In the latest episode of RDIconnect’s podcast: ASD, A New Perspective, Dr. Gutstein discusses the MAIN obstacle that gets in the way for parents guiding their child with autism; an obstacle that can stop growth completely. Find out what that obstacle is and how RDI can help!

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Full Transcript

Kat Lee: Welcome back to ASD: A New Perspective. The podcast show where we help you understand what is going on in the mind of your child, and we do encourage you that growth for your child is possible. I’m Kat Lee and in today’s podcast, Dr. Gutstein discusses one of the major obstacles for parents. The obstacle that really puts a stop to things.

Dr. Gutstein: If you have a child with autism, I think, it’s not anything, it’s not their skills. You could talk to me all day about sensory stuff, perceptual stuff, motor stuff, blah blah blah. I’m not saying those aren’t important. They’re not the issue. The main obstacle, the main obstacle if you’re a parent is that that child is not coming to you with that excitement, with that motivation to grow. If you have that, then you can overcome all those other limitations. Those are limitations. The difference between an obstacle and a limitation, an obstacle totally stops growth from happening. It stops things. You’re stuck, you can’t move on.

Dr. Gutstein: Limitations, you have to be more mindful. You have to be more thoughtful, right? Child has sensory issues, motor, you know this, this, this, this, this and you have to be sometimes slow things down, right? But you can move forward with any limitation, you just have to be thoughtful about using your resources, right? But an obstacle means that you can’t. That you’re just stuck. That there’s nothing you can do. I think that many people in the field of autism, parents, professionals, they get so caught up in those skills or all those other limitations, that they ignore the major obstacle. So, there’s no progress because the child doesn’t develop that excitement, that being in the world, that presence of, “What’s next? Let’s move on, let’s move ahead.” And supplying all the energy to you.

Dr. Gutstein: You have any child that does that, I don’t care if they have intellectual disabilities, as I said, motor, sensory, you name it. Whether they’re missing legs, arms, whatever. You’re going to be able to guide them. They’re going to move. You’re going to look forward to it. They’re coming to you with that energy. I hope we can find a way to communicate that, not just to our families and our consultants, but to our community. It just doesn’t get discussed.

Kat Lee: I, as well, and I know you know how I feel about labels like high functioning and low functioning, because they really don’t mean anything where our work is concerned.

Dr. Gutstein: What it means to me is you have the motivation. Are you supplying the energy or not? Those other things, what other limitations you have, vulnerabilities you have, we want to know them. It’s not … Again, those are very important because we do personalize and customize, but if we don’t develop that motivation … Now, if we ignore the limitations that you have, then you’re not going to develop the motivation because we’re going to sit at the overwhelming environment. So, there’s a very strong interaction, but we have to see that the goal, the first goal, is developing that intrinsic, proceeding motivation. That that comes before anything else. And the reason that we’re interested in those other vulnerabilities is to set up the environment, right? So, that it’s not overwhelming or it’s not frightening or that it’s safe. That can provide the experiences that activate that inherent motivation that’s within all of us, right?

Dr. Gutstein: And that’s why we need to be carefully accessing those limitations and vulnerabilities, which by the way, change. You know? What’s a limitation or vulnerability when I do an ASD child that could be trouble with they’re two, may not be there at four, five or six or eight. Maybe not. I don’t assume any of those permanent or not permanent, unless it’s things obviously, if you’ve lost an arm of something like that. But for most every child, it’s where they are right now and that’s fine. We need to say, “What are the things that would make it too difficult right now for you to experience this?” So, we minimize those things. And we’ll bring them back, right? We’ll roll that up because that motivation, once it’s activated becomes very self-sustaining. And unless we put you in a situation where you’re completely overwhelmed, which is the danger when children start making progress, it’s going to keep growing.

Dr. Gutstein: It’s going to keep being there. So, then we have to make sure it’s sustained. It’s not deactivated, if you will. We don’t set up an overwhelming situation for those children. I hope we can emphasize how important that is because as you know, it’s something as a parent or grandparent we just take it for granted. It’s just there. It’s just the pleasure, the joy of it. Without it, it’s hard to imagine how you … We can’t imagine functioning in your role without it. It’s impossible. My parents don’t understand that. It’s impossible. Yeah, of course, you’re going to feel awful and crappy and incompetent, because it’s impossible. But the good news is if we help you and you let us help you to focus on that first, the things are going to get very possible and very exciting. It’s going to turn around and rather than feeling impossible and overwhelming and stressful, it’s going to feel exciting and you’re going to look forward to it. And energizing for you too, as a guide. You’re not exhausted.

Kat Lee: And thanks for joining us for ASD: A New Perspective. The podcast show where we help you understand what is going on in the mind of your child, and we encourage you that growth for your child is possible. I’m Kat Lee. See you next time.

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