Kathy Darrow is an RDI consultant and a mother of four. She has been chosen as a featured consultant because of her dedication to our program and her amazing spirit.
What attracted you to become an RDI® consultant?
For years after being thrown into autism – with the diagnosis of two children, I felt like I was back at college, just gathering all the information wishing that there was a manual out there. Remember, this was 14 years ago! As our family had many ups and downs the true difference for both my boys was RDI®. Because the “experts” told me that skills were all I could expect, there was a huge gap in my kids rote knowledge compared to the world making sense to them, all of the social things that are unsaid. How could I not become a consultant? With my own families success I was spending so much time in my day helping families who contacted me so to me, doing that professionally was my dream job. I went for it and never looked back!
How many children do you have?
I have 4 children ages ranging from 21-10. 3 boys and my little girl and no, I was not going to keep going!
How long have you been a consultant?
I started RDI® with my own boys in 2004 and started training in 2008 to become a consultant.
Could you tell us a little about your blogs? What inspires you to write?
My blogs were started just because I felt like if I could not put things down on paper I would burst. I get quite a few emails and most of my blogs are based from emails that I have been sent at one point or another. My blogs have a FAQ feel because I remember when I was learning about RDI® I had many questions. It was like a slow dawning as I learned more about RDI® and how it would benefit my family and my boys and with each new component I learned it was like peeling a layer off of all the dreams I had for my kids. I blog because the process is so different for each family and the parents ‘Aha!’ moments – what strikes each family – can be different. Our kids are so unique, I would look at kids with ASD and think, “yes but that is not really like my son” etc. It’s when I learned about the core symptoms and stopped just looking at behaviors, that is when we as a family could roll our sleeves up and really address the core issues. I know that we, as parents, know our children the best and what inspires me to write is helping families see that here is so much more for their child and not to settle!
Was there one moment that sticks out in your mind, where you realized that RDI® was working for your family?
The one moment was with my younger son, who was only about 3 and he was making NO progress with his current program. We even thought he was getting worse because he was becoming more inflexible, miserable and behaviorally challenged. For a week after I learned about RDI® we started with VERY simple strategies as PREP work, to see if I wanted to explore RDI® more. My teams of therapists were on board and we changed how we handled his program that week. At the end of the week we all were AMAZED at the changes, the positive changes we were seeing. We were ALL HOOKED!! I vividly remember the team meeting, four of us with big smiles on our faces, so excited that we had seen meaningful progress for the first time. That day everything changed everything, even the careers of the behaviorists sitting in my living room at the time!
“I love that I get to share what I have learned with my own two boys and share in many other families’ lives as we walk together. I’ve never met more committed parents and it’s joyful to be able to share in the experiences as they see progress with their children! Competence and success is addicting!”
What is your favorite activity to do with your children?
My favorite activity to do with my children right now is going to the beach or Disney World! We love going on vacations together. When that is not possible ( ahhhh if only life was a big vacation) we love to spend time together bike riding, taking the dog for a walk and/or going out to dinner!
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about parents being the expert on their kids. I spent years in situations where I was considered just the ‘Mom’ in a room full of people telling me what to do with my children. This could probably fall under why I became a consultant, because families need respect and support. I want parents to feel competent in their quest to help their kids, not be told that they need to hand their children over to others for help. Healthy support is wonderful so I am passionate about keeping the parents in the driver’s seat and giving them the support they need, without that support taking over the parent’s role!
What is one thing people don’t know about you?
This is a hard question. I think I’m pretty much an open book and a big kid at heart. I think the one thing that I hear every so often is that I’m tough, that’s the Jersey Girl in me. I think under my toughness is compassion, putting myself in another person’s shoes, knowing that things are rarely as they seem on the outside.
Describe your perfect day.
My perfect day is a day that I get to spend with my family and or friends….going down the shore….sitting on the beach. There have been times we have rented a house down on the shore and this is about as perfect a day as I could think after the winter!
Kathy has over 16 years experience in the field of Autism, which includes 11 years in RDI®, first as a parent and the past 7 years as a consultant. Kathy’s passion to help families with children on the spectrum started when her own two children were both diagnosed before three years old. RDI® was not only miraculous with her children on the spectrum but also as a family affair between parents and siblings. After being handed the poor prognosis all those years ago, she never gave up searching for what her boys needed. Turning to RDI® on a professional level has made it exciting for her to be able to watch other children and young adults involved in the RDI® program become increasingly competent and resilient in their social world. Kathy works with local families in New Jersey, both at home, in school and homeschooled, as well as long distance families in multiple U.S. states and overseas. You can connect with Kathy here.