Autistic Children Show Unprecedented Improvement in Initial Research of Relationship Development Intervention Program

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The Relationship Development Intervention (RDIÂ?) program may help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) achieve improvements on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), a standardized protocol for observation of social and communicative behavior associated with autism. According to research published in this monthÂ?s Autism Spectrum Quarterly, 12 of the 17 children in the study group improved in at least one category on the ADOS.

Preliminary research indicates that the Relationship Development Intervention (RDI™) program may help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) achieve improvements on the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), a standardized protocol for observation of social and communicative behavior associated with autism. The research, published in this month’s Autism Spectrum Quarterly, indicates that 12 of the 17 children in the study group improved in at least one category on the ADOS.

The RDI program is a parent-based clinical treatment that addresses the core problems faced by all individuals with ASD, such as learning friendship, empathy and a love of sharing their world with others. The RDI program is based on extensive research in typical development and translates research findings into a systematic clinical approach.

Dr. Steven Gutstein, author of the study, called the findings encouraging.

“It is clear that individuals with ASD can benefit from our completely new way of thinking about and treating their deficits,” said Gutstein. “We are challenging families and professionals to think beyond achieving mere functionality as a successful outcome for individuals with ASD; our reference point for success in the RDI program is quality of life.”

However, Gutstein was careful to point out that the small sample size needs to be taken into account when considering the implications of the research. Additional research is underway.

The study observed 31 children - all between the ages of two and nine and all with ASD - during a 16-month period. The families of 17 children participated in the RDI program while a control group of 14 children of similar diagnoses, ages, cognitive and language functioning participated in other treatments. After 16 months, 70 percent of the children in the RDI program had improved in at least one diagnostic category on the ADOS and 13 of the 17 RDI children were attending regular education settings without significant support.

In contrast, not a single child in the non-RDI group had improved in any diagnostic category of the ADOS and none had moved from a special to a regular education setting during the same 16 months.

About Connections Center

Established in 1995, the Connections Center for Family and Personal Development, based in Houston, is a multi-disciplinary program to develop innovative evaluation and intervention programs for people with relationship disorders. Led by Drs. Steve Gutstein and Rachelle K. Sheely, the Connections Center staff provides a full range of evaluation and treatment services, including RDI. They provide education and training to families and professionals worldwide.

More information is available at http://www.rdiconnect.com.

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Dan Keeney