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Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)

Like other therapies described here, RDI is a system of behavior modification through positive reinforcement. RDI was developed by Dr. Steven Gutstein as a parent-based treatment using dynamic intelligence. The goal of RDI is to improve the individual's long-term quality of life by helping them improve their social skills, adaptability and self-awareness. The six objectives of RDI are:

Emotional Referencing: The ability to use an emotional feedback system to learn from the subjective experiences of others.

Social Coordination: The ability to observe and continually regulate one's behavior in order to participate in spontaneous relationships involving collaboration and exchange of emotions.

Declarative Language: Using language and non-verbal communication to express curiosity, invite others to interact, share perceptions and feelings and coordinate your actions with others.

Flexible thinking: The ability to rapidly adapt, change strategies and alter plans based upon changing circumstances.

Relational Information Processing: The ability to obtain meaning based upon the larger context; Solving problems that have no "right-and- wrong" solutions.

Foresight and Hindsight: The ability to reflect on past experiences and anticipate potential future scenarios in a productive manner.

The program involves a systematic approach to working on building motivation and teaching skills, focusing on the child's current developmental level of functioning. Children begin work in a one-on-one setting with a parent. When they are ready, they are matched with a peer at a similar level of relationship development to form a "dyad". Gradually additional children are added to the group and the number of settings in which children practice in order to help the child form and maintain relationships in different contexts.

Who provides RDI?

Parents, teachers and other professionals can be trained to provide RDI. Parents may choose to work together with an RDI-certified consultant. RDI is somewhat unique because it is designed to be implemented by parents. Parents learn the program through training seminars, books and other materials and can collaborate with an RDI-certified consultant. Some specialized schools offer RDI in a private school setting.

What is a typical RDI therapy session like?

In RDI, the parent or provider uses a comprehensive set of step-by-step, developmentally appropriate objectives in everyday life situations, based on different levels, or stages, of ability. Spoken language may be limited in order to encourage eye contact and non-verbal communication. RDI may also be delivered in a specialized school setting.

What is the intensity of most RDI programs?

Families use the principles of RDI in their day-to-day lifestyle.





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