Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)

Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) was developed by Dr. Steven Gutstein, and is a cognitive-developmental approach to treating autism spectrum disorders.   RDI is a parent based program, which means that parents are taught and provided the skills to strengthen the child’s abilities in dynamic intelligence.  Individuals with ASD struggle with deficits in the areas of flexible thinking and problem solving, using and reading non verbal communication, aversion to change, collaborating with others, and sharing perspectives. RDI aims to remediate these deficits, thereby improving the child’s competence to manage uncertainty and motivation to participate in dynamic, real life situations.

Gutstein believes that all of autism’s core deficits have one thing in common. Instead of relying on “static intelligence” (that is, the ability to know information or memorize facts) they rely upon “dynamic intelligence” (the ability to flexibly and creatively respond to novel situations). Thus, the purpose of RDI is to build or remediate dynamic intelligence.

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