Jake and I feel strongly about autism and RDI. We know that RDI has changed both our lives. One of the major outcomes of doing RDI is that our students begin to love challenge.
As you know, kids with autism may have a hard time with challenge. Jake was no exception. Jake did not like any type of challenge before beginning RDI. Jake was averse to engaging in anything new, anything different.
I knew instinctively that Jake needed to pursue hobbies and interests, even if he didn’t want to. I remember seeing an article about the New Jersey Dare Devils, a hockey program that ran out of South Mountain Recreation Center for kids with special needs.
“Wow”, I thought, “that is so amazing.” Jake could learn how to skate, play hockey, and meet other kids. Jake didn’t think it was so amazing. He cried and screamed every time I took him to skate. It was brutal. But I persisted. I did’t know about RDI then, if I had, it probably would have been easier but Jake did eventually learn to skate and enjoyed it!
Now challenges are welcomed. Jake has a sense of competence, he knows how to set goals and work towards them. He also knows that it’s okay not to reach your goal on the first attempt. He learns from his experiences, he makes adjustments when necessary, he manages setbacks. He understands that the most important thing anyone can do is try.
In that spirit, Jake and I are accepting the Gary Vee Challenge of producing 64 pieces of content a day. We both are committed to spreading RDI awareness, so challenge accepted!
Wish us luck!
Below is a video of Jake and a challenge he set for himself last year. As you watch the video notice the mental tools Jake uses with ease to navigate real world challenges. Jake is able to re-enact his experience, he has captured the moment and the feelings he had in the moment. Jake is genuinely proud of himself and that shines through. Encoding the moment is vital to Jake wanting to engage in challenge again in the future. His own sense of happiness and success is what will motivate him. Jake is able to use self talk to dispel his doubts and fears. Finally, he reflects on his past and looks towards to his future goals. These are all skills that can be taught using RDI to help students with autism reach success!