Sunday, December 17, 2006

Stage 6 -- Co-Regulation

In November we started looking at the Stage 6 objectives. Stage 6 is entitled "Co-Regulation", and is described as the child prefering "shared activities where he/she acts as a partner to add variations, while both partners equally maintain coordination through ongoing referencing and regulation". This is the stage that pulls together the skills from all 5 of the previous stages, so it's a pretty important one. And not surprisingly, if the child has had good mastery and generalization of the previous stages, they're going to come into Stage 6 with a lot of the skills already emerging.

I knew early on in the month that Jacob was looking pretty good with co-regulation, but we tested out the various skills with an eye towards making sure he really had them down. We ran races with ourselves and toys, with the rules constantly changing (we took turns changing them) so that our goal was different, our start/end point was different, the way we moved was different (hopping or spinning or rolling). We sang songs and changed them up quite a bit. We marched around in different ways. We built towers together, we built them seperately but at the same time. We built all sorts of stuff together. Throughout everything we did, I kept trying to be "tricky", but there was no tricking him, he did what he needed to do to stay coordinated with me. We were able to successfully play board games for the first time without having to scaffold the rules for him to keep up -- he could finally keep track of when his turn was, which direction his piece was moving, and where he was in relation to the rest of us in the game. Co-regulation is a WONDERFUL thing!

And I did a lot of just sitting back and observing him with other kids. I watched him playing on the playground, dancing at music class, playing ball with his father, playing pretend games with Zoo Boy. This is the stage that I finally saw him start to take an equal role in his interactions with others. Prior to this, his play with other kids was mostly him following their lead. Suddenly, I was seeing him not only intiate the interaction, but he also started running the show on occassion. And the more he plays with other kids, the stronger his Stage 6 skills get. This is the stage where I could finally sit back and enjoy a nice hot cup of tea and bask in the glory of our success!

I think we're pretty much "there" with Stage 6, though we're going to keep on working on it for awhile, while we start looking at Stage 7 objectives. One area he's still having problems with is being able to generate original variations on his own from scratch -- he's able to seemlessly use variations that are "standard" things we've used before, and he can also easily make choices from a list of possibilities, but coming up with something completely on his own is still a big challenge for him. So we need to work through that by strengthening his sense of self (self-awareness) and by working on his appraisal skills (his ability to assess a situation). I'll talk more about how we're working on that tomorrow.

The RDI stages are starting to get a little blurry -- it's becoming obvious how much work we're doing on higher stages without even intending on it, now that his brain is developing in a more dynamic manner, it's opening all sorts of previously obscured avenues, and we're taking little side trips down them all the time. For instance, I can already see how some of our "stage 6 work" has started morphing into Stage 8 (Collaboration) type stuff. At the same time, the RDI Stages themselves are going through a metamorphasis, as the "new" version of RDI prepares to be launched sometime after the first of the year. I don't know all the details, I just know it will be somewhat differently set up than it is now. I anticipate that we'll have to go back and fill in some "holes", so keeping track of stages at this point seems almost silly. And there's enough important RDI work for us to do right now without having to worry about which stage it currently fits into anyway.

In the meantime, in celebration of finally catching up to where we are now with our RDI program, here's a photo of Jacob teaching Zoo Boy how to catch snowflakes on his tongue during our first measurable snowfall of the season a week or two ago. Since then it's warmed up to record high temperatures, so that snow didn't last more than a day, but it gave us all a taste of the fun that lies ahead -- this is the first year that Jacob's shown interest in being out in the snow, and there's a whole winter world of fun and developmental opportunities to introduce him to in the months ahead!


At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jacob's mom, I am so very happy for you. Your website is very helpful for those of us starting to wade into RDI. It also gives me positive vibes just reading all this stuff that you are acheiving with Jacob. I have my son's RDA starting tomorrow. My biggest concern for my son is he seems disconnected to his world at times, so when you talk to him he doesn't respond. When he is engrossed in his favorite activities he doesn't seem to be aware that another world exists around him. Did you see something of this sort with Jacob in the beggining ? Was it an RDI stage or the OT that helped you more with this?

At 6:27 PM, Blogger Harvest Mom said...

Yes, Jacob most definitely was like this before we began RDI, and it most definitely was the RDI that helped, as we didn't start OT with him until Stage 4: the tuning us out was gone prior to Stage 3.


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