Logan has reached Stage 5 of RDI and has begun doing dyads as well. Dyads are where he goes into our consultant’s office and plays with another child who has autism and is at the same RDI level. He is currently doing this on Mondays with Hope, a sweet girl his age that he has known for years. He is doing well with this and enjoying it very much.
I asked Donna at our last consult why Logan couldn’t transfer his newly accomplished skills to others. As in, why couldn’t he do it with Madison or other kids at church. She explained that he needs to build up positive episodic memories of being successful with other children. Then he starts to realize that he can do it. This is why it is so important that every interaction that Logan has with other children end successfully. Not always an easy task, let me tell you.
So, in my quest to overachieve(lol), I asked about using Madison as a sort of dyad. You know picking some earlier objectives that I know he has completely mastered and can do without thinking about it. Setting up some things for them to do together with that objective in mind. She agreed that this would be a great idea. I am anticipating that Madison will become an RDI extender (a person that does RDI with the child that is not his parents) at some point in the next few years . She will learn to relate to him in a RDI friendly way. This is a win win situation for both of them. He learns how to play appropriately with her and she gets a better playmate.
A great example of this would be baking cupcakes using Madison’s cupcake maker that she received for Christmas. We want Logan to have the harder job in the exchange so that he really has to stay regulated and participate in the exchange. This would be achieved by making him the mixer and Madison the ingredient passer. He has to coordinate his actions with hers by waiting for each ingredient. Then he mixes and pours in to the cupcake mold and she puts in to the microwave. After 30 seconds, the cupcake is done then on to frosting. Frosting is done the same way then the cupcake is enjoyed.
Now in a typical dyad situation, the consultant steps in only when needed. Since Madison is only 6, I am right next to the exchange the whole time to keep it flowing. I am responsible for maintaining the interaction between them. If Madison was older then I could explain it to her and have her be responsible for it.
In the end, this helps both children. Logan benefits more from it immediately. But both develop a strong sibling bond. They make memories that will last them a lifetime. If indeed Madison has to care for Logan when they are adults, she will be well equipped to do so and will have a strong bond with him. They will be siblings and friends. What more can I ask for?