Before we officially started with RDI, we took their advice about things we could try getting started on.
I've already posted about changing language - and it worked a treat. The next thing I tried to do was to slow down.
There is a temptation with a child with special needs to try anything and everything all the time. Surely something is bound to work. And you couldn't live with yourself if you didn't do the very thing that just might have some great effect.
The trouble with that with autism, is there are so many things that people suggest you could try. Here's a list: speech therapy, music therapy, auditory therapy, preschool, early intervention groups, physical therapy, sensory therapy, occupational therapy, playgroups, nutritional therapy, heavy metals chelation, cranial osteopathy, homeopathy, naturopathy. Then there are the programs: ABA, Floortime, Sonrise, holding therapy.
Balance all of that with the fact that there are just so many hours in a day and so many dollars in your wallet, and it becomes difficult to work out what to do.
RDI's theory is that autism remediation takes time, it happens slowly and the children need rest and routine for their brains to re-learn normal development. If parents are too busy whisking their children off to this and that, they can't spend the time they need teaching them, and they children don't have time to process what they are learning.
It's not just appointments on appointments and therapy on therapy. Life itself for the whole family needs to be slower. A child will not do well with RDI if their family runs at a frenetic pace.
This is probably the hardest thing I have had to face in terms of getting used to RDI. I have always gone at 130 miles an hour. I work hard and fast, and then I collapse. I like to schedule lots of things in. I like to achieve aims and goals. I like being busy.
It's been a challenge to put things aside, say no to commitments and make a conscious effort to have a more relaxed, less crowded life.
Things I have given up for now: my nappy business, writing another book, church commitments beyond service attendance and Bible study and having lots of people over. I have made deliberate choices as to what therapies are best value for Bright Eyes and just recently got rid of one group that was good, but causing a little extra stress each week.
My focus is on Bright Eyes, teaching him and giving him time and space to learn. There's time enough for the rest of it in the future. (At least, that's what I tell myself now... (: )