Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)
Description: Relationship Development Intervention is a treatment program proposed for autistic spectrum disorders. It was developed and trademarked by the husband/wife team of Steven Gutstein, PhD and Rachelle K. Sheely, PhD, clinical psychologists. The focus of RDI is to teach parents and others how to motivate and enable those with autism to experience dynamic social relationships through "social and emotional development activities" such as passing a "hot potato" rapidly back and forth or duplicating facial expressions shown in pictures.
Research Summary: To date there are no studies with strong experimental designs evaluating whether or not RDI intervention is effective. Preliminary data that may support this intervention are cited on the developers’ website and in one published but uncontrolled study which reported results on one group only (Gutstein, Burgess, & Montfort, 2007).
Recommendations: Researchers may wish to conduct studies with strong scientific designs to evaluate Relationship Development Intervention. Professionals should present this intervention as untested and encourage families who are considering this intervention to evaluate it carefully.
Gutstein, S. E., Burgess, A. F., & Montfort, K. (2007). Evaluation of the relationship development intervention program. Autism, 11(5), 397-411.
Related article : Relationship Development Intervention: A Review of Its Effectiveness