Scientist’s Conclusions Affirm RDI®’s Approach

The following was submitted by RDI® consultant Crystal Luk in our professional Zone Forums.

Recently an interesting article has circulated around the web titled, “The Boy Whose Brain Could Unlock Autism“.

There are some suggestions at the end of the article about how to treat autistic children that are consistent with what we do in RDI®.

RDI® Concepts Are Confirmed by Science

The following are the quotes directly from the article.

RDI Concept: Regulate, Challenge & Recover (RCR)

“So far, Kamila says, the data looks promising. Unexpected novelty seems to make the rats worse—while the patterned, repetitive, and safe introduction of new material seems to cause improvement.”

RDI Concept: Edge + 1


“Research shows, in fact, that everyone learns best when receiving just the right dose of challenge—not so little that they’re bored, not so much that they’re overwhelmed; not in the comfort zone, and not in the panic zone, either. That sweet spot may be different in autism. But according to the Markrams, it is different in degree, not kind.”

RDI Concept: Boundary Setting


“Markram suggests providing a gentle, predictable environment. ‘It’s almost like the fourth trimester,’ he says.

RDI Concept: Quiet Environment & Less Language


To prevent the circuits from becoming locked into fearful states or behavioral patterns you need a filtered environment from as early as possible,” Markram explains. “I think that if you can avoid that, then those circuits would get locked into having the flexibility that comes with security.” 

“Creating this special cocoon could involve using things like headphones to block excess noise, gradually increasing exposure and, as much as possible, sticking with routines and avoiding surprise. If parents and educators get it right’, he concludes, ‘I think they’ll be geniuses.’ ” 

Certainly, we need to do more than just use headphones, gradually increasing exposure, sticking with routines and avoiding surprise. We need to use RCR, inserting challenge in a regular pattern, use experience sharing language, providing Edge+1 challenge and working on the child’s episodic memory.


Crystal Luk is an RDI® Certified Program consultant based in Alberta, Canada. To contact Crystal: crystalluk@shaw.ca 

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