Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)

This program is based on the theory that information processing impairments are at the core of ASD, and in particular, a limited ability to think flexibly, problem-solve creatively, collaborate successfully, and cope with uncertainty. This kind of thinking is described as “dynamic intelligence.” The goal of RDI is to facilitate development of dynamic intelligence through a process called “guided participation.” In guided participation, the child is challenged in a safe environment to problem-solve slightly beyond her/his current independent ability. Engaging in such uncertain situations, facilitates the development of dynamic neural networks, and strengthens dynamic intelligence.

The essential goal of RDI, similar to other programs, is to improve quality of life for individuals with ASD. RDI, however, offers eight particular characteristics that determine quality of life. RDI improves quality of life then, by strengthening these eight qualities or skills:

  • Collaboration, the ability to work with a partner toward a common goal
  • Deliberation, the ability to approach new problems and situations thoughtfully
  • Flexibility, the ability to adjust to new circumstances, manage problems with no right answer
  • Fluency, the ability to comprehend, summarize, and synthesize information
  • Ability to have friendships and maintain relationships
  • Initiative, the ability to set goals, initiate and complete tasks, explore the unfamiliar
  • Responsibility, the ability to take honor commitments, act with integrity
  • Self-management, the ability to maintain healthy habits and routines, manage emotions

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