INTERNATIONAL LEADER IN AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS TO DISCUSS LATEST ADVANCES WITH SYDNEY FAMILIES AND PROFESSIONALS
Dr. Steve Gutstein to Discuss Promising New RDI™ Approach During Workshop
Sydney, Australia, 27 January, 2005 – As discussion continues regarding the increased prevalence of autism, Dr. Steve Gutstein, will come to Sydney for a comprehensive two-day workshop delving into the latest research findings and treatment advances. An internationally recognised author and innovator in the field of autism spectrum disorders, Gutstein’s discussion will focus on the Relationship Development Intervention™ (RDI™) methodology Gutstein developed.
The workshop, scheduled for 15 and 16 February, is intended for family members, professionals, researchers and educators who work with people on the autism spectrum. The workshop will include the following:
- How modifying communication style can dramatically change the way a person on the autism spectrum relates to others;
- The importance of guiding and pacing, creating an experience-sharing communication environment and capturing episodic memories; and
- What motivates people on the autistic spectrum to develop relationships.
Through RDI, a parent-based clinical treatment program, Gutstein has worked to translate research findings into a systematic clinical program to address the core problems faced by all individuals on the autism spectrum. In addition to helping parents motivate children on the spectrum, RDI provides parents the tools to effectively teach the skills necessary to manage environments that are dynamic and changing.
However, RDI is not a static program. It constantly evolves to keep pace with increased scientific understanding of autism, Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Development Disorder.
“Through RDI, we essentially are helping loved ones and professionals open a door that enables people on the autism spectrum to develop friendships, empathy and the love of sharing their world with others,” said Gutstein. “What makes this approach different is that we focus on fostering loving relationships to enhance quality of life, rather than on behaviour modification aimed at teaching children on the autism spectrum to perform scripted behaviours.”
The prevalence of autism and associated disorders has sharply risen in recent years, with some education and medical professionals describing the rise as an epidemic. Most notably, a 1999 report by the California Department of Developmental Services found a 273 percent increase in autism cases between 1987 and 1998. Some, including Gutstein, believe the rise is at least partly due to a loosening of the criteria used to diagnose autism as well as misclassification of autistic children as mentally retarded in the past.
“We know more about children and adults on the autism spectrum than ever before, which is helping us accurately diagnose it early,” said Gutstein. “This is a positive step for families and society, because early intervention is critical in improving long-term quality of life.”
The two-day workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on 15 and 16 February. It will take place at Mary MacKilliop Place, 80 William Street, North Sydney. The cost of the workshop is $300 USD. Online registration is available at www.RDIconnect.com or by calling the Connections Center direct on 713 838 1362.
About Connections Center
Established in 1995, the Connections Center for Family and Personal Development, based in Houston, is a multi-disciplinary program to develop innovative evaluation and intervention programs for people with relationship disorders. Led by Dr. Steve Gutstein and his wife, Dr. Rachelle K. Sheely, the Connections Center staff provides a full range of evaluation and treatment services, including RDI. They provide education and training to families and professionals worldwide. More information is available at www.rdiconnect.com.