Friday, February 29, 2008

Wise Consultants

I have the privilege to work the the most amazing RDI consultants ever. They do the most amazing things and come up with the most amazing ideas. They truly inspire their families they work with to do great things and that is why we have such great families too! I came across this quote that I think most of our families would agree would be true about their consultant so I would love to share with you:

It was from you that I learned to think, to feel, to imagine, to believe.
-John Sterling

Thursday, February 28, 2008


On the days that I work in the schools my current workspace is in the sensory room of the elementary school that I spend most of my time in. This works out well because almost all of the children on my caseload make their way into this room at some point during the day which allows me the opportunity to observe and interact with them.

Yesterday, I happened to be in the room when one of the boys was working on a pin art snowflake. He was working very hard and I mentioned that I knew another way to make a snowflake. He responded with, “you do?” I then suggested that I could show him how when he came back to the room later for his individual work time. He thought that was a good idea. After spending my whole morning reading reports I thought it sounded like a good idea as well. I told him I would meet him back in the room a little later.

When I returned to the room later he was working on his spelling words with his aide so I told him I would wait for him to finish that first before we made snowflakes. Once he finished his spelling I talked with him about the things we would need and then suggested he help me locate them. After gathering the materials we sat down and we had a great experience sharing conversation about how many times we should fold the paper and then he watched intently as I showed him the first shape I was going to cut. We then spent the next 10 minutes just having a really nice back and forth interaction about the shapes we were cutting and where on the paper we were cutting. When I was finished cutting I opened my snowflake to show him what it looked like. He studied it for a minute and then pointed to a spot where he thought there should be another shape. At first I said no I liked it the way it was, but the more we talked about it I decided I would add one more shape. All during this time he continued to work on cutting shapes on his paper (many small shapes all in a row, but I am sure given time he would have filled the paper with cut out shapes). When our time was up I suggested that he could save his snowflake and finish it tomorrow. He thought that was a good idea and even told his aide that she could use the extra piece of paper to make a snowflake with him tomorrow.

I have to tell you this whole experience was so much fun for me and so affirming. I went slow, used experience sharing language and just had fun and wow did I get a ton back. It was great! I am sure this is the same feeling you as parents get when you have an experience like this with your own child. It was just what I needed after a morning filled with reading reports. I was able to see all the potential that this child has.

I didn’t want anything, I didn’t have any real expectations I just thought it would be fun to make snowflakes together. Wow did I get so much more, a truly enjoyable experience the confirmed the power of experience sharing communication and slowing down.

Talk to you soon,

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Horizon's Products

We have been having a great time coming up with several new ideas to add to the Horizon's store. Many of these new items should be added to the store soon and we are looking forward to developing many new concepts. Items coming soon: Flexible thinking ideas for teachers, a cookbook with monthly recipes, preparing your child for the dentist kit/video, success cards and much, much more. What products would be helpful to you? We'd love to hear your ideas! Keep checking back to the store for the release of our new products! With our staff, the sky is the limit.

Have a great week!

Friday, February 22, 2008

RDI Inspiration

Yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision,
but today well lived makes every yesterday a dream
of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
To learn more about how you can achieve these dreams of happiness and visions of hope I welcome you to come check out Horizons. We would love the opportunity to help you achieve these things!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Teleseminar!

On Tuesday evening Nicole and I had the great pleasure of hosting our first teleseminar for our families. What fun we had. We both agreed that this is a great new avenue to allow our parents to share their perspective and knowledge with each other.

We had three mother’s take time to share with our other parents about their experience with RDI®. They each spent time talking about how they got started with the program, what the positives are and what the struggles have been. Following this time our other parents were able to ask questions.

I think this was such a nice way for our parents from all over the continent to connect with each other in ways that they are not able to do. I am really excited to continue our series of teleseminars. I think this is going to be a great new experience for us as consultants and for our parents as well.

Thank you to the three mom’s that took the time to be a part of our panel and thank you to the other parents that joined us to listen and learn.

