Following is a letter from Ann, a mom who works with RDI Certified Consultant, Michelle Broeckelman and was originally published in 2012.
Hello RDI Friends:
I would love to share with you how much I love being an RDI parent.
Anna was born nine weeks premature. She had a chest tube and was on a ventilator her first few days of life. In addition, she was on oxygen for several months after she came home from the NICU. Anna was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at the age of four. Prior to her diagnoses, she had difficulty transitioning, poor eye contact and very little expressive language.
Despite these difficulties, Anna had a large vocabulary and was learning everything appropriate for her age and more. At the age of two she knew her alphabet, colors, and by the age three she was moving on to states and their capitols. Funny thing, she never called me “Mom.” I started to notice a problem at age two when she was not adding more words.
By the time age three rolled around, my pediatrician still was not concerned. However, she felt if it would make me feel better, I should have her tested at the local public school. I did and guess what? She passed. I said are you sure.? They said she had more than enough language to complete the evaluation. I decided to put her in language therapy at a local university with their speech and language program. This was the avenue to receiving our diagnosis.
As Anna worked with her pathologist, they suggested I take her to a neurologist for an evaluation. Based on my testimony, he was sure she had PDD-NOS. Ironically, he failed to tell me PDD-NOS fell on the autism spectrum. I went home and Googled the diagnosis and then disappointment came over me. There went all my hopes and dreams, or at least that is what I felt at the time. I had no idea, PDD-NOS meant a child with autism.
Like most parents, after receiving a diagnosis you go to the internet and search and read every possible website you can find on autism. Further, you read every book from your local library. I have no idea how I stumbled upon the RDI website but I knew this was my program. I knew I could stop searching. I was home. My foster parents, Dr.’s Sheeley and Gustein were there researching and bringing new hope for parents that are lost and confused in the autism world.
I met with my consultant, Michelle Broeckelman and together we built a really nice relationship. She taught me how to rebuild a relationship with my daughter through co-regulation. Since, I have started RDI, I have made a lot of changes, I have slowed the pace down, I am at home with Anna and I have also started homeschooling her. I feel the best thing I can give Anna is my time. Time is something she was not receiving in the classroom. We use declarative language and statements. I am always amazed at what Anna gives me back.
A long time ago, Anna never said or called me mom, now I can happily say, there is not a day that goes by that I do not hear her call me mom. Also, eye contact is no longer an issue. She is engaged and happy. I can tell her no and it is not going to be a melt down. I no longer fear for her future.
Currently Anna is being home-schooled by me. She is in the second grade and takes, piano, violin and voice lessons. She wants to grow up and be a musician or a contestant on American Idol.
Some days I may get discouraged but those days are few and far between. I no longer have to take a bag of tricks to keep Anna occupied. She can “go with the flow.” Also, I see more neurotypical child moments and that makes me happy for Anna. Blessings to all of you; what ever your faith-remember to keep it.