This article was written by RDI Consultant Kathy Darrow. You can read the original here. 

I recently encountered parents who told me that they had been through “parent training”. These parents are also interested in RDI but they see that it is also parent training and they wanted to know, “what would be the difference?”

I figured I would write a blog post to those interested in RDI but not sure of the parent training component and how that fits into your lifestyle.

Its true, RDI is huge on parent education…but it’s with a twist. This twist is what is unique.

We are not looking at instructing parents what to do when behavior “X, Y and Z” happens but with RDI’s parent education, we look past the behavior, to the meaning behind it.

The purpose of RDI education/training is not because we feel like you need training on how to be a parent/mom/dad; you are your child’s biggest advocate and you know your child the best! Here is how I see it:

  • I help impart my knowledge of Autism, to the parent
  • RDI is a mindset shift into the “why” behind outward behaviors
  • We dig deeper into what is really going on: whether it be lack of child apprenticeship, lack of experience sharing/sharing others perspectives, and using hindsight and foresight together to make sense of the world through experiences.

Just think for a moment what your day to day would be like if you could not reach back into your past experiences to make any decisions, present or future. Not only would this be a very scary mindset to live in, anxiety would set in and usually leads to behavior issues, all a symptom of a deficit that stems from autism. No wonder kids with ASD want to keep everything the same!! That uncertainty is hard to understand when you cannot reach back and remember previous successful times and experiences.

So our Parent Education is about defining what autism actually is, getting to the core of the obstacles it presents, and not just putting a “bandaid” on behavior management. This leaves much more space for authentic interactions where you and your child can enjoy the time together!


Kathy has over 16 years experience in the field of Autism, which includes 11 years in RDI®, first as a parent then 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 was miraculous with her children on the spectrum, but as a family affair as parents and siblings. Being handed the poor prognosis those years ago, she never gave up searching for what their boys needed. As she turned to RDI® on a professional level it has been exciting to watch as 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, school and homeschool, as well as long distance families (multiple U.S. states and oversees).

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