Today…I will update you all on my family’s journey with RDI. We are working with a great RDI Consultant–Jennifer Perry.
The initial parent training and child assessment (the RDA) is now behind us and we have had our first assignment!!!! YAHHHH! OKAY…here is what we did over the weekend during the snowy cold weather…
Each parent individually, has been assigned to pick ANY activity to do with Sam, BUT (here’s the catch), we can not talk during the event or tell him what to expect or prepare him in any way. We CAN use facial expressions and body language, and nonverbal vocal communications as a last resort…hahaha! I was specifically asked by our RDI consultant to NOT tell him any of the “rules”–so that he could discover them on his own. This whole discovery concept IS dynamic thinking—The KEY to RDI!
So, I decided that we could make something in the kitchen. I got the recipe and divided all ingredients into two sets…his set and my set. I had about 7 bowls on my side of the counter and (of course) 7 bowls on his side. We looked like we were at Kitchen Stadium with the video camera set up too!!! We were assigned to add the SAME INGREDIENTS into the mixer at the SAME TIME. Sam is supposed to watch me, and observe which bowl I choose (because I specifically did not put them in order), and how much content I put in at a time.
OKAY…so here’s what really happened! You may laugh WITH me, but not At me! hahaha! He started picking up bowls and dumping stuff in the mixer..of course! Then I had to “scowl” my eyebrows and face (which he did not notice). He started charging ahead more…I had to shake my head (he did not notice). He turned on the mixer and dry contents started flying up and out of the bowl…I then tried a nonverbal vocal communication (already at my last resort:-)–”uhhuhh” and he looked at me then and said,” are you talking to me?” I smiled and shook “yes!” loudly! then, I did the whole, raise my shoulders and head and eyebrows and pointed to the next ingredient and then indicated a WAIT sign with my hands together and lifted to a stop position. I pointed to all the bowls and stopped at the next one, picked it up and waited on him–he was no longer looking at me, but had the right bowl in his eager hands. He dumped in all its contents and set the bowl down and LOOKED at me. I had to indicated approval with my face, so I smiled. I also had to indicate that he still was not doing exactly what I wanted/needed him to do, which was to add the ingredients AT THE SAME TIME AND SPEED AS ME. You see, I am supposed to be in charge of time and speed, and he is supposed to be MATCHING to me and WATCHING me and FOLLOWING me. So now, I started to slow even more and to even turn my back on him to indicate that I was not ready to restart the activity. He began to get a little frustrated. At this point, he actually grabbed my shoulders and swiveled me around, and took my forearms and went to the one remaining bowl and (my arms and hands were like a crane picking up freight, but under his control) picked up the last bowl. Then, he let me go and picked up his last bowl–which was already empty, I may add! Then, we poured together on his eyebrow raise and head tilted–so, he was getting the concept that we had to DO IT TOGETHER, but missing the concept that I was in charge. Meanwhile, I had a facial scowl of disapproval. He poked his fingers to the corners of my mouth and made my lips smile, then he hugged me, turned and left the scene…WHEEEW!!!
I was exhausted! I cleaned up while my husband was uploading the video to the RDI website. We looked at the video and evaluated the “movie clip.”
What did I learn? What did Sam learn?
I really thought this would be a snap. I could not believe what a disaster it turned out to be. He used me like a tool. It brought me back to his toddler years, when he would to take my hand and point my finger to what he wanted, and then use my hand to pick it up and give it to himself…or use my hand to turn pages of a book…etc… I thought about all the hard work my husband and I have done all these years. But mostly (I realized NOW) has consisted of teaching “turn taking” and “waiting” on his turn. He used to take every one’s turn, roll the dice for all players, move all pieces, and pull all cards. He will now wait for his turn pretty regularly. But, I NEVER worked on completing activities TOGETHER. I thought I was “doing” things together—but now I realize we were doing activities side by side or turn taking–which is really independent play with pauses for the other player.
This cooperative activity is a whole new level of communication and interaction. I also learned that I was right to sign up for RDI. I do not know everything rigth to do. I may know biomedical treaments, but I need help from an expert on RELATIONSHIP DEVELOPMENT for my child.
I did not even know what I did not know—does that make sense? And I do not know how to help Sam on my own.
Now, I’m waiting for Jennifer Perry’s response to the video upload. She is very sweet and positive, so I know she will not say, “what a disaster!” But that is how I feel right now.
I’l let you know her response ASAP! I’m excited though, to be at least trying to make progress!!!! I can not WAIT for my husband to do his video! Is that mean of me? !!!
Yours in the journey,