This post was written by RDI consultant Dr. Jeanne Green
I came across RDI somewhat by accident. My daughter, who was diagnosed with moderate-to-severe autism at two and a half, had been in an ABA program for about eighteen months. Through this, she acquired skills, began to use words, all the things that she was supposed to do in her program.
My daughter was an ABA superstar. But she was not connecting with me, her dad, brother or anybody else in her life. She didn’t know how to communicate with her friends. She wasn’t competent, flexible, or resilient. But according to her providers, she was finished. They had nothing else to offer my family or my daughter.
There Had to Be More
I knew though, that she still was very much at risk. That her future quality of life would not be what it could be. I kept looking for something that was out there that would help. That was when I found RDI. From the time we started the FCP, I knew this was what my family needed.
Through our work in the Family Consultation Program, our family, and daughter made great progress. I saw my daughter unfold into a little self that had competence, flexibility, and resilience. I saw her go through the developmental milestones she had missed the first time. I witnessed her quality of life improve, and ours as a family did as well. Through this journey, I acquired a passion for RDI. It gave me so much more than I had even hoped for and It was such a contrast from what I had known before in a world where skills were all that mattered.
Related: 100 Improvements Since RDI
Sharing RDI with Others
Having gone through the FCP, I felt that the knowledge about autism and development and the unique perspective I had acquired could be beneficial to families in my geographical area. I had gone for so long with my daughter in the “only game in town” (ABA) with limited success and knew that other families in my area needed to know there was a better way.
I heard a prayer inside my heart that said to start working with families as a consultant. I felt very strongly that if parents were only exposed to the principles of RDI, that some would choose this as the pathway to autism remediation. My little girl continues to amaze me and I am so proud of her. She plays, learns, laughs and runs with the rest of her peers. She repairs breakdowns in communication when they occur. She has friends and is a good friend to them while protecting herself and looking out for her best interest. She is figuring it out. She is in a regular K5 classroom with no supports and her teachers are totally unaware of her diagnosis. It is all due to RDI.
As we continue to work with our consultant as well as work with families, I learn more and more and this fuels, even more, my passion for RDI. My daughter’s diagnosis has completely changed who I am – for the better.