Making connections. That's what we've been doing with even the limited RDI time we've been using RDI methods with Oliver. I can see it in the way he engages with me when we play; when we are laying side-by-side and he takes my face in his hands and searches my face with his eyes, eager to see all that is there. And I can feel it when he is the one to hold our embrace for a second longer.
I wanted to reply to the couple of people who posted questions about RDI after my last entry but I don't necessarily think I'm the best person to ask. We just started and we haven't yet had any training. But for those who want more information about RDI and how to get started or want to find additional resources I would read this and this. I would read every single entry of this blog. And I would visit the RDI website and register as member which allows you access to non-public documents. I would also say that if you are interested you should read a little bit so that you have a pretty good understanding of the approach and then just call a consultant. And talk to that person about your unique situation. And ask for the name of someone who might have a child similar to yours that you could also talk to. I wish I had looked into RDI six months ago when I first read about it. But at the time I thought it was too complicated and too costly. Now I don't think either impression is terribly accurate. It isn't any more or less complicated than ABA for instance and it feels much more natural to me. Also, I don't think it is particularly THAT expensive. Yes, it is more than nothing; but certainly not as much as a 20 hour/week ABA program either (at least not where we live).
OK, I got a little off the track there. I wanted to outline a couple of wildly successful activities that we've been doing that have increased Oliver's willingness to share in the excitement of what is about to happen by exchanging looks with me.
The first is a game that is fun for all of my boys. RT goes into a bedroom at either end of the hallway, turns out the lights and hides himself. I take Oliver and Sam each by the hand and together we walk slowly down the hallway with me making nervous, excited noises as we get closer to the door. Then, just before we reach the doorway I stop and look at Oliver with my eyes wide in anticipation. I continue to hold Oliver's hand until he looks at me (which doesn't take long). At this point he is usually so beside himself with anticipation that he almost climbs on top of me. Then I say "Go!" and he and Sam run into the bedroom and after a few seconds RT pops out of some corner and they all collapse in shrieks of real and feigned terror.
Another game that we like to play is that I sit close by to Oliver and say with great anticipation: "I'm going to. ..." then I pause to exaggerate the anticipation and take the time to share excited looks with Oliver as he waits to see what will happen. Then I end with sometime like ". ... tickle you!" or ". ... eat your toes!" or ". ... kiss you all over!" or whatever.
The thing about RDI's concept of facial gazing that I like so much is that the aim of eye contact then becomes helping the child to learn to read someone else's expression -- to get meaning from it and to share information between two people.
It's about making connections. Pure and simple.