Relationship Development Intervention and Autism Ranking: Insufficient/Mixed evidence

Additional Information

According to Morris, (200?), "Proponents of RDI believe that while conventional treatments such as Applied Behavior Analysis teach discrete skills, the social outcomes that result often lack the emotional components of communication as they rely on scripted and predictable actions. They believe that such training may result in improved discrete skills, such as eye contact, emotion recognition (of static images) and turn taking, but that it does not teach social intelligence."

Opponents of RDI claim that the theories and philosophies underlying RDI strategies are not supported by evidence. They raise concerns about the lack of detailed information about what actually takes place during the RDI programme. They also raise concerns about the marketing strategies and branding strategies utilised by The Connections Center.

Milton (2014) has criticised the concept of dynamic intelligence within RDI

"Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) shares many similarities in theory and practice with the Floortime approach, in terms of 'functional relationships' being the main aim of the intervention. This programme is based on the concept that autistic people are deficient in what is termed 'dynamic intelligence', a somewhat umbrella term that includes thinking flexibly, theory of mind, coping with change, and processing more than one piece of information at the same time. By working upon these qualities, those who follow RDI suggest that the quality of life for children on the autism spectrum can improve. Unfortunately, RDI supporters seem to have fallen into the same trap as previous approaches, with large claims being made from scant evidence. Also, the use of the term 'dynamic thinking' can be criticised for being too all-encompassing a term, especially when others have used the exact same words to describe a more direct and sensory experience of one's environment."

Related Additional Information

17 Jun 2022
Last Review
01 Oct 2018
Next Review
01 Nov 2024