Monday, November 13, 2006

the 2-day workshop

We had purchased and viewed the RDI video when we first found out about RDI, and had found it to be incredibly confusing. I had eagerly awaited the release of the DVD (Going to the Heart of Autism), then immediately purchased a copy when it was available. It was so much more understandable and in-depth than the video, I was immediately glad that we owned it. Then I had learned bushels from our RDI Certified Program Consultant at our RDA. But nothing was to prepare me for how much inspiration, motivation, and clarification of the whole program would be gleaned by attending the 2-day Introductory RDI Workshop, which I did in June (or was it July?) of 2005.

First of all, nothing beats seeing Dr. Gutstein speak in person. He's charismatic, funny, and outrageously intelligent. And he oozes optimism and hope from every pore. He makes all those mystical scientific terms seem like the obvious. He gave our RDI program a kick in the pants from across the many rows of seats in front of me.

The video clips shown during the workshop are pure gold. They show kids that looked like mine at the beginning of our RDI program. Then they showed those same kids after a couple years of RDI. You wouldn't recognize them! I kept thinking "that's Jacob in another couple of years!" (Best part is, I was right!!) It made my heart soar!

Our living situation prevented the Map Man from being able to attend the workshop, so I brought my mother along with me. (The Map Man attended a 2-day workshop this past summer, along with his mother.) She too was blown away by both the presenter and the program, but had a different conclusion than I did about the whole thing. On the way home she gave accolaids to the program and its creators, but then added "I can't do it." That's OK, I thought. I can.

The biggest thing I came away with was the commitment to truly make RDI our lifestyle. At the time, we were just starting work on Stage 3, and I was rushing through my daily chores to get to a point where I had time to spend with Jacob "doing" RDI. From the moment I left the workshop, I abandoned that way of thinking, and starting the very next day, I simply made Jacob a part of everything I did. We "did" RDI while making breakfast, while loading the dishwasher, while sweeping the floor, while emptying the trash. It was an effort -- I had to sit down and think about how I was going to scaffold each chore so that Jacob could be successful at it AND have a real part in it. But it was only an effort for the first 6 months or so -- after that it just became a part of how I lived my life.

RDI was no longer just an Autism remediation program for us. It was about how we parented our kids, how we related to one another, and how we lived our moments day to day. It was about remediating our entire family.

As RDI has evolved, so too has the 2-day workshop. The Map Man tells me that much of what I learned at the workshop I attended, just a year earlier, was outdated. Research into Autism has continued, and RDI has kept pace. That's one of the great things about it -- it doesn't just rest on it's successes. It strives to keep on improving, to all of our benefit. Fortunately we are able to keep up with on-line resources such as e-groups, message boards, live chats, and the Connections Center newsletter. RDI is on the cutting edge in more ways than one. Posted by Picasa

3 Comments:

At 2:53 AM, Blogger Cecily said...

I loved what you said about remediating your entire family. I can see that happening for us too! Already I am so challenged about my attitude to my children which is basically - get on and do your thing so you can leave me to get on with my thing! I think RDI is going to be good for all of us. So the autism is a blessing in disguise! Wow - never thought I'd say that.
Cecily

 
At 2:53 AM, Blogger Cecily said...

I loved what you said about remediating your entire family. I can see that happening for us too! Already I am so challenged about my attitude to my children which is basically - get on and do your thing so you can leave me to get on with my thing! I think RDI is going to be good for all of us. So the autism is a blessing in disguise! Wow - never thought I'd say that.
Cecily

 
At 11:10 AM, Anonymous kyra said...

i remember the two day! i'm so glad i got to see dr. g. present at both conferences. he is so inspiring and brilliant!

 

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