On Friday, Pamela helped me prepare a package for an RDI lifestyle activity. She handed me necessary items (tape and scissors) based upon eye gaze and referencing. She held the box shut while I taped it and she cut the tape. Pamela copied the receiver's address onto these label strips. Then, she wrote our address. She did not remember the numbers for our street address and zip code, so Pamela guessed and referenced my face to see if she guessed the number correctly. Then, she handed me the receiver's address strips, which I applied to the box. She applied the strips for the return address. Then I taped them to the box securely, and Pamela cut the tape for me. At the post office, Pamela handed the package to the postal clerk as well as the money, put dollar bills back in my wallet, and threw the receipt in the trash.
Pamela had requested a party to celebrate a math milestone: she starts Making Math Meaningful, Level 6 on Monday! So, we shopped for food, pizza, ice cream, and cake decorating supplies, going through the self-check out line for more eye gaze and referencing opportunities. At home, she helped me bake the cake, frost it, and decorate it as we did on her birthday. She also learned how to make pizza from scratch (if you count gluten-free, casein-free pizza crust mix as scratch).
I have noticed that, in situations requiring high levels of concentration, Pamela's emerging RDI skills (referencing, following eye gaze, communicating non-verbally, and emotion sharing) diminish. For example, when making a decision about what toy or type of cake decorating material to pick, she gets distracted. When the aisle seems crowded or busier than usual, she is more spacey. The pizza making absorbed her concentration because the process included entirely novel steps: opening cans with a newly purchased electric can opener (gracias, Alan), kneading dough, oiling the pan, rolling out the dough, spreading the sauce, slicing toppings (black olives, palmitos, and sausage) with a knife, and sprinkling them over the pizza.
All told, we probably spent about two solid hours in an RDI mode. I think what I like best about RDI is efficiency. We end up working on socialization at home and in the community as well as self-help skills, plus I have a helper in the kitchen!