When a new parent starts the RDI program, there are many things to consider. Readiness is usually a concept that is applied to children on the spectrum with regards to educational objectives, but is also applicable to parents who are starting RDI. It is very important that the parents prepare well before starting the program. Parents need to have the cognitive (information) and emotional readiness to be able to successfully guide their child.
1. Information about the program: The new parents (new to RDI) need to have some information about the approach. You can begin by reading through the RDI book, watching the DVD or having an information session with a certified consultant. You can find more information on the RDI book or DVD here. To talk to a consultant in Canada, visit our contact page.
3. Understanding the type of commitment they are making: RDI is not a quick fix for a child’s deficits (not a band-aid type of solution), but rather a deep (neurology changing) marathon that requires a slow pace and endurance. The slower we go, the faster we advance in RDI (EVERYTHING SLOWS DOWN: THE PACE OF ACTIONS, THE COMMUNICATION, THE CHILD AND PARENT’S HEART RATES, etc.)
Once the parents start the program, their learning and readiness work continues (there is a big learning curve with RDI and many A-HA moments on the journey – nothing is learned overnight).
Once parents have graduated from that stage, there is more planning to do before entering the “Apprenticeship” stage, where they begin to learn specific techniques to help them be efficient guides to their children. The RDI program is different because it can include all the children in the family. Learning the RDI Model helps parents change the way they communicate with all the family members, not only the child with autism. It is very easy to use typical daily situations (e.g. supper) to work on specific objectives in a very natural way and including all the family.
The next parent stage is “Guided participation stage” and it is then the parents are competent enough to tackle specific child objectives (from the child stages). Once the parents are in this parent stage they are working parallel on both parent and child objectives.
The last parent stage is the culmination of the program and parents who graduate from this stage should be OK working with their child without seeing a certified consultant on a regular basis, but rather on a needs-to basis.