Talk to you soon,

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Slowing Down

As we have been hit hard with sickness and bad weather here in west Michigan many of us have been forced to slow down and be creative with time at home. I have been finding that the more I slow down within my home, the more my children begin playing creatively and finding enjoyment in being together - especially when the television is not allowed to be on all day. (Click on the television link to read why we should turn the t.v. off. The arguments in that article are that much more amplified for children with autism.)

As I have personally slowed down a little lately due to the wintry weather, I have been reminded of the importance of slowing down and simplifying life for kids with autism. That is one of the things I love the most about the RDI program. Today I talked to a new family who have not had the opportunity to learn about all the principles of the RDI program yet and were asking my opinion on potential steps they might take with their child. Much to their relief, I strongly encouraged them to make the move they were considering because I saw much potential to simplify their lives and to slow down in order for their son to make quicker progress. Remember slowing down and taking more time to focus on remediation will only speed up the progress your child makes. If you haven't looked into the RDI program yet, but the sound of slowing down and simplifying your life sounds good, come see us. Slowing down and eliminating unnecessary programs is highly encouraged in order to see progress. Come check Horizons out!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Great Artwork Display Idea

I don't know about your kids, but my kids seem to be constantly bringing home tons of artwork from school to add to the already huge pile of things they create at home. Then I'm faced with the dilemma of what to do with all of it. If I toss everything, then feelings are hurt. If I keep everything, we quickly run out of space to display it all. If I keep some and not others, then I have to deal with 100 questions about it. If I try to save it all, I end up with piles of boxes filled with art projects in my basement. So, what generally happens is I hang up a few "special" pieces, let the others sit around for a few days, and then quietly dispose of them when the kids aren't paying attention. This generally works, but it his has led to a few unfortunate moments when I didn't quite hide items well enough in the bottom of the trash bag and my children have pulled them out, demanding to know how on earth I could throw away such a fabulous one-of-a-kind creation. Can any of you relate?

I was excited to read a tip in a recent Womens Day magazine that will help me with this dilemma! They suggest displaying childrens' artwork virtually through an online album such as Flickr or Photobucket. I can take digital photos of the masterpieces my children make, and then upload them to the digital album. This way we can all look at them whenever we want to, without having piles of paper sitting around. We can also easily share them with family and friends. This could also be a wonderful way to keep memories of RDI projects you and your child have worked on together, as well as sharing episodic memories of past experiences.

I'm going to be starting our family's online art display soon - how about you?

Until next week,

Monday, February 18, 2008


Life can throw many challenges in your path. Some you may see coming and others blindside you from out of nowhere. Many of us face challenges in our personal and professional lives. The important thing to remember during these difficult times is that it is not what the challenge is, but how you overcome it and what you learn when looking back.

Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
-Joshua J. Marine

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Time Saving Tips + Variation Ideas

Hi Everybody,
I have been a delinquent blogger over the past few weeks, so I'm jumping in on a Thursday (hopefully no one is too dysregulated by this variation)!

I recently read a magazine article with fabulous time-saving tips for getting chores done - and they provide some excellent opportunities for variations as well:

1) Use coffee filters (new ones!) to clean your glasses, television screens, and computer screens. They pick up the dirt and dust without leaving residue or lint behind.

2) Get caked-on gunk off of pans/dishes by placing a fresh dryer sheet in the bottom, filling it with warm water, and letting it sit overnight. The yuck will come right off the pan in the morning!

3) Use a dry-erase board eraser to get condensation off the inside of your car windows without leaving streaks.

4) Rub shampoo or dish soap into stains on clothing overnight - then rinse them out in the morning.

Not only will these tips come in really handy around the house, but they also provide awesome opportunities for spotlighting different objectives in your RDI(r) Program (ex: uses for common items, making variations in cleaning routines, comparing and contrasting techniques for cleaning, etc.). Leave a comment if you try them - or if you have other tips like this to share!

Until next week,

New Families

I have had the great pleasure of speaking to several new families over the past 3 weeks. The amazing thing is that each family comes with such a unique story, but they all have one thing in common. Each is looking for the best way to help their child. They are all interested in hearing about how RDI® can help their child to find a quality of life.

As I listen to the stories these families tell my heart goes out to them and I am so glad they have come to see us. For some this is the beginning of their journey. Others have tried something else and found it to not be successful. For a few, this is what they term their last hope. For each of these groups I have faith that RDI® can be the hope they are looking for.

