Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®)

Note: The RDI® program was not responsive to the CEBC's inquiry. The following information was obtained from publicly available sources.

About This Program

Target Population: Children and families that face autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and other developmental difficulties

Program Overview

Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®) is for individuals and families that face autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and other developmental difficulties. It is designed to activate the grow-seeking drive inside those with an ASD.

RDI® programs are designed to teach parents how to guide their child to seek out and succeed in truly reciprocal relationships, while addressing key core issues such as motivation, communication, emotional regulation, episodic memory, rapid attention-shifting, self-awareness, appraisal, executive functioning, flexible thinking, and creative problem solving.

RDI® includes an intensive parent training component designed for both parents’ involvement from the beginning and real-life coaching that takes place in the home setting with the whole family. The goal is to guide family members to develop new ways of thinking, perceiving, and acting to know how to best facilitate the mental growth of the child with an ASD. The program embraces the premise that every family member is critical to success. A trained RDI® Consultant works with each family to develop an individualized set of objectives that may include simplifying the home environment, slowing down the pace of life, and balancing the entire family’s schedule and life outside of a special needs’ diagnosis. The RDI® program believes that making lasting, meaningful, and lifelong changes begins at home with the child’s parents first, and that the remediation process should take place amidst each family’s unique culture and relationships.

Logic Model

The program representative did not provide information about a Logic Model for Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®).

Manuals and Training

Publicly available information indicates there is some training available for this program.
See contact info below.

Relevant Published, Peer-Reviewed Research

Gutstein, S. E., Burgess, A. F., & Montfort, K. (2007). Evaluation of the Relationship Development Intervention Program. Autism, 11(5), 397–411. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362361307079603

Type of Study: One-group pretest–posttest study
Number of Participants: 16 parent-child dyads

Population:

  • Age — Parents: Not specified; Children: 21–94 months
  • Race/Ethnicity — Parents: Not specified; Children: Not specified
  • Gender — Parents: Not specified; Children: Not specified
  • Status — Participants were children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Location/Institution: Connections Center in Houston, Texas

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
This purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) to address unique deficits inherent in autism spectrum disorders. Measures utilized include the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview–Revised (ADI–R). Results indicate that all children met ADOS/ADI–R criteria for autism prior to treatment, no child met criteria at follow-up. Similar positive results were found in relation to flexibility and educational placement. Limitations include lack of a control or comparison group, constraints on age and IQ of treated children, parent self-selection, and parent education conducted through a single clinic setting.

Length of postintervention follow-up: 30 months.

Hobson, J. A., Tarver, L., Beurkens, N., & Hobson, R. P. (2016). The relation between severity of autism and caregiver-child interaction: A study in the context of Relationship Development Intervention. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44(4), 745–755. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-015-0067-y

Type of Study: One-group pretest–posttest study
Number of Participants: 18 parent-child dyads

Population:

  • Age — Parents: Not specified; Children: 2–12 years
  • Race/Ethnicity — Parents: Not specified; Children: 100% Caucasian
  • Gender — Parents: 16 Females and 2 Males; Children: 16 Males and 2 Females
  • Status — Participants were children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Location/Institution: A psychology clinic in the Midwestern United States

Summary: (To include basic study design, measures, results, and notable limitations)
The purpose of this study was to examine the relations between severity of children’s autism and qualities of parent-child interaction in children receiving in Relationship Development Intervention (RDI). Measures utilized include the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Dyadic Coding Scales (DCS). Results indicate that severity of autism that was correlated with lower quality of parent-child interaction ratings on each of these variables changed over the course of treatment; and there was evidence that improvement was specifically related to the quality of parent-child interaction at baseline. Limitations include lack of comparison group, variability in the timing of the first and second assessment, and lack of follow-up.

Length of postintervention follow-up: None.

Additional References

No reference materials are currently available for Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®).

Contact Information

Steven E. Gutstein, PhD
Website: www.rdiconnect.com
Email:

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed by CEBC: March 2021

Date Program Content Last Reviewed by Program Staff: June 2021

Date Program Originally Loaded onto CEBC: June 2021