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RDI® Program Services

Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®) is a parent-based autism therapy that goes beyond treating the symptoms of autism to addressing the “root” of the disorder itself. The focus is centered on those things that will make the biggest difference in your child’s ability to communicate, have friends, and enjoy independence. Paulette will teach you how to change your communication and interaction style to set up safe (but challenging) opportunities for your child to make mental discoveries. Through this process you will:

  • Fill in the developmental gaps that your child missed the first time around that cause challenges in daily life
  • Build a stronger connection with your child
  • Manage/resolve difficult behaviours and build your child’s ability to regulate him or herself

Frequently Asked Questions about the RDI® Program

Is RDI® an appropriate choice for my child?

RDI is a developmental therapy suitable for children of all ages and abilities. Regardless of where they fall on the spectrum, regardless of their language abilities, all children with ASD share the same gaps in their early development. The RDI program is also used to assist families of children with other neurological disabilities.

Why do I need a Certified Consultant to participate in the RDI® Program?

Certified RDI Consultants are specifically trained to guide parents to fill in the developmental “gaps” that children with autism have. Autism is a complex disorder that looks very different in each child. Paulette’s training and experience allow her to identify your child’s priorities and keep your guiding strategies on track so your child’s progress will continually move forward.

I do not live close to an RDI® Consultant. Am I still able to carry out an RDI® program?

It is entirely possible to carry out a successful RDI program from a distance with infrequent in-person meetings. Phone or webcam meetings can replace the majority of office visits. RDI makes use of an online system to facilitate parent-consultant communication.

Is an RDI Program solely for social development?

Children who are involved in an RDI program make socials gains but RDI is not strictly social based. It is a program that identifies and works to fill in those developmental steps that children have missed in their early years. Because it is a “re-do” of development, emotional and cognitive goals are targeted as well.

What will an RDI® Program look like in our family?

RDI is a parent based autism therapy. It will give you the knowledge and ability to support and guide your child in his or her development. It is different from other approaches where professionals work directly with the child.

RDI programs look different in different families. The uniqueness of your family will dictate how and when you interact with your child but the underlying process is the same. You will learn how to set up opportunities for your child to learn what he or she has missed. These opportunities are built into specific one-on-one interactions with your child. They are also built into the style of guiding you will learn to incorporate into any interaction you have with your child whether it’s spontaneous or planned.

What kind of results can I expect to see?

When parents learn to guide their child to fill in missing developmental “gaps”, remarkable things happen:

  • Children learn their parents are their guides and they look to them for support
  • The emotional connection between parent and child grows stronger
  • Children make true progress on the developmental path
  • Behaviours children previously relied on to deal with the confusion and uncertainty of life are no longer needed and subside or disappear
  • Parenting becomes easier
  • Family life normalizes

Can RDI® strategies be used in my child’s school environment?

Paulette is a qualified teacher with experience supporting families who have children in a classroom setting as well as those who homeschool their children. In classroom settings, she is available to work with school staff to determine the strategies that will work best to support their overall learning (including but not limited to academics). In homeschooling situations, she is able to guide you to customize your child’s learning based on what is developmentally appropriate.

What is the best way to learn more about RDI®?

The most current resource, The RDI Book: Forging New Pathways for Autism, Asperger’s and PDD with the Relationship Development Intervention Program, is an excellent way to learn more about RDI.

The RDI DVD, Going to the Heart of Autism, is another good resource. It is a comprehensive look at the core deficits of autism and how they are addressed with the RDI Program.

Is there any government funding available to support an RDI® program?

While government funding for RDI programs is available in other provinces (Alberta and British Columbia), at this point the Ontario Government does not fund RDI programs. I do have some information on partial funding options that may be available to your family and would be happy to discuss this with you.