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Autism Spectrum Disorders Health Center

Autism Therapies: ABA, RDI, and Sensory Therapies

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How does RDI training work?

RDI training begins with a complete professional assessment of the child. This includes a visit with a neurologist and an evaluation using standardized autism diagnostic scales.

Parents wishing to use RDI are encouraged to either participate in an intensive workshop or watch a special five-hour DVD. The workshop and DVD introduce parents to the principles of Relationship Development Intervention.

An RDI program is built by a certified Relationship Development Intervention program consultant. The objectives set for the child are updated regularly, using feedback from parents and videotapes parents submit. The videotapes document the parents' sessions with the child. In the early stages of therapy, parents have the role of being the child's main coach. The consultant's role is to help parents work with the child as effectively as possible.

The consultant teaches parents to help their child develop a social relationship with them, and ultimately others, through various activities. These activities might include playing games such as "hot potato" or mimicking the expressions in facial images.

Is RDI training right for my child and me?

The RDI developers believe RDI training is most effective when children begin receiving therapy at a young age. They also believe it can be beneficial for people with autism of all ages.

To provide your child with RDI training, you will need to devote time to attending workshops or watching videos. By doing so, you will learn how to provide your child with an effective intervention program. The instruction can be both time-consuming and expensive. You will also need to commit to regular communication with your certified RDI program consultant. That includes regularly videotaping your interaction with your child.

What are sensory integration and related therapies?

Many children with autism have sensory problems. Some are overly sensitive to stimuli such as lights, noises, and touch. Others are not sensitive enough.

There are a number of sensory therapies that have been shown to improve the sensory problems children with autism have. Although these therapies can help, there is no scientific documentation that sensory therapies are effective in treating autism.

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