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Relationship-Based Interventions and Autism

Relationship-based interventions focus on the individual's ability to form positive, meaningful relationships with other people.

Some relationship-based interventions use a combination of behavioural and developmental techniques.

Specific relationship-based interventions include

DIR Method

The Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-Based Model (also known as the DIR Method or Floortime) is a comprehensive, multi-component intervention used to help autistic children and children with other developmental disabilities.

The DIR Method is based on the idea that some children have difficulty reaching certain developmental milestones - such as communication and motor skills - but can be helped to meet those milestones through playful, structured interaction with an adult.

The key technique used within the DIR Method is a series of 'Floortime' exercises in which the carer takes an active role in spontaneous and fun activities that are directed by the child's interests and actions.

The DIR Method is usually delivered by parents, helped by a DIR Method consultant, who develops and oversees a programme personalised to the needs of the family, and with input from other professionals as necessary.

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Gentle Teaching

Gentle Teaching is a non-violent approach for helping people with special needs and sometimes challenging behaviours.

It focuses on four primary goals of care-giving:

  • Teaching the person to feel safe with the care giver.
  • Teaching the person to feel engaged with the care giver.
  • Teaching the person to feel unconditionally loved by the care giver.
  • Teaching the person to feel loving towards the care giver.

More Information

Please see publications on Gentle Teaching


Intensive Interaction

Intensive interaction is an approach based on natural conversations at a level that a person can understand and join in with. This is achieved by following the individual's lead and mirroring his or her behaviours and vocalisations.

Once an individual's attention has been gained a sequence of interactions begin which build over time. During the interactions the individual learns the fundamentals of communication (getting a response and responding, reading and using facial expressions, body language, eye contact, turn-taking, vocalising).

One of the most important things an individual learns through the process is that other people are good to be with and that other people enjoy being with them.

More Information

Please see publications on Intensive Interaction


Relationship Development Intervention

The Relationship Development Intervention (also known as RDI) is a parent-led approach which focuses on a child's difficulties with flexibility of thought, emotional regulation and perspective-taking.

RDI is based on the idea that children with autism have missed key developmental milestones (such as social referencing, joint attention) that enable them to think flexibly, regulate their emotions, and understand social situations.

RDI seeks to give children another chance to master these milestones in the same way that they are mastered by typically developing children: through their relationship with their parents.

An RDI consultant guides the parent to change their communication and interaction style so that they can support their child to fill in the developmental gaps they missed. This is done through everyday activities such as washing up, cooking, going for a walk, etc (some of which are video recorded and shared with the family's consultant who then provides feedback on progress).

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Responsive Teaching

Responsive teaching is a comprehensive parent-mediated intervention for children from birth to 6 years of age who have, or are at-risk for, child development and social emotional problems.

Responsive teaching is designed to address various issues including difficulites with cognition; language/communication; social-emotional functioning.

The responsive teaching curriculum includes a range of strategies such as Responsive Teaching Strategies; Pivotal Behavior Interventions; Objectives and Discussion Topics.

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Son-Rise Program

The Son-Rise Program (sometimes known as the Options Method) is a type of relationship-based intervention. It is used to help autistic children and children with other disabilities.

The Son-Rise Program is based on the idea that autistic children have trouble forming relationships with other people but can be helped to develop those relationships through playful interaction with an adult.

The adult follows the child’s lead rather than superimposing their own ideas of what the child should do. This includes ‘joining’ the child in his or behaviour rather than trying to stop it. So, if the child is stacking blocks or flapping his hands, the adult does the same.

The aim is not simply to copy the activity but to build trust. By doing the same as the child, the adult shows the child that he or she is loved and accepted without judgment. It then becomes much easier to build a relationship. As the relationship develops the adult is able to use the child’s own motivation to teach him or her new skills based around his or her own interests.

More Information

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Related Pages

Related Glossaries


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http://www.researchautism.net/relationship-based-interventions
Updated
13 Feb 2019