This family story was shared with permission by RDI consultant, Prue Watson. Originally published in 2014.
My son Eban (6) and I have been doing RDI for almost 2 years now. He spends three days each week at his father’s place and I pick him up from school every Tuesday afternoon.
It’s always the same.
I say, “Hello” (very enthusiastically because I’ve missed him).
He says, “Hi” in the most deadpan voice.
I never take it personally because I know that by the next day, we will have re-connected and he will be an affectionate and different person. Just right now, surrounded by other people and having spent three days with his dad, who has no interest in doing RDI, this is all he can handle in that moment.
A few days ago, we were driving along and Eban said, “Mama you know how when I come back from papa’s place and I didn’t see you for 3 days, and you’re happy to see me but I don’t look happy and just say “Hi” like I don’t feel anything?” He continues, “well, I do feel happy to see you but the outside of me is not doing the same as the inside of me.”
I think back to who Eban was two years ago and how I was afraid to go out with him. How when he was upset, I could not reason with him and just had to hold him tight so he wouldn’t hurt us until he calmed down.
Now when Eban is angry and starts to hurt me, I can look him in the eye while touching him, and say “Eban, do you really want to hurt me?”
And he will stop and say, “No Mama” then I can help him redirect his feelings.
This was not our reality two years ago, and I feel so grateful for RDI. Through the love and dedication of our consultant Prue and myself, and with many, many, many small steps I have regained a relationship with my son and a better life for my family.
At first I chose RDI because it was the only therapy that taught that neural connections can be grown and the brain is not “A hard boiled egg” or without the ability to grow. Everything else I was offered was aimed at dealing with the symptoms of a diagnosis that was seen to be fixed and unchangeable. I loved the theory of RDI but in the beginning, I could not imagine what it would be like to see it work. I found it all very intellectual and frankly, did not trust it that much.
But….we kept going, and going, and going.
Have we arrived?
I do not know. I do know that connections continue to grow and I watch how I can instigate the growth and reinforce it. That once you make a path, it grows itself (the brain), in it’s own way and you can stand back and watch it go!
After seeing this in action, RDI works!
Thank you RDI,
Melanie (RDI parent)
Prue Watson (B. Occ. Thy. (UQ), Grad Dip Ed UNE) lives in Australia, has been an RDI Certified Consultant since 2007 and is the director of the RDI Professional Consultation Center in Australia. The focus of her Occupational Therapy practice is to provide Remediation of Autism Spectrum Disorders, including Autism, Asperger’s and associated diagnoses under the ASD umbrella through the implementation of the Relationship Development Intervention RDI® programme. Email Prue or visit her website.