Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What RDI is NOT

In RDI, our current objective is joint attention. There are many joint attention objectives but in this particular one we are basically looking for a triangle. In 'referencing,' one person looks to an object and then the other person does that too. ("Oh look! A bird!" And you both look.) In joint attention there is a triangle where you have something you are looking at together, but then you look back to the other person to share your 'observations.' ("Oh look! A bird!" .. then looking to each other.. "That was cool.") This can be done verbally or non verbally but in RDI we work mostly on the non-verbal.

In this video we were using taste as a framework/vehicle to work on our objective. I bought some fruit leather from Whole Foods and Andrew was tasting it for the first time. I wanted to post this because first, it is very short. Second, at the VERY beginning you will see some joint attention when he is interested in the fruit leather. However, I think it clearly shows some differences between RDI and other autism therapies. You can't TEACH joint attention..you can only INVITE and then wait. In this video, I was demanding joint attention by basically staring and waiting..almost too long. It is certainly a dance. Our RDI consultant wrote it this way:

We don't want him to feel a demand for joint attention--you are only in charge of providing the opportunities for joint attention--you do not want to create a demand for it, as then it is no longer experience sharing in nature.

We have been working on this objective with various frameworks for almost a month now. He cognitively understands that you want to share with another, but doesn't always do so. Again, I show this to demonstrate how you can teach something yet it can look very very unnatural. (Most of our videos do not look like this one.) I once saw a video of a child who had 'graduated' from another autism therapy.. it was question / answer.. (What school do you go to? Beverly. How old are you? 12. etc.. ) That is not 'natural.' This really isn't either but we are getting there. Maybe I will post some clips of some success stories we have had. We are going for our second RDA next week. Can't wait!

(I also wanted to try captioning again. You can caption on overstream.com)

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