This month I had the pleasure of interviewing Prue Watson as our featured consultant.
Hi Prue. Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me about your journey with RDI. Why don’t we start by you telling me what made you decide to become a consultant?
I was looking around for a more effective way in working with children and parents and stumbled across RDI! Well, one of my parents stumbled across it and wanted to know what I thought about it. So, that’s how it all came about! I went to a workshop Dr G had held in Brisbane in 2005 and listened to how he was explaining why and how he had worked with Neelie through his parents – and watched the clips – and that was it!
I decided to inquire about the training. Once I adjusted from the news that I needed to go to Houston I made my mind up that it was what I had been looking for.
Tell us about your experience as a consultant.
There is lots to take on and adjust thinking around this model and understanding the process, including technological challenges andb eing prepared to use new ways. I have really loved the challenge on RDI in being a consultant, as I like variety! Now I am committed to helping more people have access to RDI training through the Training Centre in Australia. RDI has made me a better OT and I know it suits many families.
Tell us more about how RDI has influenced you as an occupational therapist
It certainly has improved my practice as an OT because RDI is about the process not the product. Being more mindful as a Guide allows a more engaging and collaborative relationship with parents and children. Slowing down and using more Indirect Influence in Communication strengthens the OT process.
So, if you had to pick one thing, what would you say is your favorite part about being a consultant?
I guess being able to offer a way forward for parents to be the drivers of their child’s future. It’s much better than the therapy model I used to use. I like learning new ways to think and gain satisfaction from seeing how the experience of RDI impacts for families. I love receiving messages about the ah ha moments from parents!
Can you tell us a little about the RDI “scene” in Australia or especially Queensland?
In Australia there are currently 20 Certified RDI Consultants and 4 Consultants in training, for a Population of 23 Million, so there is room to grow!! Of the 6 states and 2 territories RDI is represented in all 6 states and 1 territory.
I guess that huge need is one of the factors to you opening a training Center. Tell us a little about your upcoming training?
This will be the third round of training held in Australia so I am excited to be in this position. It has been a slow development as I think it takes time for people to make their decision that this is what they want for their professional development. Offering it in different Australian locations is designed to spread the word around and give people opportunity to attend training more in their own local area. Much better than traveling to Houston for training, although then they don’t get to meet Dr g and Dr S in person. I will be running a Part 2 Advanced training event also this year in Melbourne and that may bring both Trainees and Consultants together I hope to share experiences and develop new networks. I am also now beginning to work on training events in 2015.
Is there a moment that sticks out in your mind when you saw RDI really affect a client?
When I heard from a parent that the family had just been out for lunch at a restaurant for the first time with all the family, both parents and all three children. That was a first time in 5 years that they had been able to do that! One of their older children remarked that ‘it was fun to all go out together, can we do it again?”
Do you see autism therapies changing in the following years? If so,how?
I think with rising costs of everything it is important to give parents more tools so they can take on their role of helping their child more directly – which is exactly what RDI is aimed at doing. So I would hope for Less External Sourcing and More value for Money Training for Parents
Do you have any advice for people interested in working as a consultant?
Well, be open to the potentials for yourself as a professional. RDi gives you scope to be more effective and helps you empower parents.
Look at this clip
(From a recent Consultant in Training Experience Maddi shares her thoughts)
Lastly, I have heard that the wildlife can sometimes be extreme in Rockhampton, has a dingo ever made off with a member of your family?
Well funny you should ask that question!
I was camping some time back on Fraser Island – the world’s largest sand island off the Queensland Coast. At night and when away from camp you are required to lock eskys [ice boxes] and food away and don’t leave anything out that can be lifted by the dingos. Well this night a bag had been left out and during the night a dingo had run off with it. Unfortunately it had been a day pack that I had left my prescription glasses in – so in the morning here we are hunting through the bush looking for the pack. Eventually it was spotted way up on a sand dune – so we had to hike up and keeping a lookout for the glasses on the way. Fortunately when we got to the bag it had been dismantled but luckily the dingo didn’t need the glasses so had left them alone, after having a bit of a chew!! Now that would have been an interesting report to write on the Insurance claim – How a Dingo ate my Glasses!!
Over the past few years Dingos have been getting a bit of a bad reputation because of how tourists have encouraged them and fed then, so disrupting their natural foraging and clan behaviours. There have had some significant incidents that have caused some extreme culling methods to be applied to keep the tourists safe. My view is that the tourists should be limited to keep the dingos safe. The Dingo identified culprits have been taken out by culling, further disrupting the natural social order and clan control of the pack. So now the dingos have been fenced off to keep them away from tourist areas. Something not quite right here!
You can check out Prue’s Awesome website here: http://www.pruewatson-ot.com.au/
Prue Watson is an Occupational Therapist as well as an RDI certified consultant
She is the Director of RDI Australian Training Center www.connectandrelateforautism.com.au