At Horizons we treat many children with autism and other neurological disorders of all different ages with varying abilities and co-occurring disorders. We see all that our clients are capable of and strive to help parents make those capabilities a reality. Nothing could be more rewarding and I look forward to helping families reach their goals each and every day.

What could be better than helping families find hope again? How lucky am I?

I would like to take a moment and thank all of the new families I met with over the past few weeks for taking time to allow me to tell you about the hope I have for your child. I hope to have the opportunity to talk to even more new families in the very near future.

Talk to you soon,

Monday, February 11, 2008

Snow Days Part 2---Remediation Ideas for Families

Winter continues to hit hard here in Michigan. The temperatures have been hitting record lows and the snow continues to accumulate several inches at a time. Many of the families in our area have been continuing to deal with snow days and school cancellations. Here are a few more ideas to use when you find yourself at home with the kids during inclement weather.

~Play a game of cards
~Rearrange furniture
~Organize your bookshelves
~Throw away old magazines
~Make up a family song
~Take silly pictures around the house and then try to guess what the pictures are of
~Clean the stove/oven
~Clean the refrigerator

I hope these ideas will keep you busy during this cold time of the year!


Looking for more great ideas to make the most of your time with the kids?? Check out our Do Something Daily calendar!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Autism and Education

When do we get away from recycling the same information and presenting it as new? I recently read an article in a prominent educator's magazine that was talking about autism and mainstreaming. The point of the article was that early intervention and inclusion are the answer for children with autism. The article made it sound like all parents need to do is get early intervention and push for inclusion for their child and all would be well.

This particular article also promoted ABA. One specific school was mentioned that has an autism program based on ABA. The children start at age three, and the first two things they are taught are eye contact and staying seated in a chair. I don’t know about any of you, but I’m not too concerned if my three year old doesn’t make eye contact or stay seated in their chair for long periods of time. Now, do I think that eye contact and being able to sit in a chair are nice, and that as children get older these skills do become more appropriate, yes, but I don’t think these things are crucial for a quality of life.

At what point does the education world wake up and see that what is needed is remediation not compensation? That what we should be focusing on is development from where a child is at instead of just trying to find new and different ways to teach kids skills that they have no foundation to put them on. When do we see that if inclusion were the only answer we would have a lot fewer children with autism at this point? I also don’t think that it is fair to make parents feel like they have made a mistake if their child was not diagnosed until 8, 9, 10 years old which did not allow them to receive early intervention. That is the great thing about RDI® we know that in order for inclusion to truly make a difference we first need to establish a relationship between parents and child. We also know that while early intervention means there is less time that the child has been off the developmental track, all hope is not lost and a quality of life can still be obtained. We can provide children with a “do over” and our brains don’t turn to “concrete” after 5.

I’m just frustrated that we continue to present a compensation model to educators, and then can’t figure out why the majority of our kids on the autism spectrum have no idea of how to take care of themselves or how to obtain a quality of life when they graduate from high school.

I am so glad that many of you have chosen the path of remediation for your children!

Talk to you soon,

Monday, February 4, 2008

Beating the Winter Blahs--Remediation Ideas for Families

It's that time of year again! Winter has been here in Michigan for several months now and we are all beginning to feel the winter blahs. The weather has been gloomy and we have been cooped-up inside for awhile now. I wanted to share some ideas with you today about how to beat that winter feeling. Here are a few simple ideas to cheer you and your family up this season:

~Have a beach party in your living room--You could put out your beach towels, sip lemonade, play with a beach ball, make sand castles using Moon Sand (this doesn't make too much of a mess), etc.

~Build a fire in your fireplace and roast marshmallows--Smores taste just as good in the winter!

~Camp out in the living room--You could set up your tent and sleeping bags in the living room and camp out. It is a lot of fun to tell stories and look at the stars (you could put a few of the glow in the dark stars).

~Make summer treats--Rice Krispie treats, jell-o desserts, pudding desserts, popsicles, and ice cream are always tasty!

~Look at memory books from years past--It is always fun to reminisce about past experiences!

I hope you find these ideas helpful. Spring will be here soon!