RDI goes right to the heart of autism and remediates the actual “core deficits" of autism spectrum disorder



Self Awareness – the ability to understand how one’s behavior impacts others; the ability to understand and appreciate others’ unique values, beliefs and perspectives  


Episodic Memory – the ability to use past experiences to guide future behaviour, and to learn from consequences


Flexible Thinking – the ability to flexibly and successfully cope with life’s numerous unexpected situations; to think in shades of grey, and without rigidity

Dynamic Appraisal – the ability to filter out superfluous information on a moment-to-moment basis, and to quickly determine how to respond to it

Experience Sharing – the ability to participate in genuine, reciprocal communication, and to enjoy the “dance” of social interaction


Relationship Development Intervention


Often described as “the missing piece of the puzzle” in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) is a cognitive-developmental treatment program that teaches parents how to guide their child to seek out and succeed in truly reciprocal relationships, while addressing key core issues such as motivation, communication, emotional regulation, episodic memory, rapid attention-shifting, self awareness, appraisal, executive functioning, flexible thinking and creative problem solving.

RDI is a significant departure from traditional ASD interventions, and does not simply seek to mask the child’s condition with scripted conversations or rehearsed behaviors, but actually makes neuro-cognitive changes over time that provides the child with the skills needed to navigate life’s challenges on their own.  By developing a child’s capacity for dynamic thinking we open the door to the possibility of a greater quality of life, one that includes:



  • Reciprocal communication

  • Genuine friendships

  • Confident independent living

  • Prolonged relationships

  • Meaningful employment

  • High Quality of Life




Relationship Development Intervention:

Empowering Parents and Impacting Lives

The RDI® Program is:


  • A parent-based intervention program: where parents are provided the tools to effectively teach Dynamic Intelligence skills and motivation to their child.


  • About the joy in connecting: a path for people on the autism spectrum to learn friendship, empathy, and a love of sharing their world and experiences with others.


  • About changing neurology: a way for people on the spectrum to become flexible thinkers and creative problem solvers who enjoy the challenges of change and who desire to expand their world.


  • Based on over 20 years of research: by world's experts on typical development as well as scientific studies on people with autism.


  • Developmental & systematic: a step-by-step program that focuses first on building the motivations so that skills will be used & generalized; followed by carefully and systematically building the skills for competence and fulfillment in a complex world.


  • Realistic: a program that can be started easily, and implemented seamlessly into regular, day-to-day activities to enrich the life of the whole family.


  • Precise: a method that measures and begins at the edge of each person's capability and then carefully but continually raises the bar.

"RDI was the best thing that could have happened to my family when autism turned our world upside down. Not only are my husband and I more confident as parents when handling autism-related challenges, we again have hopes and dreams for our sons future."  ~ Laurie and Sid Sarver



"RDI has given our family hope. We have gone from not knowing what to do to having goals to work towards.  It has allowed us to take an active roll in helping our son have a better future." ~ Brenda and Gary Sather


Research on RDI® Program:


Within 18 months, over 70% of children in the initial study improved their diagnostic category on the ADOS. 70% of the RDI® Program group moved from a special education or home setting to a regular classroom without any special support. On the contrary, not a single child in the comparison group (of children receiving 2x the amount of other intensive interventions) improved their diagnosis, nor progressed into a regular classroom without an aide. This is the first study to ever demonstrate that a clinical intervention can change children's diagnostic classification on the ADOS.


“After 2½ years on the program, less than 15% of children were still in Special Ed classes, compared to 90% prior to RDI. Prior to RDI, 90% of children scored in the autism range on the ADOS, while after 2½ years, fewer than 10% received the autism rating.” ~~ Dr Steven Gutstein, Founder of the RDI program.


“The Relationship Development Program is designed to encourage genuine reciprocal relationships……because the approach is quite different from conventional social skills programs, we benefit not only from new insight, but practical strategies for parents and professionals as well……a remarkable Program.”  ~~ Tony Attwood, PhD – Author of The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome.


“The RDI program has been designed with skill and originality. It is disciplined and circumspect, as well as ambitious and inspiring. It promises to change our view of what treatment can achieve.” ~~ Dr Peter Hobson, University of London - Author of The Cradle of Thought & Autism and the Development of Mind.


Evaluation of Relationship Development Intervention

Evidence Based Research for RDI

RDI and Autism Management

RDI Formative Evaluation


For additional information regarding RDI®, please visit the Connections Center website: www.rdiconnect.com

"...Aside from the improvements in overall eye contact,
Marshall is actually looking for our facial expressions for input. We've also noted improvements in behavior, transitioning and attempts at communicating his needs through speech vs yelling & kicking. This wouldn't be possible without the RDI
Marshall, age 7


"... Daniel no longer prefers playing quietly alone during his down time. He actively engages us and other children to play with him all day! He truly wants to connect with us as much as we want to with him. The RDI Program has helped us understand how to teach him about this and how much fun it can be!"
Daniel, age 4

RDI® is highly cost-effective, with yearly treatment costs approximately 1/5 that of one-on-one behavioral intervention programs. Once parents are trained to function as effective guides to their children, need for secondary support staff is minimal.


Would you like to find out more about RDI and see if it's good fit for your child and family?  Come in for a FREE no obligation consultation! 


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