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There are many different models ...

Posted Jan 27 2009 8:36pm

There are many different models or approaches to working with children on the autism spectrum. For this particular post, I chose DIR & RDI because I remember being thoroughly confused when first trying to research our options, thinking perhaps people were just mixing up the letters. So what do these letters stand for and what is the basis behind each method? Well, I’m so glad you asked!

DIR/Floortime

DIR stands for the Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based Model, which focuses on mastery of the stages of development. Floortime is one part of this approach, and as such it is “both a specific technique…and a specific philosophy that characterizes all daily interactions with the child.” This quote comes from the most recently published book on the DIR/Floortime method, Engaging Autism:

Helping Children Relate, Communicate and Think with the DIR Floortime Approach

Engaging Autism: Helping Children Relate, Communicate and Think with the DIR Floortime Approach by Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D. and Serena Wider, Ph.D. - presents the DIR model and Floortime approach in a comprehensive format that is easily accessible to both parents and professionals and also includes a section on overcoming difficult symptoms. From the book comes this statement:

The goal of treatment within the DIR/Floortime model is to build foundations for healthy development, rather than to work only on surface behavior and symptoms. With this approach, children learn to master critical abilities missed or derailed along their developmental path.

Websites for More Information are:

Note: In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I am highly enthusiastic about this method since it has been so effective for our son and fit so well with our family style. Every child (and every family) is different, however, and each must find the approach or approaches that work best for their unique situation.

RDI

RDI stands for the Relationship Development Intervention Program. It was developed by Dr. Steven Gutstein in response to the “missing piece” he was not seeing in the children he had treated with a behavioral approach; he calls this piece Dynamic Intelligence. On his website, Connections Center, he states:

The goal of the RDI Program is to provide the majority of people on the autism spectrum with the potential to attain a true quality of life.

Here is a select list of his publications:

Solving the Relationship Puzzle--A New Developmental Program that Opens the Door to Lifelong Social and Emotional Growth

Autism Aspergers: Solving the Relationship Puzzle–A New Developmental Program that Opens the Door to Lifelong Social and Emotional Growth by Steven E. Gutstein - this is the first book that describes the RDI model and its theory.

Social and Emotional Development Activities for Asperger Syndrome, Autism, Pdd and Nld

Relationship Development Intervention With Young Children: Social and Emotional Development Activities for Asperger Syndrome, Autism, Pdd and Nld by Steven E. Gutstein and Rachelle K. Sheely - 1st book of objectives & exercises, focused on younger children.

Relationship Development Intervention With Children Adolescents and Adults

Relationship Development Intervention With Children Adolescents and Adults by Steven E. Gutstein and Rachelle K. Sheely - 2nd book of objectives & exercises, for older children on up.

Stories of Autism, Asperger's and Success Through the Relationship Development InterventionĀ® (RDIĀ®) Program

My Baby Can Dance: Stories of Autism, Asperger’s and Success Through the Relationship Development Intervention® (RDI®) Program by Steven E. Gutstein, Ph.D.

In my next post, I plan to cover some of the other treatment models commonly used with children on the spectrum. I am interested to hear what approaches your children have responded to the most.

Tags: resources, special needs, teaching, therapies
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