What is the
Relationship Development Intervention RDI™ Program?
Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) Program is a
parent-based clinical treatment for individuals with autism
spectrum and other relationship-based disorders.
It is the first systematic program designed to help children
born with obstacles preventing them from attaining relationship
The RDI™ Program is based upon the model of Experience Sharing
developed by Steven Gutstein Ph.D. Dr. Gutstein studied the
means by which typical children become competent in the world of
His methods are based upon extensive research in typical
development as well as scientific studies of individuals in the
Clinicians from around the world are certified by The
ConnectionsCenter to serve as consultants to parents and help
them customize and implement their RDI™ Programs.
Certified Consultants use information from the Relationship
Development Assessment (RDA) to develop clear, specific,
developmentally appropriate treatment objectives and customized
Goals of the RDI™ Program
The primary goal of the RDI™ Program is to systematically teach
the motivation for and skills of Experience Sharing interaction.
Deficits in Experience Sharing have been found to rest at the
core of autism spectrum disorders.
The RDI™ Program provides a path for people on the Autism
Spectrum to learn friendship, empathy and a love of sharing
their world with others. Language comes alive when integrated
with real emotion. People with Autism and Asperger's learn not
only to tolerate, but to enjoy change, transition and going with
the flow. It begins at the edge of each person's current
capability and carefully teaches the skills needed for
competence and fulfillment in a complex world.
Introduction to Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)
Brown, M.A., L.L.P., Executive Director, Autism Support Center,
October 2006; Used by permission.
Intervention is an ongoing program of clinical development and
research begun is 1996. The primary goal of RDI is to remediate
the recognized core deficits of ASD. RDI provides individuals
with ASD the cognitive, emotional, communicative and social
tools that are geared towards remediation rather than
compensation. Recognized deficits of individuals with ASD
include, emotional referencing, social co-regulation,
experienced based communication, autobiographical or episodic
memory, executive functioning and dynamic thinking. RDI is a
family centered treatment program that prepares parents to act
as “participant guides”, creating daily opportunities to
remediate the developmental deficits of ASD. The family is
guided through the process by a RDI Certified Provider. The
provider undergoes an eighteen-month internship in the program
in order to become certified.
Considerations: Services must be provided by a Certified
RDI Provider. Families must either watch the five hour RDI DVD or attend a Connections Center sponsored two day or four
day workshop to participate in the program.
Parents are trained to integrate treatment principles into their
everyday life, thus greatly increasing the opportunity to
maximize progress. Includes parent training, written treatment
plan, video review from home sessions and consultations with the
Approximate Annual Cost: 2,500-5,000 per year. As parents
become more competent in implementing RDI at home, treatment
Ages: Two and a half to Adult
Preliminary research indicate improvement in targeted areas
for the treatment of the core deficits of ASD.
Solving the Relationship Puzzle,
Steven Gutstein, Ph.D. 2000.
Intervention DVD, 2004.
My Baby can Dance, Gutstein,
Gutstein & Baird, Eds., 2006.
Preliminary Evaluation of the
Relationship Development Intervention Program, Steven Gutstein,
Ph..D Accepted for publication in Journal of Autism and
Intervention, Steven Gutstein, Ph.D. Autism Spectrum Quarterly.
Winter, 2005 pp. 8-12.
Evaluation of the Relationship
Development Intervention Program. Gutstein, Burgess & Montfort,
2006. Submitted for review to The Journal Autism.
Thomas A. Brown,
1270 Doris Rd.
Auburn Hills, MI
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