I am pleased to announce Maisie Soetantyo as our featured consultant. Maisie is very active in the RDI community and an outstanding consultant. She has given hope to many parents with children on the spectrum through her parent training seminars as well as helping guide many professionals to become great consultants with her professional training.
What made you decide to become a consultant?
I fell in love with the field of Autism almost 24 years ago while working in a special education preschool classroom in Los Angeles. After implementing many types of early intervention methods and well-known social skills programs, I was still puzzled by the lack of motivation to connect with others that I saw in my most successful clients. Yes, they could keep up with the academic standards, classroom routines and even playdates with some support, however, if left alone they still preferred to do solitary activities. I came across Dr. Gutstein’s first book “Solving the Relationship Puzzle”, called the number on the back of the book, and the rest was history….
How long have you been a consultant? What is your background?
This year is my 12th year as a Certified RDI Consultant. I came from a strong background on behavioral-based intervention, having worked with the Young Autism Project and the Center for Autism and Related Disorders for many years. I am currently very interested in instructional and curriculum design, particularly for homeschoolers and adult residential facilities.
Tell us a little about the Destination 4 Day RDI Parent Trainings?
This year our clinic hosted our first Destination 4 Day RDI Parent Training in Bali, Indonesia. We brought in Paul Louden as a co-presenter during the event. He has a diagnosis of Asperger’s and has been working on overcoming his ASD-related challenges using RDI principles. Listening to him was such an eye opening experience for parents and myself, as an RDI clinician. We really had a better understanding on why sharing experiences was very difficult for a person with ASD. Paul also talked about living in different cultures and how this opportunity helped him to understand communication better.
Another twist of this new 4 Day Parent Training format is the idea of a special getaway place to lure couples away from their day to day rush and stress in raising family with a child with special needs. Good combo of play and hard work!
The next destination training will be in our very own wine country, Sonoma Valley! This training has been postponed
What can parents hope to leave with after completing the training?
We worked hard on updating the parent training curriculum, so that parents could take home simple and practical ideas to be implemented immediately. RDI is not about doing ‘chores’ or ‘activities’, it’s a mindset, a life style, you breathe and live it! Personal growth should center around both parent and the child. Another important take away we want parents to go home with is the idea of ‘balance’ in the marital relationship, Autism and life outside of Autism, time for remediation, short and long term goals, etc.
Tell us about the RDI Certification Professional Training.
The training was certainly an exciting adventure for me! It has been a dream of mine to have Indonesian RDI Consultants who can articulate RDI better than I can. I believe in RDI and its powerful message for any parent, and for Indonesians who are such a close-knit, family oriented culture, knowing more about the RDI Family Consultation Program can make such a huge impact.
In our first recent RDI Certification Training in Jakarta, we learned that we shared the same vision as a group for parent education in South East Asia. It was not just about learning ‘how to’ implement RDI, but learning to inspire parents and professionals. RDI is about changing lives! We also focused on ‘understanding’ RDI parent objectives by ‘doing’, we were fortunate to have several families volunteering for us to practice guiding. We all learned a lot during the training!
What are you passionate about?
I think global education for parents and professionals on parental involvement and its impact on children’s social, emotional, self awareness, self-regulation and interpersonal skills. Parenting is not as simple as it used to be, juggling a fast-paced life, increased work demands and competing distractions such as screen devices, present daily challenges for all parents. I feel that the strength of the RDI program is in its applicability to all parents.
How have you seen RDI change or affect people?
YES! I have many, many stories from the families I work with, it’s hard to choose. But one that came to mind is a parent who has had such a hard time slowing down and leaving behind a constant state of panic about her daughter’s developmental gap. After working with her for over a year and a half, she excitedly reported that she has decided to take on yoga, gone to the movies, and best of all, her friends reported that she has transformed into a much more enjoyable person to be around! RDI helps us to change for our children!
Tell me about your perfect day:
My perfect day is one that I could indulge in once in a while. It is a day that I don’t have to ‘rush’ to go anywhere or do anything. This usually involves some kind of window shopping, a cup of coffee with a slice of cake and good company. Oh, one more thing, if I could skip laundry, then it would be a perfect day!
Maisie Soetantyo has been providing RDI supervision and training for families in California and Southeast Asia. She firmly believes that through daily mindful engagements parents can make a difference in their special needs children’s long term outcome. Maisie and her husband, Pete Dunlavey, are both seasoned certified RDI consultants and they run “Destination 4 day RDI Parent Trainings” around the world.
For more information on the next 4 Day Parent Training and RDI
Please contact Maisie at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit her site at www.catchclinic.com