RDI Mom Martha Balcazar shares how RDI changed her family.
We’ve been doing RDI for over 2.5 years. Back then, if you had asked me, I’d have said I knew how to communicate with my son. I knew he was smart and I talked, giving him endless explanations about everything. I thought that was a good thing!
Before starting RDI, we had been doing ABA for 2 years. We saw good results at first but then it felt like we hit a wall, and my once happy boy wasn’t anymore. He had turned frustrated, angry, inflexible, all things we hadn’t really seen in him before. I started modifying his ABA program, which helped. I asked for him not to be forced to do anything and to always respect when he said no. I also asked our team not to touch him, since playfully or strictly, his ABA therapist was “helping” him get to his room and the frustration was obvious in my son. All this helped but still I felt completely stuck. I had been told he needed to comply, and I had changed his therapy so much that it didn’t look like ABA anymore, yet my sweet boy was very angry most of the time, even hitting people.
I remember that first chat with our RDI consultant, when I found out my son wasn’t the only one growing frustrated and that RDI could help us.
It was very hard for me to reduce spoken communication at first. The videos were hard; I found myself frequently in my head trying not to talk! It was very interesting to see how this communication worked so well. Then everything got better. My son stopped hitting, which was a huge deal. RDI has taught us the amazing value that a slow response can have, the whole “slowing down” seemed to be exactly what my son needed and as he started being able to get more from our communication, he was also able to communicate better. His frustration slowly shrank down to the point of him being able to explain some difficulties and say what would help. This is amazing for us and I enjoy it so much when he can calmly tell me what bothers him and if there’s something we can do about it.
RDI has shaped our relationship as a family and has helped us function as a real team. We went through a rough patch with school, but thanks to RDI my son was able to know I’m in his team, always. So despite the high anxiety and stress that kindergarten brought, we were able to move on. We’re now homeschooling, which is a great chance to put RDI into practice, and I have a sweet and loving boy, who still gets frustrated (but not nearly as much) and who resolves problems appropriately.
Martha Balcazar lives in Canada with her husband, son, and their dog Jack.