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How to Use Relationship Development Intervention

Learn how relationship development intervention can help a child with autism from pediatrician Asma J. Sadiq, M.D. in this Howcast video.


Relationship development intervention, also known as RDI, is something that is very helpful in children diagnosed with an autism-spectrum disorder. This is an approach that is more parent-based, and very much focused on social interaction. It's almost like trying to help the child catch up on some of the milestones that they may have missed on when they were developing, with their social engagement. And it's broken down to involve the child, in their normal home environment with the way they connect with the parent. An example being: Getting them to engage or have eye-contact or for instance, a parent may hold a berry or a bean or something the child wants in one hand and then close both hands so you've got both the fists there. But you use your eyes to say which hand has the bean, so the child actually gets the benefit of what they want because it’s in your hand, but understands there is a communication with the eye contact.

And by looking at you and following your eyes, he gets what he needs or she gets what she needs. So that's building these little interactions and it helps with social engagement, and relatedness. And that is something that is done a lot more actually in the home, but there are models using this in schools as well. There are few people being trained and it gets expensive, but it is something that parents have claimed and there is some research to support as well that children who receive the RDI interventions did better than children who didn't. So it's absolutely behavioral therapy that has substance and that has been substantiated and is of benefit.

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