We had some difficulty getting a diagnosis for our 8 year old son when we went for the Ed. Psych testing. the Psychologist actually said he showed no evidence of ASD or PSDD, but thankfully suggested an OT (Occupational Therapy) assessment. The OT did a very thorough assessment and reported that another Psychologist more specialized in ASD should look at our son again. With this further assessment (by now he was 9), he was given the High Functioning ASD diagnosis. We expected some guidance and direction from the well known Psychologist, but were given a photocopied brochure of a company which coordinates behaviour practitioners (Applied Behaviour Analysis).
It was during a general “Case Management for Your Child” seminar a few months later, that we heard the presenter (MD with a child on the spectrum) give some information on RDI. We were immediately interested, although we knew very little about it. We sensed that this was something that could make a huge difference in our lives from the inside out, rather than outside in. We knew we had to work with our son’s neurology and get at the cause of the deficits, not just put a behaviour band aid on the problem. Around his 10th birthday we started to research RDI and got very excited by what we found out. We started to use the principles from Drs. Gutstein/Sheeley’s books and website ourselves first and enrolled in whatever training was available. The best consultant available to us was in Seattle, so we travelled there for an assessment and training. Happily, Blair Armstrong was in the process of getting certified that year and we were able to transfer over and work with him locally.
Although we did make progress on our own right from our first attempts with RDI principles, we have found that our son has really jumped ahead having a local consultant available to teach Mom and Dad! Blair has been such a great support to our family and we would highly recommend him. Our son has just turned 14 years old and we are constantly amazing by how much more “normal” he is becoming. He has always been a social guy, but now he is an appropriately social guy with many different friends, interests and activities (i.e. swimming, chess club, Youth Group, guitar lessons, etc.) He is more independent and doesn’t need us watching him every minute to make sure he is staying in the “appropriate zone”. Part of our success with RDI has been homeschooling, which has given us more time to do RDI with him and more control of making positive memories for him to build on. Blair has helped us stayed focused on the priorities in our son’s development and that has been paying off bigtime in the last year.
– S & S, Chilliwack B.C.
We started RDI one year ago (March 2009). Just before we started, our 26 month old son was diagnosed with Autism, at a 3 – 6 month developmental age level. We were devastated, and didn’t know how to help him. He was absorbed in his own world, spinning containers constantly, and wouldn’t respond to us no matter what we did. What had worked well when parenting our other child does not work at all for our child with Autism. We feared he may never talk, go to school, have friends, get a job, and meet his own basic needs without us. We were unsure of some of the treatment options that we had researched, but RDI seemed promising. When we met Blair, he told us that kids with autism have missed important developmental milestones. The RDI program teaches us how to help him reach these milestones that he would otherwise never reach naturally. Once we fill in these gaps, he will begin to develop more along the path of a typical child. Through the RDI program, Blair has taught us how to interact with our son in a whole new way, that is bringing him into our world. Blair has not discouraged us from seeking complimentary treatments to RDI (such as; occupational therapy, nutritional and biomedical treatments) and has helped us make valuable contacts in these areas. Our journey began with despair and hopelessness, and while bumpy at times, Blair has been there to encourage us – knowing that our influence could change our son’s fate. Now 1 year later, our son is seeking our company, and playing with us all the time. He joins us in important roles in our daily household activities; and he is already speaking in phrases. It is still early in our journey, but we have achieved far more than we ever expected. We have discovered our wonderful son, thanks to Blair guiding us through the RDI program. We could not have done this on our own. We are getting to know our true son, as his personality (that was hidden underneath his autism) is emerging. We can’t imagine where we’d be right now without Blair’s help.
– M & J, Burnaby
I truly believe that the RDI program has helped me, my family, and my autistic child live with autism and have hope for a better quality of life.
My daughter has been in the RDI program for one year now since she was diagnosed at age 10 with ASD, Anxiety, and ADHD. She is a high functioning yet explosive child, with an IQ of 140. She had good grades, but I was always getting calls from the school that she was becoming aggressive with the other children. She was frequently getting bullied by the other children in her class and our neighbourhood. I was overwhelmed when all of the parenting strategies that I tried, failed to help her with her social challenges and aggressive explosive behaviors. We had tried social skills groups, anxiety groups, counseling and various other supports. It has been a year with many ups and downs, but she is showing consistent improvement that I could not have even expected this time last year. Her school noticed a significant improvement with her social challenges, dynamic interactions with other children, flexible thinking, willingness to discuss issues and a decrease in her explosive aggressive behaviours. She is now off of the medications that were prescribed to her when she became self-harming and physically aggressive at age 7. Due to the strong parent training aspect of the RDI program, I now better understand how to cope with her behaviors, and feel much more competent and able to help her decrease and handle her meltdowns. Most importantly, I am able to be a better parent now that I have support and have a path to take to help her.
Blair Armstrong has been patient and led us through this program with compassion and understanding at a professional level.
His experience in supporting families with ASD is fundamental to his understanding of our challenges. I truly believe that the RDI program can help you, your family, and your autistic child live with autism and have hope for a better quality of life.
– G & E, Fraser Valley