Relationship Development Intervention® (RDI®) Certified Consultant - RDI® is a Third Generation Remediation Process for Austim Occupational Therapy is about participation and performance in everyday life activities Connect and Relate for Autism - Relationship Development Intervention RDI® has been developed to Remediate Information Processing Deficits that are universal but by no means unique to people on the Autism Spectrum


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Connect and Relate for Autism

RDI Connect

Prue Watson Occupational Therapist

RDI® Certified Consultant

Relationship Development Intervention®

Growth is Possible

ASD A New Perspective

Our Goals in RDI

What is the Relationship Development Intervention® RDI® Programme?

It is a family focused approach to help restore the Guided Participation Relationship between parent and child. 

The programme guides parents to promote the development of their child’s ability to think, communicate and relate dynamically.

  • Guides parents to help their child manage and engage with the complexity and dynamic changes that occur everyday rather than avoiding them or becoming overwhelmed
  • Educates and trains parents to develop the areas of social, emotional and communication competence that typical children achieve in their early years; foundations form the basis for developing and understanding relationships with others.
  • Is a cutting edge intervention based on current  research
  • Targets the core deficits of Autism.

Relationship Development Intervention® RDI® Programme works on, not around, the Core deficits of Autism

The Relationship Development Intervention® RDI® Programme is family based and aims at providing Families – Parents with the knowledge and tools to remediate the impact of the ASD for the person with autism in their family.

The aim of Remediation is a way of achieving the potential for a Quality of Life for the person with ASD and their families.

Relationship Development Intervention RDI® aims to improve the quality of life of the child through addressing both the child's strengths and weaknesses in a systematic way that strengthens the child's overall wellbeing.

Parents report increases in their child’s motivation to accept challenges and master new more complex environments. Parents report that their children are significantly more motivated to accept guidance. They report that their child values time interacting with their parents over other activities and objects. They find that their children are more interested in how parents and other family members feel. Their children show a strong desire to take greater responsibility in their daily lives and to be curious. 

How does RDI® work?

  • RDI® is re-engineering
  • It is Remediating what is missing for an infant/child or adult on the Autism Spectrum
  • RDI® has been developed to remediate the Information Processing deficits that are universal but by no means unique to persons on the Autism Spectrum
  • It is a cognitive developmental remediation program
  • It is a marathon and not a sprint
  • As a Certified RDI® consultant I am trained to guide you to become the Guides for your child

I work with parents, grandparents, teachers and other significant adults to re-construct the guided participation relationship.

I break down the process of learning to think and perceive a world full of change and complexity, into small, simple components.

I teach adults to slow down and amplify information feedback, so that both adults and children are more readily able to understand and adjust to one another.

Parents who participate in the RDI® program are reporting dramatic changes:

  • Children are significantly more motivated to accept guidance
  • Children value and are motivated to be interacting with parents over other activities and objects
  • Children are more interested in how parents and other family members feel
  • Couples report a significant reduction in conflicts and stresses related to the child
  • They feel more hopeful and less fearful about what the future holds
  • They feel a decreased need to act as a buffer and advocate for the child
  • They perceive their children as engaging more in planned, thoughtful action and see a significant increase in their ability to generate productive creative ideas and responses
  • Their children show a strong desire to take greater responsibility in their daily lives

You can parent your child with ASD

  • Invest in building minds
  • Develop abilities needed for real‐world success
  • Apply modern best practices for learning
  • Prepare parents to be competent Guides
  • Tailor to each person’s unique needs
  • Provides treatment for Adults, Teens, Older Children as well as Young Children

ASD Longing for Relationships

2 ½ years after starting RDI® less than 15% of children were still in special education classes (compared to over 90% prior to RDI®)

Parents reported an increase in age-appropriate flexibility and adaptation from 16% to over 70%.

While over 90% of the children were rated in the “autism” range by the ADOS prior to RDI® commencing, after 2 ½ years fewer than 10% received the “autism” rating. 

Because of RDI®, thousands of parents and educators have now realized that we can give our children and ourselves a second chance.

We can provide our children with the opportunity to become dynamic thinkers and communicators.  
We can create pathways to success and a quality of life.
Steven E. Gutstein, Ph.D.

ASD A New Perspective

RDI® Relationship Development Intervention

Guiding Parents to help them reconnect with their child with ASD, by developing the Growth Seeking Motivation in their child, which then leads to the development of the Guiding Relationship.

The Guided Relationship is how all children form the understanding about themselves and their relationship with others.

The Guiding Relationship provides the foundation for the development of Relationships, building on co-regulation, collaboration, self-regulation and Dynamic Thinking.

The Guiding relationship is the platform for the development of Dynamic Thinking.

"You either step forward into Growth, or you will step backward into safety" Maslow

The Relationship Development Intervention, Family Consultation Program (better known as 'RDI') is designed to empower families of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and similar developmental issues to play a major role in remediating the core neural and psycho-social problems that become obstacles to ASD person's quality of life.

We believe that the primary focus should be on neural remediation - opening the pathway for dynamic psychological, emotional and social growth.  We strongly believe that if we cannot help children with ASD to enter a 'dynamic' neural development pathway, all of the other things we do will not make enough of a difference.

The RDI Programme provides a systematic, but very customizable way of helping parents recover from the loss of self efficacy and immense stress resulting from the failure of the guiding relationship and the day-to-day stress of living with an ASD child.

