I watched the first 15 minutes of the Halloween episode of Parenthood... and I cringed... for so many reasons. I don't know how the episode will wrap up (probably all happy and lovely with a few bumps in the road) but I was thinking how the whole 'trick or treat' has played out over the years and how RDI differs from other therapies. I wrote this up maybe 3 years ago... here it is again. I thought about it immediately when I started watching mom walk Max through a practice run of trick or treat. We have started RDI formally with a consultant about a year ago but I still think this is pretty valid. The bottom line is that you can TEACH and play out and social story the situation to infinity and beyond...but there will always be something unexpected. (I will say I laughed like crazy when Max wanted to be a cockroach. Andrew always wants to be something dramatic... where it is impossible to find s costume. He is of course happy to wear a paper bag over his body with his own drawings on it of that said item.)
People ask...'what's the difference between RDI, Floortime (PLAY) and ABA. Is RDI something you do to follow up ABA? no..you can start RDI at any age but it can also be used after you have done ABA successfully or unsuccessfully. Isn't it just like Floortime? no... it isn't about playing with your child or teaching them to play. Tonight I saw a real life example of what RDI is and what it can do. (This post is not to 'bash' ABA or floortime! Only to show you a glimpse of what RDI is all about.)
Going off to trick or treat we 'practiced.' Looking back that was very 'ABAish.' We talked about 'trick or treat' and 'thank you' and only take one candy at each place. Oh he's great at following the rules. But what happens when the 'rules' are broken by someone else at the first house. If we had practiced with a Floortime model we might have used some of our 'characters' to play 'trick or treat' but we would never have been able to come up with all the possibilities that might be out there on 'how' you trick or treat.
Enter D...our 'older' neighbor. She is so sweet. And gives Andrew 'one of each.' So at the next house Andrew thought...gee...I get one of each because the rule changed. I told him no, that was just D's house. I told him to take ONE 'unless' they do something different. This actually becomes quite complicated when one is hearing impaired, they have a fireman helmet on and the wind is a-blowin'. At one house he even said in a very loud voice, "Give me one!" He meant...Give me ONE...but of course it came out as GIVE me one. Also some houses GIVE you candy, and some want you to TAKE candy, and some just leave a bucket on their door!
Well- our neighborhood stinks for kids and trick or treating. So we decided to go to another neighborhood...lots of kid...even darker outside. After a few houses Andrew would take a candy or be given a candy, THEN LOOK TO ME for what to do next. Should he just say 'thank you?' Should he take another? Wait for them to give him one? And...more importantly, WHICH candy should he take? (He wanted to know which one he might be able to eat.) This folks...is referencing. Looking to someone else for information. People--BABIES-- do this all the time. Those with autism, well, not so much. sometimes you don't really know how to define something until you see it in action. This was just a mint day for us.