatment Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®). In this video, she explains the basics of the RDI® program in her own words and gives encouragement to parents of autistic children.

Full Trancsript

RDI® stands for Relationship Development Intervention and in a nutshell I guess I would describe it as a program that teaches parents to be teachers for their own children. And by this I mean, parents learn to teach their children how to make sense of the kind of information that is hard for people with autism.

And this is really hard work! I don’t want to pretend that it isn’t. It is hard but what we do is we help parents to teach their children to think in a new way and thinking in this way is the best way we know to teach our brains to work better.

So for people like you and me as we learn to think in new ways we are actually changing our brain. So that’s what we – that’s what’s behind all the work that we’ve been doing for families of children who have autism.

One of the things that I think is so important is that none of us knows when we have children, what those children are going to be able to achieve. They come to us with different interests, different capabilities and we don’t say we’re going to work any miracle. What we say is: whatever your child is able to achieve, we’re going to help you help your child achieve that.

And so, you know, I look at this broad spectrum of children I have worked with (and now it’s been many years of us seeing many of them) and I feel that by taking that approach – whatever you’re capable of doing, we’re going to honor that and we’re going to help you achieve that.

I feel like our children have the best parents they could ever have to raise them and I want to encourage everybody who’s listening today: no matter which route you take, that you keep in your heart that you are the best parent for your child and move forward with that.

To get more information about the RDI® program, sign up here.


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