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What a Willing Apprentice Looks Like

I learned about RDI in 2006 and I am always surprised and saddened when I met someone with a child with autism who has never heard of RDI.

RDI is a developmental approach that begins with restoring the mindguiding relationship between parent and child.

This special relationship breaks down in autism because the child with autism does not supply the energy needed for the relationship to thrive.

In the first part of the video, watch how the willing apprentice supplies the energy and excitement for the engagement.



Then contrast that to the second part of the video which was taken in 2005, where Jake is clearly an unwilling apprentice. He brings no energy or enthusiasm to the engagement. He doesn’t try to initiative anything and he turns inward, rocking and making noises to himself.

I can vividly remember that moment in time. I knew Jake had autism prior to this RDA Assessment. However, sitting there, (I was told not to initiate with Jake) in that quiet room doing nothing and getting nothing from Jake, really hit me hard. That is how our RDI Journey began. (See Our RDI Journey here)

The last part of the video was taken in 2019, 14 years later. You can see how much Jake has grown with the RDI Program. Not only did he become a willing apprentice, he became competent, able to handle challenge, able to think dynamically. He is no longer rigid, or self isolating. He can self regulate his anger. He is self reflective. He has a strong sense of self and he wants to help others. He even started his own TikTok account, @JakesTakeOnAutism. In a word, he is is amazing.


And it all began with restoring the mindguiding relationship. Take that autism. Thank you RDI.

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