Friday, February 15, 2008

RDI-Your Background Matters

The other day I wrote a post where i expressed my displeasure that after 8 years with Pooh having the diagnosis of autism, the King still couldn't give a simple, basic explanation. Tammy, from AUT-2B-HOME wrote how her dh also has difficulties due to being raised in an imperative household. My King is Latino and as such, was raised in a very imperative way. Imperative meaning "Do It Now" no questions asked. You are robotic in your obedience. "Hurry Up" is frequently said. I'm not saying all Latinos are raised this way, but it is common. I'm NOT Latina and I was raised with no guidance from one side of the family and had Cruela de Vil on the other. (if you don't do it right, you get to start all over again from the beginning until you do get it right. Ugh)

I'm mentioning this because, when you're coming into RDI, it's important to realize what type of parenting style you have and that's based a lot on how you were raised. Your Background Matters. You have to acknowledge it so you can then make the necessary adjustments. I think this is one of the hardest parts of RDI. You HAVE to change the parenting style for you to get the changes you want in your child.

That means no more "hurry up", instead you have to slow everything down. I mean way down. Don't try doing RDI when you have something you have to finish. Or something you feel important having done correctly. It won't work. If you're picky about how you fold laundry, don't do RDI with it, or do RDI with the towels that maybe don't matter so much.

This also means changing your communication style (verbal and nonverbal) to a declarative style instead of imperative. Pick activities that this will work with for you and the child. Once again, don't try doing it with things you are picky about, you'll become imperative in a flash. I know you will, don't even think about defending yourself on this one. Invite instead of order. Comment instead of command. Relax and have fun instead of drill and question. If you're planting flowers, some will get mangled, be planted upside down or drowned. Let it be part of the experience. It's not the problem, it's the experience and the way we adjust and allow the child to think about what's happening that is the important part.

So if you're going this RDI road without a consultant, think about your background, how that affects your parenting style and then, how you can adjust it. (This is obviously what I'm doing and encouraging the King to do as well.) Video taping is a big part of RDI because the parent sees, not what the child is doing wrong, but what we're doing wrong and how we change our behavior to allow the child to grow cognitively.

RDI parenting will only help. It's about 'Relationship' and 'Connecting' with your child. That's the true parenting anyway.

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