Here is a real treat for you – another guest blog, this time from my friend Laura, with some amazing footage of her son, Ely, showing where he was before they started working on social communication and emotional regulation through RDI, and where he is now. Over to Laura………..
When Ely was four years old he was given a diagnosis of autism. No mention of ‘high functioning’ or “a little bit on the spectrum”. Just plain old pot spinning, non verbal, hand flapping and not toilet trained autism. If it sounds harsh, it was. We could not leave the house, we had hours and hours of screaming. We lost friends, we lost hope.
Like all good parents, we consulted with the experts. In other words we searched the internet! Days, hours and weeks were spent researching all the various sorts of treatments, and eventually we stumbled on RDI. It seemed like the only thing that made sense; the choice seemed to boil down to behavioural interventions - or RDI. My instinct told me to go with RDI, so I did. Honestly, I went kicking and screaming to it. I knew I was desperate for someone to help my beautiful son, but felt that there was a whole world out there of people willing to take my money, playing on my desperation. In the end, I listened to my heart, and took a leap of faith.
That leap of faith, gave me my son back. RDI turned out to not be an easy road. When I started I didn’t understand that it meant that I did not hand him over to a therapist to fix. It was a shock to find out that I was going to be supported to remediate his autism, that I was going to have to do it. A shock to find out that I was going to have to learn some things to help him and spend many hours with him working on this.
But the greater shock, to find that with all the work, my son started to change. RDI pushed the autism away, and I started to see my son again. It is hard to describe the changes, I often think of it in snapshots. Three years ago you would have walked into my home and seen my son probably sitting on the floor spinning objects. If he spoke to you it would have been in repeated phrases that did not connect to anything you might say. If you stayed for more than a few hours you may have seen him dissolve into one of his many meltdowns.
Today, if you walked into my home, you would see Ely and his siblings running around. He would be joining in with their games. If I called out dinner time, he would rush to the table and sit with his siblings. He would join in the general chat of the day.
Ely still has autism. But autism no longer has him. He has many challenges ahead, but RDI gave me my son back.
I know I speak for my readers when I express our gratitude to Laura for sharing her family’s story with us – thanks Laura J
More information about Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) at www.rdiconnect.com