RDI® provides a programme that is a targeted family-based, relationship development program, based on a solid foundation of research in children's emotional, cognitive, social, communicative and neural development.

RDI® was developed to aid families, containing a neurologically impaired child, whose vulnerabilities have led to a disruption, or a failure to develop the natural parent-child Guiding Relationship

What is the Guiding Relationship and how does it develop and function?

Guided Participation - which we refer to as "Guiding", or the "Guiding Relationship" - is a term scientists use to describe the daily mentally challenging interactions between more experienced adults and children that occur in every culture, while participating under the adult's leadership in routine daily activities. Scientists believe the key to the success of the Guiding Relationship is the manner in which guide's dynamically balance the degree of mental challenge and safety provided to the apprentice.

Why is the Guiding Relationship important?

Through this amazing, universal but intuitive process, adults and children turn routine daily activities into irreplaceable opportunities for mental discovery and growth. The Guiding Relationship is believed by scientists to play the major role in what we refer to as "Dynamic Intelligence" (DI). 

RDI® also provides The Dynamic Intelligence DI Programme for those families whose child has graduated from the Mindful Guiding Programme with their parents.

Dynamic abilities include complex "meta-cognitive" and "executive functioning” skills required for successful problem solving, decision-making, flexible, adaptive thinking, future planning and preparation, productive reflection, self-regulation and emotional intimacy. These are the very skills typically neglected in formal education. 

Who participates in RDI?

Participants in the RDI® programmes are parents and concerned family members, along with a vulnerable "child" of any age.  Children involved in the RDI® programmes are typically born with or acquire neurologically based vulnerabilities that obstruct the development of the natural Guiding Relationship.

Parents entering the RDI® programmes typically possess normal and often superior parenting abilities. Frequently they successfully guide or have guided the vulnerable child's siblings. However, when deprived of the active participation of and accurate feedback from the child "Apprentice", even the most masterful "intuitive" Guides cannot be successful.

How does RDI determine success?

The goal of the RDI® programme is developing a Guiding Relationship, initially between a child and his or her parents and then between the child and other significant adults in the child's life.  The programme provides clear objectives related to child and parent learning and development.

However, in the final analysis, success cannot be measured by checking mastered objectives off a list. Rather, it must be based on the ability of the family to construct and maintain an environment for the vulnerable child that provides lifelong opportunities for mental growth and that eventually leads to the child's self-management and personal ownership of development. 

RDI focuses on constructing the essential foundations for mental development and harnessing the immense potential that we, along with most scientists believe resides within the family. We consider the program to be successful if the Guiding Relationship between parents and the vulnerable child becomes solidly established and contains the essential elements necessary for the child's future ownership of his or her independent functioning. 

The first step

The RDI Consultation Program is for many families, the first step towards developing their child's ability to function as a mindful decision maker.  RDI Consultation is a clinical program, specifically designed for those families where powerful obstacles have disrupted the formation of a natural mental guiding process. Parents’ work with trained RDI Consultants. The focus is on constructing essential foundations for mental development by harnessing the immense potential of the family.

Program Premises

Foundations of the adult mind are developed in the first years of life through the "Guiding Relationship".  From the middle of the first year of life, hour-by-hour, day-by-day, in every culture on earth, children interact with parents and other important adults in deceptively simple encounters, with a very serious underlying agenda; 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,” preventing them from developing foundations needed to participate in and benefit from the Guiding Relationship. The congenital problems of these children disrupt early parent-child communication, preventing even the most competent parent from providing the thousands of hours of safe, productive guidance needed to foster their child's dynamic development.

The RDI Consultation Program seeks to provide a second opportunity for parents and children to develop this essential relationship. We have distilled the typically intuitive process into its central elements.  Dr. Gutstein has spent over twenty years studying the intuitive guiding process as it is conducted over the entire world.  He has systematically "de-constructed" the process - breaking it apart into its central components, so that any parent can learn to be an effective guide.  He has developed a variety of methods to create optimal practice and learning environments that slow and amplify information so that children can experience trust in their guides and in themselves.

The Process

The program involves both parents and child learning new ways of thinking and perceiving in a carefully guided and personalized program.  An individual plan is developed, focusing on first reducing those bio psycho social obstacles preventing apprenticeship from developing and then providing the tools needed for successful parent-child guiding engagements to occur.

Consultants train parents to provide a safe, but constantly varying framework.  Children learn to use parents as a safe reference point for engaging with and mastering new mental challenges. Children learn to "upgrade" their personal understanding and competence through observing, sharing and comparing with the more expert mind of the parent. Parents learn to construct personalized modifications and remove obstacles, to provide an optimal learning environment.

Parents learn to add small pieces of uncertainty to predictable frameworks. Challenge is paired with success through self-regulation balanced by just enough parental support.  Parents make sure to capture critical episodes as "experience memories" and build a repository of similar memories in gradually more complex environments. 


Until the RDI Programme was initiated in 2001, the disruption, or failure of the natural Guiding Relationship meant that opportunities for dynamic mental and neural development were irrevocably lost. The program has provided a second chance for thousands of families worldwide to resume the critical functions that are the universal basis of family life and success in the 21st century world.



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Prue Watson

Occupational Therapist


0404 461 739

Practice Address
45A Lucas St
Rockhampton Q 4701

How RDI® helps Families

For Information about how RDI® helps families refer to the following websites

Connect & Relate for Autism

RDI Connect

RDI Consulant Australia

For further information or questions

Contact Me