Archive for December, 2009

Out of the Parent Training phase!

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Hello everyone!

My husband and I have finally made it out of the Parent Training Phase of RDI, and it feels great!  Now, we can start working on our child!

The parent training has been really tough on me and my husband, because it held a magnifying glass up to our parenting styles (in a very constructive way, of course) in order to better improve our skill set.  We have always thought we were doing a good job with Sam, but NO ONE is born with the skill set to successfully handle a child on the spectrum with out guidance…and these wonderful children do not come with instructions!  I really feel like I understand his actions and reactions better AND how my actions and reactions help or hurt him with his resilience and attaining life skills.

The next phase is for both parents to video tape our interactions with Sam one on one.  I have to video–just the two of us–interacting (cooking or playing a game or any regular activity around the house).  Then, I must upload the video to the RDI- operating systems website myself.  The idea is that I need to be able to do all the steps without my husband’s help, so I do not have to depend on anyone else!!!  Okay, I can do that!

Then, we have our next appointment with our RDI consultant (Jennifer Perry) in January, so that she can further test Sam and fine tune his program by targeting his weak areas.

No one will love your child and fight for your child like you will.  I have heard so many stories of courageous mothers and fathers improving and recovering their spectrum children by NEVER giving up!

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year AND Happy Holidays!  Have fun over the next few weeks and relax.  Try not to overstimulate yourself OR your child…Doctor’s Orders!  …hahaha!

Your,

Dr. Girlfriend

Dynamic Communication

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

I Love RDI!

Today, I learned about Dynamic Communication.

Communication is really about building bridges or connections between our minds.  We use many forms of communication and verbal is just one form.  My son has plenty of words and scripts, but, he does not really communicate with me or anyone else for that matter.  He and I do not really have “shared” experiences like I have with other people or even my other kids.  When I talk with Sam, I explain someting, and then he talks for a while, then I talk for a while, then he sort of wanders away from me in mid diolague, humming to himself.  I realize now, that he has already “ended” the conversation.  There is little “back and forth” with Sam, and certainly no “shared experience.”  Does this sound familiar????

How is communication supposed to work?

Dynamic Communication is really about what we think and feel IN RELATION to what our partner thinks and feels.  In a conversation, typically, we are constantly shifting and re-assessing the shared experience based on gestures, facial expression, and non-verbal vocalizations (hmmm or ahhh) AND words spoken.  There are multiple channels to “speak” through and to interpret, and it all happens simultaneously.  Also, the process is fragile and imperfect–which makes it unpredictable and challenging and frustrating!

Why does it breakdown?

True communication is very complicated, frustrating and unpredictable.  There will be breakdowns.  No one communicates effectively 100% of the time.  Our spectrum kids get easily overwhelmed and withdraw.  Our kids need resilience and a much slower pace than our neurotypical kids.

This type of communication is a lot to ask our children to learn, but is is what RDI is all about.  Communication is social, emotional, and it is based on cognition and problem solving and flexibility.  I know that my relationships with my other two children are much deeper and richer than my relationship with Sam.  I also know that I “put in” more effort, more time, more patience–more everything with Sam than any other relationship I have (he puts in little effort with any of his relationships)–Why is he so one-sided with his relationships?  …because he does not have the capacity to SHARE in the fullness of a richly communicated conversation.  He must not “see” all the ways people communicate with him non-verbally PLUS, he must does not communicate that way either.  Therefore, the conversation is more scripted than fluid.  Hmmmm….

So…communication is what I want to work on with Sam!  RDI makes it easy by breaking tasks down and working on small bits at a time.  More to come!