My Inspiration

I was first introduced to RDI at a conference where I heard Jennifer McCaskill, an RDI consultant, speak. I chose to attend this particular session because I had always wanted to focus on autism, even as I worked towards my undergraduate degree in special education. During this time, I nannied for two brothers who had autism. I also grew up with a brother who has special needs. My relationship with my brother is what sparked my desire to work in special education, and then as I worked closely with children on the spectrum, I knew this was what I want to focus on. Despite my degree, and my experience working in the school system, I did not feel I had any specialized training or understanding of how to best help children and families affected by autism. I was working for Babies Can’t Wait when I attended the conference that introduced me to RDI. I immediately thought, “This makes sense. This sounds really good.” I agreed with the concept behind it, the focus of it. What stood out to me from that day was the focus on quality of life, the idea that future happiness was the ultimate goal. This was something I hadn’t seen emphasized in other approaches. I had seen the research about current Autism treatments that focused on performance tasks, which even with mastery, lead to unhappiness,depression, low quality of life and employment levels as adults. I know as a mother to 3 children, and a sister of a brother with special needs, that my wish for them is to lead happy, successful, and fulfilling lives, and I want to be able to offer that opportunity to every family.

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