My son Nat was diagnosed with moderate autism when he was three. Back then, I knew something was not right with him but I wasn’t sure what exactly. So his diagnosis was in a way a relief. We finally knew what the problem was and that he needed help. It was clear to me from day one that RDI was the obvious choice as it is a parent based intervention program. For me, it didn’t make any sense to hand him over to ‘experts’ when we as parents can be empowered to guide and help him
Before we started on RDI, Nat was afraid of new environments. For example, at the playground, he would not dare to slide down by himself, he did not try other play features like swings and climbing structures. At his previous kindergarten, he could not cope with the dynamic environment and he would walk off to be by himself. He could not take instructions from his teachers. At home, he would run away when we offered him a new activity.
Today, Nat is five and a half years old. He enjoys new playgrounds, going for school excursions. He welcomes variety and novelty in activities. Nat is now in a Montessori environment. His teachers are delighted with his progress and at how far he has come. He can focus, manage his attention and receive guidance from his teachers now. His two way communication is in the emergent stage. Let me give an example of a two way dialogue. We were in a car. The front windscreen was covered with tree sap. (We had not encountered this situation before) I turn on the windscreen wipers but the sap smears all over and there’s no improvement
Me: “Oh dear, what should I do now?”
Nat: “Let the rain wash it away”
We are also very encouraged to see that he is starting to initiate play and communication with his classmates.
A snippet of his dynamic thinking in action
One time, I told Nat that I was so hungry and that my tummy was rumbling. Nat replied “Mummy is so hungry, you have tummy ache, you need to eat so much food”. This is meaningful as it comes from himself and not a scripted response.
Personally, I feel the greatest challenge is to remember to slow down. There is so much to be done everyday that it is not easy to remember that it is by slowing down that I can help Nat. In our daily life, there will be problems or opportunities for dynamic thinking that will arise. When
I slow down I am able to recognize the opportunity, he is given time to think and the chance to develop his dynamic thinking.
Charmaine Lee is currently a RDI consultant in training. She feels privileged to be a mother to Nathanael as the journey has been enriching and deeply meaningful. This is because she and her husband have seen first hand the benefits RDI has brought to her son and their family . She hopes to empower other families to help their children and welcomes families who feels the same way to work with her. Please visit her website at remediation-sg.com for more information.