Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Spotlighting is a very important part of the RDI process. This is something that you do that helps the child encode the important part of an experience. (The important part being something that matches your current RDI obejctives.) A hesitation in your speaking, stuttering your words, gasping, clearing your throat, a smile, an excited squeal -- any of these can be spotlighting. So, for example, if I wanted to spotlight a shared gaze, I might freeze my face in a big smile for a second or two and take a quick breath before continuing on with whatever it is that we're doing.

Here's a real-life example of how I spotlighted a regulation (R-C-R) activity with Jacob. I would sing the row-row-row-your-boat song, sitting across from Jacob and pulling him towards me, then letting him pull me back towards him. I would occassionally toss in a very slight variation (challenge), like raising my hands while I pulled him towards me. To spotlight the change (challenge) I would pause the action for a second with an anticipatory look on my face, then continue. That would become our new pattern. Then after a few rounds of doing that, I would add another slight variation (challenge), like raising one hand higher than the other, or pulling him more with one hand than the other, or squeezing his hands while I pulled, etc. Each time I added the challenge, I would spotlight it the first time I did it. This way he saw the challenge as the important part of the activity.

Sometimes the challenge was too much for him and he started melting down. When that happened I immediately returned to the regulation pattern we had last used and kept that up until he settled in again before adding another challenge. I definitely found that there were times that he was more open to doing these sorts of activities, and times that would foster more meltdowns. First thing in the morning after waking, late in the afternoon, and before bedtime were all pretty awful times to try to do any sort of organized activity. Mid-morning, early afternoon, and after dinner were good times to work on focused activities with him, as he was more attentive and emotionally stable during those periods. It would seem to make sense that when a child is hungry or tired would not be a good time to try to get anything accomplished, and kids with Autism are no different in that department! Posted by Picasa


At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Henry's Mom said...

Wow, what a great blog! Thank you so much for putting it out there, being so honest, and providing great information on RDI. (you write well - maybe you should considering putting this in a book?) As a mom of a 4 1/2-yr old boy with autism, we also felt that RDI seemed to "speak" to us more than many of the other therapies, and we are in the process of getting started and about to embark on our RDI adventure! I will be sure to check in with your site for new ideas and recommend it to others who are interested in RDI. Thanks again for sharing your experience.


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