Frequently Asked Questions: RDI



What is autism?

Autism is a complex neurological (brain) disorder.  The human brain is an amazing organ that continues to develop through a person’s lifespan.  The human brain is a social brain, and it continually “re-wires” itself through experiences and interactions with other people.  In autism, the development of these neurological connections and pathways develop differently.  In some areas of the brain, too many connections may be made, and other areas of the brain may be under connected.  This makes it very difficult for people with autism to experience, participate and think about in the same way as others.  People with autism have difficulties processing of information that is dynamic, or changing, in nature.   Examples of dynamic thinking abilities include multi-tasking, understanding subtle information, regulating emotions , understanding other people’s perspectives, problem solving, coping with the unexpected and “shades of grey” thinking.

Many people with autism also have co-occurring disorders.  Common co-occurring disorders to autism include:  sensory processing disorders, speech and language difficulties, sleep issues, gut issues, behavioral disorders, attention deficit and hyperactivity, anxiety and depression.

The cause of autism is not known.  The cure for autism is not yet known.


What is the good news?

The good news is that the brain is an “experience dependent” organ.  The human brain has remarkable ability to rewire itself.  It grows and changes its connections based on the information it receives and processes.  Another piece of good news is the incredible strength of the parent child bond.  By harnessing the power of this bond, and helping parents to understand how and what to expose the child’s brain to, we can change the course of autism.  Parents can learn how to systematically re-expose the child’s brain to the critical developmental milestones that were missed due to autism.


What is the RDI Program?

Relationship Development Intervention is a program specifically designed to educate and train parents to remediate autism in their child.  The RDI Program:

  • Educates and empowers parents to create profound changes in their child.
  • Provides a consultative model that puts parents in their rightful role as guides to their children.  This significantly reduces the cost of treatment. Parents spend the most time around their children – not therapists!
  • Uses an expansive series of objectives for parents and children.  These objectives are based on decades of research literature into how children develop through the guidance of their parents.  These objectives help parents to systematically move children along the path of typical development.
  • Uses quality of life outcomes to measure effectiveness.  For example, meaningful relationships and rewarding employment, and thoughtful communication.
  • Is based on current research in the fields of autism, human development, and the brain.
  • Balances treatment planning by considering autism as well as other conditions or obstacles.  RDI also takes the needs of the family into account.
  • Restores natural family life. Families experience a good quality of life while learning to make remediation of autism a part of their everyday life.
  • Continuously evolves to reflect new research and information.  This ensures that the program remains cutting-edge and relevant over time.
  • Uses an innovative web-based system called the RDI-OS.  This system provides parents access to program information, communication with their consultant, video footage, and much more on a continuous basis.



How does the RDI Program work through Pathways Treatment Center?

At Pathways, we have 2 Certified RDI Consultants.  Amy Cameron is a Speech and Language Pathologist, and Anat Shemer is an Occupational Therapists.  We offer full RDI Programs, including parent consultation and coaching sessions, video reviews, group support and educational meetings, school consultations, and developmental assessments.


Is the RDI Program expensive?

.  By providing parents with the necessary tools to address their child’s autism, RDI is a very cost effective program. Parents receive training that they can implement pervasively to enhance their child’s dynamic intelligence.   The cost of RDI at Pathways is $520 per month.