Monthly Archives: August 2012

Knowledge vs Information RDI Webinar Notes

Knowledge relates not to information content, but to the efficacy of information in terms of its application to the situation at hand – Bennett & Bennett.

Dr. Steve Gutstein has been giving weekly webinars for parents on the RDI system. They’re very good, rich in RDI theory. If you are on the RDI system and cannot make the webinar times, they’re being archived. It’s great to attend the live presentation, because I can ask questions. Here’s my notes from this week’s webinar, “The Importance of Experience Based Knowledge.” Continue reading

Engaged Learning

As I mentioned earlier, some RDI objectives have been updated recently, so our consultant thought it might be good to revisit them. She was right. I just read a short essay on Engaged Learning, and it really helped remind me about where we’re going. Very inspirational. Briefly, Engaged Learning is the idea that learning must be active, where the learner is fully participating in gaining knowledge, transforming it, integrating it into earlier knowledge and evaluating their own progress.

For me, it means that Zip learns to learn and likes to learn. That’s it. This is how I’d like him to live his life.

I must remember this as I get caught up in school goals and worksheets and manipulatives. They are not the point. Engaged Learning is the point.

Beginning Handwriting and Free Letter L Worksheet

So we’re beginning our first homeschool year. I ordered a few pieces of curriculum and I’ll reveal them as they arrive in our mailbox. For handwriting, Handwriting Without Tears was recommended to us by several people. I’m planning on taking an easy, gentle approach into handwriting.

Zip does not willingly take up a crayon or any art material. Whether fairly or not, I do blame his ABA preschool for this since if he did not want to do it, they would just pick up his hand and make him do it, “hand-over-hand.” This is the wrong approach to art. Young children should be encouraged to explore materials and proceed at their own pace. I have a huge stack of “perfect” art projects from preschool that make me cringe to look at them. I’ve been working to undo this reluctance by making art supplies available and occasionally inviting him to participate without setting any expectations. Continue reading

More on Productive Uncertainty and Studying

In typical development, usually around the age of 12 months of age, the child discovers a new way to deal with uncertainty. When confronted with a new object, person, or task, he realizes he is feeling uncertainty but is not afraid. He starts to trust a more experienced guide to help him understand the world. He recognizes that he can study unfamiliar objects, persons, or tasks to determine whether to engage with them. He checks in with the guide to decide how to react to the new thing. This is easily seen in an infant when he looks at his mother when a new toy is placed on the floor. Mom smiles at him and the reassured baby reaches out to touch the toy. If mom had frowned or acted scared, the baby would realize that he should be wary or afraid.

Our kids on the autism spectrum miss this milestone. Despite the many differences along the autism spectrum, this lack of perspective-borrowing is universal. Teaching our kids this crucial skill is a fundamental component of RDI. It is not easy because by missing this skill, the child learns to react with fear and rigid control of situations, thus severely limiting their ability to learn and interact with others and situations. Continue reading