Sunday, October 08, 2006

RDI financing redux

In a recent post I discussed my growing concern about two elements of the business side of the autism intervention model Relationship Development Intervention (RDI). I had two primary concerns:

1) The cost of the RDI "protocol," which is so high that it precludes its use by many (perhaps most) families, and

2) My perception that some proponents of RDI suggested that only those parents following the prescribed RDI protocol were doing "real" RDI, and those of use researching, studying, networking, and implementing on our own ran the risk of setting our children's progress back instead of moving it forward.

I was pleased, then, when a recent edition of the RDI newsletter addressed both issues. It reads,

We have never wanted to discourage parents who either cannot afford or do not have access to Certified Consultants, from attempting to work with their child using RDI® Program principles. We have certainly read and seen many accounts of exciting changes brought about by parents who were intuitively using our methods as they were intended. Yet we do highly recommend parents follow the RDI® Program protocol, including taking full advantage of the Parent Seminar and the expertise of Consultants because this is the best way to get the most effective RDI® Program. So far, parents needing outside funding have accessed it through a variety of sources.

The newsletter goes on to list seven sources of funding that RDI families have used and concludes with,

Our goal is for the RDI® Program in its entirety, (Parent Seminars, RDAs™, ongoing consulting, etc.) to be accessible to every family with a child on the autism spectrum. However, this is not something we can do by ourselves. Nor can this be done through FARR, whose charter restricts it from funding treatment programs for individual families. It is time for all of us, as a community to work together to help those who cannot afford RDI® Program services. The Connections Center wants to take a leadership role in this initiative, and has already started discussions with a parent who is willing to spearhead fundraising. What we need next is a non-profit foundation to act as the conduit and administrator for providing the funds. If you have access to a non-profit organization that would be willing to do this, or if you have any good connections to possible funding sources, please let us know. We do not want any child, teen or adult on the spectrum left behind due to lack of financial resources and are actively working on a solution. We welcome your ideas and your support and hope to be able to start providing RDI® Program scholarships in the very near future.

I'm delighted to see that the folks at the Connections Center are recognizing and addressing the very real issues of access. The RDI philosophy has made - is making - a tremendous difference in our lives. I hope it will continue to do the same for many, many more.


Anonymous said...

Nice post.

I love RDI and am a big fan of it. However, when I attend a two-day conference and realize the Dr. Guststien is taking home over 25K, I am shocked!

Granted there is the cost of the facilities and his staff, but wow, that is far too expensive.

Judi said...

We are starting RDI in the winter, mostly due to the fact that my cousins son has had tremendous success with it. Compared with the cost of IBI (ABA), I find it far less expensive and it's far more accessible for us. I was quite happy with this newsletter as well. I am going to go to my employer and see if there is any way they can help fund this, as it isn't covered by insurance.

not my blg said...


Here is the problem with that idea. By law, a non-profit cannot provide funds to support a for profit company as its mission. If a non-profit extends more than 25% of its budget towards a for profit company, it will loose its non profit status. I don't know if Gutstein knows this or not. If he doesn't someone should inform him, if he does phooey on him.

Anonymous said...

Is the RDI Connection center non-profit though? My sense is it is a for profit venture.

not my blg said...

"What we need next is a non-profit foundation to act as the conduit and administrator for providing the funds. If you have access to a non-profit organization that would be willing to do this,"

RDI is for profit but suggesting a non-profit raise and provide funding for RDI is the problem. What Gutstein should do is create a subsidiary of RDI's main operating company. This sub could raise funds. Every parent who benefits from the sub's fundraising would become a member in the sub. But of course, that gets complicated too around April 15th. Its a good idea that RDI has and one that could probably be "hashed out".

Anonymous said...

I would like to know how Gutstein has workshops that don't even include the child. During ABA workshops the child is (of course) included, evaluated, observed and then programming is determined. Why does Gutstein have parents come alone to these expensive 4 day weekends and then they have to hire a consultant? RDI and Gutstein seem too much like Son-Rise to me. Both have figured out a good way to make more money off the parents. Additionally, Gutstein is all about joint attention and theory of mind. Hardly anything new. A good program will always include that. Simon Baron-Cohen has already written about all of that, long before Gutstein.

Anonymous said...

Just started looking in to RDI, for my 4 year old son, The consultant who is under training will be charging $125 pe hour, she wants to do 8 hours of Parent educational training and then 20 hours of assesment. Treatment plan will be 5 hours a month that would include review of the tapes, and sending us the feed back.It sounded quite expenisive to me , could anyone please share how much it has cost them initially.