Friday, January 12, 2007

refocusing on RDI


Over the course of the last several weeks I've decided that I need to start focusing my time and efforts back on RDI again. Not that I've NOT been doing RDI -- it pretty much permeates everything we do and every aspect of our lives -- but I've been taking a real go-with-the-flow approach to it for the past 6 months or so. Part of the reason is because, after about 8 months of really focusing on Stage 4, I needed to take things at a little slower pace, just for my own sanity. Part of it was because we needed to focus on other things. And part was because time itself was taking care of the next couple of stages for me.

Stage 4 was a REALLY huge one for us, turning The World's Most Rigid Boy into Mr. Flexible. It was a major effort, it took a lot of work and committment. You definitely need a mental vacation after something that enormous.

One of the obstacles we met with during the course of struggling with Stage 4 was Sensory problems due to Jacob's significant Sensory Processing Disorder. So thing had to come to screeching halt while we addressed these problems via Sensory Integration Therapy with a wonderful Occupational Therapist trained in that specialization. Once we started removing some of those roadblocks, we made some pretty rapid progress with the areas of RDI we'd been stuck in. And because Jacob was making such fabulous progress with SIT, we kept that as a priorty for the entire summer and early fall. Once that seemed pretty much under control (we're still working on it, but it's a solid, established part of our lives now, not something we have to put a lot of conscious thought into anymore), we jumped into the homeschooling thing to lay out our plan for the next year or so in that area. We ordered the Enki Education Kindergarten Curriculum, and my focus for the last several months has been reading through the Foundation Guides and getting a good understanding of the Enki methodology and philosophy, and incorporating those components that I wanted to use right now.

And the most amazing thing was happening -- even though I wasn't doing any focused RDI work, we were mastering stages anyway. Stage 5 was sort of a "gimme" because we had already done most of the work during Stage 4, we just needed to make sure the pieces were all in place. And Stage 6 just developed on the playground, during playdates, and during our daily interactions at home, without much specific attention being paid to it. In fact, if someone asked me how to set up a Stage 6 activity, I'm not sure I could be of much help.

Which has landed us squarely at the start of Stage 7. And as I look over the "new" objectives that our Consultant sent us (the part of Stage 7 that now addresses Self Awareness), I realize that this is going to be a lot of work again. The sort of work that requires me to concentrate and pick activities to target the objectives. Because, really, Jacob doesn't have much in the way of Self Awareness. Even simple things, like knowing his preferences, are difficult (if even possible) for him, never mind understanding how his actions impact others. We've got our work cut out for us on this stage.

So it's time to let our Enki rhythms sustain us, let our SIT work flow along as it has been, and put our heads down and slog back into RDI. By the time I'm ready to shift my focus back onto something else, we should be much further along the road to true Autism Remediation.

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