I attended my first RDI webinar last night and found it very helpful, especially as a lone-ranger RDI parent. Dr. Steve Gutstein holds a free webinar for parents every Tuesday night at 9:00 PM EST. The "room" capacity is 50, but I had no problems getting in last night after showing up a few minutes late. If you have problems signing in, you can do so as a guest. I do not see next week listed, and I hope last night was not the last one! If you are shut out, you can chat with Dr. Rachelle Sheeley, which I have found very enlightening in the past.
I picked up some very helpful tidbits. First, we should try to focus on only one or two habits at a time--very reminiscent of Charlotte Mason. Then, we should consider all the things we do during the day in light of how to address the objective of interest. I have been doing well with this in my interaction style, trying to figure out how to be more RDI friendly during speech therapy, reading, language arts, errands, household tasks, little moments, etc.
He also suggested breaking up an objective into little steps and turning over responsibility to the child as competence emerges. We need to figure out any obstacles and find ways to remove them. We need to think about what we do and change how we interact to further mastery of the objective. What is mastery? It is when the child uses the skill consistently because it is internalized in the way they think.
So, this morning, I picked one goal in stage one and thought carefully about it: orienting for communication. When I speak with her while she is doing a task that is not completely distracting, Pamela consistently shifts her gaze to me. She still responds to verbal cues (saying her name) more often than non-verbal ones (touching her shoulder). She does orient to me when I indicate a desire to speak. She has greatly improved in sustaining her attention while I speak. Sometimes, she even repeats the last word of each sentence as if hanging onto every word. She does this the most when I tell her stories about myself, my family, her childhood, etc. She gives the greatest attention when I am working on episodic memory. However, she has one glitch preventing me from signing off on this objective: she has a tendency to bolt before closure. My thought is that I need to be more deliberate in using a variety of signs (verbal and non-verbal) to indicate the end of the interaction.
Dr. Gutstein inspired me with his discussion of videos. Videos are our primary tool for critiquing OUR performance (not the child's). We can pick up so much more by watching a video of an interaction and can pick up on little nuances missed real-time. Even though I do not submit mine to a consultant, I had gotten out of the habit of studying videos to see what really happened and what I could be doing better. Videos are most helpful when we catch on film the good, the bad, and the ugly to help us figure out more effective ways of parenting.
Today, I filmed a thirty-minute segment in which I taught Pamela to play a solitaire game for two that my mother taught me (and her mother taught her). I even stopped procrastinating and figured out how to burn a DVD. Now, I can watch the DVD on our plasma television to help me catch the little details if I can stand seeing and hearing myself in living color. After I sign off, I plan to do my first analysis of how things to come up with a lessons learned.