Saturday, April 19, 2008

workshop: Going to the Heart of Autism

april 19 2008

East Lansing, MI
Going to the Heart of Autism (workshop)
June 13-14, 2008 (9:00 am to 4:30 pm)
Instructor: Dr. Steven Gutstein
for: teachers, parents, and everyone else.

Dr. Steven Gutstein, a psychologist, created the RDI (Relationship Development Intervention) program.
He reviewed the scientific literature about autism and he defined 6 core deficits each autistic person shows. These deficits show no improvement with age.

  1. Emotional Referencing.
    That is the ability to learn from the exsperiences of others.
  2. Social Coordination.
    That is the ability to control one's behaviour in such a way that one can engage in spontaneous relationships.
  3. Declarative Language.
    That is the ability to use verbal and non-verbal language to express emotions, share them and coordinate actions with others.
  4. Flexible thinking.
    The ability to adapt to changing circumstances by changing plans, opinions, etc.
  5. Relational Information Processing.
    The ability to extract meaning from a larger context. Like solving problems that have no clearcut solution.
  6. Foresight and Hindsight.
    The ability to use past experiences in a creative way to anticipate on (slightly different) future situations.
All these core deficits have one thing in common: the lack of use of creative/dynamic intelligence.

Most people with autism are very able to use static intelligence. They're good in memorising facts.
But they lack flexibility and the creativity to respond properly to new situations.

RDI makes people more aware of the natural pathways.
It enables people to put normal processes into words and slow them down.
By creating simple settings and well defined behaviourtargets, one creates more succes-experiences and enables to get insight in what a child needs to develop further.

The program uses parents as a means to teach the child.

In the workshop the following areas will be duscussed.

*-Research results on the quality of life for people on the autism spectrum

*-The developmental path unique to people on the spectrum: including the concepts of absolute vs. relative thinking, imperative vs. declarative communications, and more...

*-The basic principles of RDI: Guiding and Pacing, creating an Experience-Sharing communication environment, capturing episodic memories, teaching Functions before Skills, determining developmental readiness, and developing competence

*-The essential elements of a RDI lifestyle

*-Video clips of 'RDI in action' with parents and children and clips from the first two years in the life of a child with autism

*-The importance of frameworks and of the concepts of evolving and modifying frameworks

*-The advantages and the processes of forming dyads and small groups

*-Research on the effectiveness of RDI

*-RDI with teenagers

*-RDI implementation in school settings

I have a problem with the theory of Mr. Gutstein.
He overlooks the fact that autistic children are able to share feelings and emotions.
And not all autistic people have a complete deficit on the 6 areas.

He surpasses this problem in RDI, because it's a highly individualised program.

I like RDI because it's a positive approach.
It makes people aware of the potentials a child has.

Many parents realise that RDI is a more explicit approach of what they do already.

Teaching a child to tie the laces of the shoes works best when the complete action is broken down in parts.
An autistic child not only needs to learn the individual actions.
It also had to learn to synthesise these individual parts, an autistic child also needs to learn that he can tie his laces at school, on the pavement, and can also tie the laces when they are wet.

I think it's a relief for parents to experience the success of the individual steps.
Dealing with an autistic child without having attention for the details is a very distressing experience.

For more information:
Brad Andreessen
Phone: (713) 838.1362 x130


    1 comment:

    1. Hello and thank you for sharing this information. I am raising my 21 month old grandson who was diagnosed with Autism in April of this year. It is very new to me still and I spend alot of time wondering what the future holds for him. If you have any advice I'd appreciate it! Thanks! Cindy


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