Friday, June 24, 2011

New Summary of the RDI Program

Dr. Gutstein has unveiled a brand new version of the RDI program for autism remediation. It contains a new on-line "platform" and a new "objective" system for both parents and students. We are all very excited about what promises to be an even better program than before! Below is a brief introduction he wrote explaining the basics of the RDI family consultation program. If you would like more information about RDI, contact me (at or on Facebook at Laura Barbuto DeAngelo) or one of the hundreds of other certified consultants worldwide. See the website for a list of certified consultants.

Introduction to the Family Consultation Program

The first step

The Family Consultation Program is for many families, the first step towards developing their child's ability to function as a mindful decision maker. FCP 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 Family 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 Family 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 Family Consultation Program 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.

-Dr. Steven Gutstein