Monday, January 01, 2007

an RDI glimpse for the new year


Happy 2007, everyone! May all your wishes and dreams for the new year come true! We're leaping into 2007 with enthusiasm! (See photo!)

Figured I'd start this morning by giving you a little glimpse into our RDI life from yesterday morning. This wasn't a planned activity, it just sort of happened, which is how all the best RDI opportunities seem to do. That's why they call it "lifestyle".

I woke up to find Jacob playing with a set of wooden blocks. When he was finished messing around with those, he moved on to building with his set of Zoobs. (Zoobs are an interconnective plastic building toy -- I'm going to start posting some of the stuff he builds with them on his art site. I have conflicted feelings about Zoobs, which I'll share in a future post maybe later today -- it's pouring rain and we have no plans to do anything much today.) But anyway, while he was doing that, I sat next to him and built a tall, fairly sturdy tower with the blocks, waiting for Zoo Boy and The Map Man to get up.

At about the time the rest of the household arose, I finished my tower, so I interupted Jacob's Zoob building fest so that we could all take turns chucking small blocks at the big tower, trying to knock it down. The tower was sturdy, so it took a bit of doing, but we all worked as a team, cheering each other on, taking turns, trying to aim our hits to help out the next person. When we finally felled the tower (I can't remember who delivered the final blow), it fell in a dramatic pile of rubble and we all cheered and celebrated our victory over blocks.

How the heck is that RDI, you ask?

Well, this one simple activity incorporated all of our previous RDI work. Regulation (I throw, you throw), Master-Apprentice (I set the rules for the game, Jacob followed them), Stage 1 (emotion sharing -- enjoying the activity together, celebrating our victory), Stage 2 (referencing -- checking in with each other to make sure we know it's that person's turn, and that we're going to take it, and that we're all ready to watch and cheer), Stage 3 (coordinating actions -- taking turns, cheering together), Stage 4 (variations -- we used different shape and color blocks to do our smashing), Stage 5 (reversals and transformation -- we were knocking down blocks rather than building with them), Stage 6 (co-regulation -- turn taking without being reminded, being OK whether or not the blocks fell, reciprical conversation and exchange of ideas as to where to aim the next throw, general social chit-chat throughout the activity, being OK with -- and actually enjoying -- failure so that the next person got a turn).

And this was also a rudimentary collaboration (Stage 8) activity. While we're not actually targeting Stage 8 objectives yet, our Stage 6 (Co-regulation) activities seem to be naturally morphing into more collaboration type stuff. Which is cool, that's the way it's supposed to work, and is why you never truly start from ground zero with the RDI stages -- by the time you hit mastery of one stage, stuff from the higher stages are starting to form naturally without even putting any effort into it. Then when you actually GET to that stage, it's just a matter of fine-tuning the objectives (which then lays the ground work for the natural development of future stages). It's sort of a like a big puzzle, which is why I think that puzzle piece that Autism organizations use is so appropriate -- not only does it signify the many pieces that cause Autism, but it's also a good image about how Remediation takes place, one piece at a time, always building on the rest of the picture.

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