Relationship Development Intervention and Autism Ranking: Insufficient/Mixed evidence

Cost and Time


The cost of using an RDI program will depend on a number of factors including the supplier, the specific services that they provide, the length and frequency of treatment.

For example, the Dynamic Connections website, accessed on 8 June 2018, states that "Even in the first (and most expensive) year, an RDI program typically costs approximately $5000' [£3,250].  

However it is important to bear in mind that there may be additional costs (such as travel and accommodation, equipment and materials).

In the USA some of the costs may be covered by some insurance policies.



RDI is usually a lengthy and fairly labour-intensive intervention which may last for many years. Parent and children usually undertake at least 3 hours a week of 'lab time', along with numerous teaching opportunities that happen during the day.

According to the Connections Center website (the predecessor to the RDIConnect website), accessed on 10 October 2008,

"Treating the core problems of Autism and Asperger's Syndrome is a marathon and not a sprint. Many of our families continue working on higher level objectives throughout childhood and adolescence.

"RDI is an ongoing process; however, how long one chooses to continue the program depends on each child's specific needs, parental goals for the child, and family commitment. If the program remains consistent, the children progress into dyads and small groups with peers at similar levels of functioning while parents still continue to work with their children at home."

According to Thompson (2009)

"Families can work on one objective at a time. There are currently 1138 objectives (48 of which are parent objectives), housed in 12 'stages'. Objectives are all developmentally staged and cover every area of development necessary for attaining a good quality of life."

In addition to the time spent with children, the Connections Center recommends that parents invest in its workshops and seminars, a personalised assessment and training programme, and various forms of ongoing support.

According to Thompson (2009)

"Parents are supported in their role of 'mentor' to their child's 'apprentice' by an RDI Consultant who has been through a special training programme developed and certified by the Connections Centre in Houston, Texas.

"Parents aim to undertake RDI activities with their child on a regular basis, and to film some of these interactions. Footage and written commentary on the footage are then uploaded on a regular basis to an online application (the RDI 'operating system' or RDIos) that enables parents to communicate with their Consultant. The Consultant reviews the footage and commentary and feeds back to parents on their family's progress via the RDIos.

"The RDIos contains: a library of video clips that demonstrate each objective, online forums for parents and Consultants, webinars (web based tutorials on various aspects of RDI), e-learning modules, an e-continuing education programme for Consultants, and details of upcoming training and publications.

"Families take part in detailed 6 monthly face-to-face assessments with their Consultant to review progress and further develop their intervention programmes."


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