Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)

“Slow down your delivery of information enough for the child to effectively process what you have said and respond.”

What is RDI?

RDI is an individualised programme, customised for each family. The RDI consultant gives parents the understanding and tools to work with their child. Parents are guided by their RDI consultant to provide learning opportunities using everyday situations within their family life. Parents initially concentrate on areas such as the early foundations of social interaction and dynamic thinking skills. This mental processing helps child step away from the black and white thinking patterns. The parents provide the child with many learning opportunities to set up new thinking pathways.

Where does RDI come from?

RDI was founded in the USA, in the 2000’s, by renowned clinical psychologists Dr Steven Gutstein and Dr Rachelle Sheely, who drew on the latest research in the fields of autism, child development, psychology and neurology. They have continued to develop the RDI programme incorporating emerging evidence in these fields and educational best practice.


Why RDI ?

Foundations of the adult mind are developed during the first years of life through the “Guiding Relationship”. From the middle of the first year of life, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, children interact with parents and other important adults in deceptively simple encounters, constructing the architecture of the child’s mind and brain.
Some children are born with vulnerabilities that in early development serve as a “tipping point,” interrupting developing foundations needed to participate in and benefit from the Guiding Relationship. For example, the early differences for children with autism may shift foundational parent-child communication. These early disconnections make it more challenging for many parents to provide the thousands of hours of safe, productive guidance needed to foster their child’s dynamic development. The RDI consultation programme seeks to provide renewed opportunity for parents and children to develop this essential relationship.

What is RDI used for?

RDI gives parents the ability to establish or re-establish the Guiding Relationship with their child, which is lost in autism spectrum disorder. RDI is used to help parents develop children who are strong and flexible enough within themselves to cope with the changing world around them.

How does it work?

The programme involves both, parent and child developing new ways of thinking and perceiving in a carefully guided and personalised way. An individual plan is developed that first focuses on reducing family or personal obstacles. Following this the guidance and tools are provided in order to achieve a successful parent-child guiding relationship.

“Parents are the best resource a child can have.”


Where do services take place?

Services can occur in a variety of settings. Parent training is provided through weekly online meetings. Part of your programme will include to video yourself and your child together. Videos are submitted through the secured RDI online learning community, hosted by the founders of RDI. In addition to video submission, the RDI platform has a wealth of videos, webinars and articles to support your education.

How often do you meet the consultant?

Typically, parent consultation face to face or online will be 4-6 hours per month for the first six months. Following this period, you may see your consultant less frequently.

How long does the RDI programme last?

RDI is flexible and designed to accommodate a range of needs and ages. Therefore, depending on your child or family needs, RDI can range from one to several years. As your child grows, your RDI program will continue to be customised to meet your needs.

How much will RDI cost and what are the requirements?

What do I do as an RDI consultant?

“Gradually, show kids that we all have similarities which connect us, and differences that help our relationship to grow.”