Monday, November 20, 2006

the big one -- Stage 4

Fall of 2005 had come, and Stage 3 had been mastered. Jacob started back to school (in pre-K for the 2nd year in a row, there because I petitioned for him to repeat rather than go on to Kindergarten). It was time for what we refered to as "the main event" around here - Stage 4.

Stage 4 is Variations. It was a daunting task -- for mastery, he had to not only TOLERATE variations/change, but also had to ENJOY and even PREFER variations to the way things were usually done. Up to this point, Jacob had absolutely no tolerance for doing anything other than the way it had always been done, refused to try new things, and pushing the matter was sure to cause an ugly meltdown. He needed to transform from the World's Most Inflexible Child into Mr. Go-With-the-Flow. We knew the road ahead of us was long, winding, bumpy, and potentially full of man-eating potholes.

To be fair, we'd already been working on the teeny tiny first tippy-toe steps into Stage 4 by adding ever-so-subtle variety to our RDI activities with Jacob. So he was primed to get working on this stage. We held our breath and dove in.

It wasn't pretty at first. In fact, it wasn't pretty for quite awhile. But it got better. And several months into the stage, I attended the 4-day RDI Parent Training Workshop which helped me get over my "fear of the big meltdown", after which we really started making some headway with Stage 4. (More on the 4-day program tomorrow.)

I'm planning on spending the bulk of the rest of this month talking about the year we spent working on Stage 4 and 5 (which, due to my confusion, I wound up working on together -- more on that later, too). After which I'll be all caught up on our past and can start focusing on what's going on with our Autism Remediation program now, and get more into our day-to-day life with RDI.


At 2:40 AM, Anonymous ST said...

Harvest Mom,
I was googling for RDI and came across your site and now have it bookmarked, you have a ton of information that is so useful for someone like me trying to figure out what course to take. My 2 and a half year old has been dx'ed with autism and we are trying to wade thru all the information available on the internet. RDI from what I have read makes most sense for me. We have scheduled appts with two certified consultants. How did you decide which consultant to go with, was it a gut feeling, are there questions that you need to ask, since this is such a new field how do we know which consultant is better.
The other question is if you do RDI do you have to keep the child at home, because both of us work fulltime and lil Sid goes to a day care where he seems to follow directions and they don't suspect anything, they just think he is shy and an introvert. I am guessing if he is home with one of us fulltime he can learn the RDI stages faster, at the day care he might just get more confused !

Thanks for your time and the valuable information you provide.

At 6:28 AM, Blogger Harvest Mom said...

ST, I did a post on how we chose our consultant earlier this month, but in short, I spoke with both of the consultants I was considering on the phone and went with the one who I generally "liked" the best (the one whose personality I seemed to click with). The Certification process is pretty strenuous, so you really can't go too wrong with any of the RDI Program Certified Consultants -- they all are educated on RDI to a very high degree and I can't imagine there's a bad one in the bunch. (If there was, they wouldn't be certified! The Connections Center is pretty picky about who they'll let run their program!)

As for having to have the child home full-time, it's not a requirement, but of course, the more RDI time you are able to spend, the sooner you are going to see results. Dr. Gutstein always says the most important thing if you must have your child cared for/educated outside your home is to make sure that the school is doing no damage. Damage would be anything that is in conflict with an RDI program. So ideally, the child staying at home with a parent is going to yield the best results, because you can work on RDI lifestyle all day long, and there's no chance of damage from outside sources because you are controlling everything. Next best I think would be a child care worker trained in RDI in your home, next best after that a child-care working trained in RDI outside your home. But the situation that a lot of folks are in is that both parents MUST work full-time, so there are some tough choices to be made, and it's quite difficult to find the right school setting.

In our case, we rearranged our schedule so that I only work the hours my husband is home,and we've chosen to go into some pretty massive debt over all this. We figure that we've got the rest of our lives to dig ourselves out of the hole we're digging now. We figure these first 5-10 years of Jacob's development are just so important, it's worth any sacrifice to make sure that his future is as promising as any child's. But that's not a choice that everyone is going to be comfortable making, it's just what we decided made sense for our family.

I wish you much luck with your journey, and I encourage you to join one of the general RDI support groups on Yahoo Groups and ask your questions there, there are a lot of folks in the same boat that can provide ideas and insight.

At 9:11 AM, Anonymous kyra said...

stage 4 and 5 together sounds like it was quite a journey for you guys. can' wait to hear more details. it will fortify us for our trek through stage 3!!


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