February has many of us thinking about love.You know that feeling when you discover you are in love? That intense energy, the preoccupied mind, the need to web your heart’s desire into every conversation.
Remember the feeling when you knew it was meant to be? When it just feels oh so right...the feeling of being in love, fully with a full heart. I remember this intense feeling of falling in love…with RDI. Seventeen years later, RDI is still the one!
RDI is my clinical love
RDI was my first love. It was the first therapy model where I found this connection with where I knew I was meant to be, doing exactly what I was doing. At first, it was all butterflies in my stomach as I learned as much I could about this way of being a therapist. I was bursting with ideas and wanted to spend all my time learning and growing as a therapist. I put my heart into this therapy model and I am so grateful for what I have gotten in return.
RDI still holds the deepest part of my clinical heart.
My heart can still remember the first time Carrie burst into tears sharing that her son said his first “I love you” without prompting just because he felt it. I have the cutest little song stuck in my mind “bunny, bunny, bunny, hop, hop, hop” as I can picture Kaley and her mom bouncing down the street joyfully together, sharing a moment. The giggle that erupted between John and his mom the egg accidentally cracked on the floor. His mom and I cherished the moment of enjoying the unpredictable, the unexpected. My heart hurts a little when I think of Daniel sharing that he “finally feels worth it” a teen who found self-love and shifted away from the dread and hopeless. I know what it feels like to see an ‘aha’ moment that most people would miss but we, parent and RDI consultant, noticed as remarkable, beautiful. It’s all been worth it.
RDI is still the one! Here’s why….
At 22 years old, I found RDI and it gave me that incredible feeling of being in love. We both have grown. RDI is a clinical model that has kept its heart, but changed in so many other ways. As the years turn to decades, RDI has continued to refine itself, deepen itself, become more personal. It has become a bit of a spiritual practice; practicing RDI. This model has grown in meaning, scope, and clarity. The RDI of today is not the overly complicated relationships of our past. We’ve both matured. Today, RDI is confident in it’s why and I am proud to practice this model of therapy where love, family and self-worth are front and center.
When I left ABA for RDI, I knew I was searching for a sense of connection. I was leaving a therapy model that I knew I wasn’t compatible with, but I was certainly taking a leap of faith in RDI. I knew that I wanted to create connections between parent and child, the type of connection that would allow for all other partnerships to take their own form. I just didn’t know that these connections would last a lifetime.
Connection is bigger than interaction. While being an RDI consultant, I have connected husband and wife, mother and child, formed lasting friendships, connected children to a sense of purpose and power, connected our community in a larger mission of social change. RDI has connected me to myself and the immense strength of human connection. I am a better human being on this planet because I get to serve human beings in their greatest need; to love and be loved.
To me, belonging is one layer deeper than connection. It’s the felt sense that you are exactly who you are supposed to be and with the people that support your journey. RDI has created this clinical safe space for me to discover my potential as a clinician and to trust in myself to be my most authentic version of me as a clinician.
As I approach 40 years old, I know I belong here. I know I create a sense of belonging in the people that I get to serve; from the littlest of littles to those that I can’t believe are actual adults now, to those that have walked this earth a little longer than I and have let me in regardless. I’ve created my tribe and when I’m with them, I feel alive.
I belong here, practicing RDI.
I’ve found myself wanting the world to be different for autistic people and their family members. When I was 22 I didn’t know the word social change, let alone know I wanted to be part of creating a more just world. But now, this is who I am and I know RDI has something to do with it.
Practicing RDI allowed me to really feel the humanity of families raising autistic children. I became a mother myself and realized that, , for the most part humans are humans. But culturally we’ve written a different narrative about autistic people. This negative narrative doesn’t match with the people that I’ve come to love while practicing RDI. I am so fortunate to have a clinical path where I know I push good into people’s homes, into schools, into the hearts of those that get to know my clients.
It just works.
Sometimes you just find something that works. RDI works for me. RDI works for families. RDI works to strengthen healthy autistic identity. RDI works to create a more truthful view of what it means to be autistic. RDI works to deepen family relationships. RDI works for me and I will continue to practice RDI and create hope, positivity, connection, belonging, truth, authenticity, adventure, and most of all love into this world.
I love you, RDI. To many more years together.
If you want to learn more about RDI and how it can help your family, schedule an appointment here.
What a beautiful testimony to the power of RDI, Jenny. While I found it in a different way, I share your love for the approach.