Wednesday, March 21, 2007

where the rubber meets the road

(A photo of my living room this morning -- Sensory Integration Therapy is a great excuse for making a huge mess!)

I'm here to report on the status of our RDI program. Our consultant has been helping us sift through the new Stage objectives so that we can figure out where we're at.

First, I have to say how massively impressed I am with these new objectives! Not only are they extremely specific, but they are amazingly geared towards the development of dynamic thinking, which, although RDI always purported itself as encouraging that, is the first time I've seen it laid out in such a logical, usable format. This is truly a dynamic processing model rather than just an Autism Remediation program. I'm going to get a lot of mileage out of these objectives with Zoo Boy, who is most certainly not Autistic, as well. Never has it been more true that RDI=homeschooling!

I've been biting my nails worrying that we were done with RDI stage work. That there was nothing left for RDI to offer us. Because, although Jacob has made amazing progress, and I truly don't think anyone is going to consider him Autistic anymore, I can still see major gaps in his dynamic processing ability. It's as though he has the ability to think that way now, but still lacks the drive to take it out for a spin and use it. I felt there was a lot more work to be done, but was fretting that RDI wouldn't be the best way to accomplish it.

I fear that no longer! These new objectives are chock full specific ways to get that dynamic intelligence revved up and rolling.

There are now 12 child stages (as opposed to 28 in the "old" version), in addition to parent stages which are seperate from the child stages, and really give parents a great education on child development and Autism, in addition to getting them quite prepared for designing and implementing their child's RDI program.

We started by looking at new Stages 1 and 2, which incorporates bits and pieces of things right up through the higher stages -- I recognized things that I worked on in the old stages 6 and 7 right off the bat, and saw things that, although Jacob has developed them on his own, I hadn't seen anywhere else in the stage work. By the time a family emerges from the new Stage 2, they are going to be well on their way to Autism Remediation.

I did, in fact, find an objective that I'm not sure Jacob has mastered in the new Stage 2. Not surprisingly, once we started looking at the new Stage 3, there were two objectives that built on that one that I also put question marks next to. This is where we're going to "begin" with our new RDI work, on this apparent "hole". The objectives have to do with Perceptions and understanding that other people see/percieve things differently than you do. Sound familiar? That's the old Theory of Mind thing, that I've always felt Jacob has been lacking. Now there's a structured way for us to work on giving him the opportunities to make this "discovery". I'm one happy camper!

By the time we got to looking at the new Stage 4, I knew that we didn't need to go any further. I've got question marks next to about a dozen objectives and "p"s (for "needs practice") next to at least a dozen more, in addition to the couple of dozen I have checked off as mastered. So that's where we're at! Stage 4 reflects the abilities of a neurotypical 2-3 year old, so we're still a bit behind where I'd like to be, but all of the stuff we're "missing" are things that just weren't addressed by the "old" RDI system, at least not during the first dozen or so stages. The things that were addressed are the items I've checked off. And the "needs practice" items are things that were not addressed, but that he just happened to develop naturally.

I'm SOOO excited that this new version has come out just in time for us, and I'm thrilled to have a definite direction to be working in! I have more confidence than ever that RDI is going to help us unlock all of Jacob's potential and open a world of opportunity for him. The sky's the limit!


At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Shelley,
ok so now I can bounce ideas off of you ( vice versa) as Noah is working on about 3 in stage 3 and then we will be in stage 4!!! Very cool! Once competency was mastered last month, we saw a true picture of where he was! I find it incredible!


At 9:58 PM, Blogger Bea said...

Thanks shelley, that was really helpful, I had no idea that now there are 12 stages


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