This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Kat Lee, one of our amazing RDI consultants. Her energy and enthusiasm are a few of the many reasons that the families she works with (and all of us!) adore her.
Tell us a little about your background
I started out life as the daughter of a concert pianist mom( my father having passed away when I was a baby) so performance was in the genes. I got into radio /TV early in college and worked as on air talent for morning shows, a news reporter, etc. When my son was 2 he was diagnosed with ASD and it rocked our world sideways. I’d just said no to a general manager position at a local station in Dallas because I wanted to be home part time with my children. I had subsequently been laid off for that decision so I was looking to be back in radio some where else. But of course, the importance of that fell away after that day of the diagnosis.
How long have you been a consultant? What made you want to become a consultant?
After the diagnosis, Bryan( husband) and I both started working with Daniel through our ABA in the home, and our lives became dedicated to making sure Ruth(our daughter) grew up with what she needed and that we did every thing we could for Daniel. We had wonderful people around us always, therapists, consultants…wonderful mentors really. But as parents, we wanted to be completely hands on . We considered our responsibility.. We saw a lot of progress and though Daniel had many obstacles, he continued to improve. But there were missing pieces. Many of them.
By the time RDI was on the scene, my son was 10. I was used to hearing about amazing treatments that were going to make him recover . I’d seen so many friends hurt and disappointment by shots, diets and some really” out there” things. They were desperate. But when professionals I respected said ” you need to check this RDI out” I knew it was a must . I was working as an ABA therapist at the time and went to a professional workshop. I was blown away in the first hour. A program with a focus on parents as the main guides? Where have you been all my life? And the student goals? They were a missing piece for my son. LOTS of missing pieces.
Can you recall an experience that stands out where you saw someone benefit from RDI?
Well, yes. Of course, I could talk about my own son and how huge the small steps were in the process of his life. But I’m thinking right now of a little boy I saw who had come so far in his journey. As long as he was in charge, he was competent and charming. But he could not be in the apprentice role. He did not know how to be. And because of this, despite all his skills, he was not progressing in his relationships. He could lead his mom in a complicated drum pattern but he could not follow her lead at all. If he was in charge, we were golden. If not, he fell off a relational cliff. Of course, this cut him off from peers and others. What a difference RDI and our model of parent led guiding made for him.RDI is a family program and the lives that are changed by parent empowerment motivates me every day. When parents feel empowered, their children benefit.
I can tell that you are a very creative person, how has this influenced your work with RDI?
You might be surprised that I don’t consider myself creative. But I do have a vision for my son and the children I see. So I take that vision and use it. If there is any creativity, the vision is the source. I think that finding hope, not in what is, but what can be is very important. We will only stay in one place if we can’t see ourselves in another.
What do you wish to see for the future of Autism therapies?
Soooo many things. But most of all parent involvement. We know that the children with the best outcomes have the parents that are on the floor playing with them, guiding them, helping them learn to learn, passing on what they as parents know. This is all children and it applies to children with ASD. We cannot hand our children over to some one to fix them. We end up with heart break if we do that. But we as parents have to have to be patient, thorough training and supervision. And that is what RDI has to offer.
Can you tell us a little about the “coffee with Kat” Webinar you are starting up?
I want to visit as a parent to parents about their concerns, their issues, their obstacles,. I hope to address topics that are relevant to us as parents in our every day lives. Our next coffee chat is about activities that every parent knows but get a mental block when it comes to “what to do”.
Because your name is Kat, how do you feel about cats?
I love cats. I’ve always owned a cat. Right now I have three, Baby, Queen Nefertiti, and Spot( because Spot is like a dog and follows me every where)My husband may love cats more than me, which is why I KNEW he was the ONE.
Kat Lee is a private consultant to families with children with autism, certified in Relationship Development Intervention (www.rdiconnect.com) a parent training and supervision program. She is passionate about helping parents learn to guide their children through a program designed specifically for families. She has been an RDI Program Certified Consultant for 9 years and is located in Dallas/Fort Worth. She see families both in Dallas/ Fort Worth, as well as from around the world. You can contact Kat at firstname.lastname@example.org