Saturday, June 02, 2007


Today Reece and Austin had their RDA 3, the third part of the assessment process for Relationship Development Intervention ( At our meeting this past week, we had discussed with our consultant the approach we wanted to take with each child, and some of the things we would be doing with them. It seemed pretty much to the point, and I figured the kids would have a good time. I still am not totally comfortable with the concept of "R-C-R" (Regulation-Challenge-Reorganization), but the consultant was in the room with us so I figured it would all be OK.

I was first up with Reece. Our goal with Reece was to encourage interaction and regulation using as few words as possible, and trying to encourage a Master-Apprentice relationship. When I say she did not like that one bit, it is certainly not an understatement. The first activity we did was a shared eating activity. The food was jello, which she refused to eat. So the consultant wanted us just empty it out of the little cup in a coordinated manner. She wouldn't (or couldn't, not sure which one) do it. We moved on to something else, and when it became evident to Reece that I was supposed to be the one who was making the decisions and I wasn't able to direct her behavior with specific prompts... she broke down. She went into the corner and wouldn't interact at all. We tried a number of different things, and she would start to do it with me, but as soon as she couldn't have control over it, she went back to the corner (or under the table). At one point she started crying in the corner, so the consultant had me go to comfort her non-verbally. As soon as I touched her, Reece climbed into my lap, grabbed me around the neck, and sobbed. I rubbed her back, and pretty soon I was crying as well. We ended on a positive note though. Our consultant (Miss Lisa) wanted the ending to be positive, so she got out something she had done during the RDA2 that Reece enjoyed. Then my time was over. Russ indicated the same thing happened with him when it was his turn with Reece.

Funny note: On the way home from the office, Reece said she wanted to talk to me about therapy. She said, "You wanted to be the coach, and I don't like that! Next time we go, I will be the coach, OK?" Russ said something great: "We want to work together as a team!" and Reece replied, "I don't want to work together... I want to be the coach!"

Austin's didn't go much better. He was not as insistent on control, however, he just kept doing his own thing regardless. He did get the RCR patterns I was trying to establish, but he wasn't motivated to keep the pattern going. He would break off from the pattern and do his own thing. During the second activity, where I was supposed to again drop my language and prompting, he became quite flustered. It was very hard for me to not prompt, and I realize how much I use prompting and language with both of them. Russ said his time with Austin was pretty good.

So. I am upset. Surprise! Surprise! It's so upsetting to see that the progress that I think I am seeing, especially with Reece, is superficial. When I take out the compensating I'm doing for her, verbally and with other forms of prompting, she falls apart. :( And it's so frustrating for me that I feel like I don't know what I'm doing. Why can't I seem to get the hang of this? I can't stand feeling like a failure, and that's all I've felt since we started RDI. It seems like from day 1, everything is telling me what a terrible job I'm doing as a parent and how RDI will fix me, and thereby fix them. And today just was another reassurance that I suck with my kids.

We have another parent meeting (this may be considered RDA4?) on Wednesday to discuss the today's stuff, and preview the last session we have with each child, which happens late next week. Then we'll wrap up with a final parent meeting the week after that, and discuss plans and objectives. I'm going to need some encouragement at this next meeting coming up. I feel like I just don't want to interact with any of the kids right now, because I'm obviously doing such a rotten job with it. What I've been doing has just been making them worse!!

I really hope this is all worth it. The topic of this week's RDI email newsletter was "RDI: Giving Parenting back to the Parents". For me, so far, RDI has served to make me feel completely inept. I'm not going to pretend that I'm some massively self-confident person, but at least with my kids, I always have felt there is nobody who knows them better than I do. Especially with Austin... I have always known what he needed and how to take care of him, when nobody else understood him. Reece has been somewhat more of a mystery, but I have always been the one who could handle her. Now, I feel like that was all a huge lie.

If you have read this far, please understand that I'm not looking for anyone to try to 'fix it'. I just really needed to express this. I tried so hard on the way home not to cry, and I don't want to dump this all on my dh. Of course, if there is something that you know about all of this that I don't, please don't hesitate to comment! ;) I have read that it's common to feel overwhelmed when you first start RDI, but I don't think I've read anywhere that you feel like your parenting is being negatively critiqued. ::sigh:: Maybe it's just me... wouldn't be the first time.


Lisa said...

Sounds like it was a thought-provoking, and probably very valuable, session! I am glad you wrote it all out; that can be very cathartic. I hope to be online later, but my dad will be here and I do not want to be rude if he wants to chat.

Becca said...

While I really can't grasp all that you are going through, I am so sorry that you are having such a rough time with these evaluations. I have no advice or comfort to give, only to say that everything that I read here (and I love reading about all that your kiddos do!) bears witness to your hard work and love as a mother.

Hang in there.

The Glasers said...


I have been chatting with other RDI parents and their observations seem to match the idea presented in the manuals that higher-functioning children can be harder to engage than lower functioning ones. I think the desire to control and inflexible thinking are two reasons why.

I have always thought of Pamela as a lower functioning child and, perhaps, that is why she is progressing with more ease. Then again, I could be out in la-la land because I might be compensating, too!

The wonderful thing is that Reece turned to you for physical comfort. You are a great mother and, when the chips are down, she knows she can trust you.

Every one has glimpses of themselves as inept. When put under the stress test you have faced, our weaknesses and lousy parenting skills would be so obvious.

You are a great mom and you will make it through this process!


Jan said...

I wish I knew how to help.. but I know that's not what you're expecting. : )
Know that I'm here if you need to chat.
I'm reading this as a start of a new process for you guys. Any new routine can be rough at first. Hopefully as you progress though this, it will get easier and easier.

You're in my prayers!
You are a wonderful mommy!