The following set of video clips dramatically showcase how a successful mind – guiding relationship can impact development. 

Establishing a more engaging guiding relationship.

The first set of videos spotlights the work of a parent using the core RDI program to support their daughter’s growth (diagnosis of Autism).

The young girl in this set of clips was initially very resistant to doing activities with her mom. She was quite disengaged, and it was not easy for her mom to involve her in parent led guiding engagements. Mom could not guide her daughter or scaffold her growth.

Through her work in RDI®, Mom was able to develop greater attunement with her daughter and over time, successfully establish a more effective guiding relationship with her. The progression of these clips show some of the stages in mom’s work and the extent to which she was able to significantly impact her daughter’s growth.

Clip #1: Yankee Doodle
This was the first RDI activity clip that mom shared with me. When you watch this clip, you will notice several things.

  • The little girl does not really seem present. She is enjoying the physical sensation of the activity, but she is not mindfully engaged with her mom.
  • Mom is taking deliberate action to help her daughter take on a more active role in the activity.

Mom moves to a different chair. This move creates an opportunity for the little girl to move and re- coordinate with her mom’s new position.

You will notice that Mom does not prompt her daughter to move. She uses gestures to ‘invite’ her daughter to join her in the new chair, but she does not ask her daughter to come or prompt her movement in any direct manner. The little girl makes this decision. She competently adjusts her position and the two of them are then able to continue their joint activity.

  • Mom’s role in this activity was significant. Mom facilitated and guided her daughter’s competency. She scaffolded her daughter’s ability to move and reestablish simple coordination with her by deliberately moving to a different chair herself. Mom created the opportunity that allowed her daughter to have this experience.
Clip #2: Putting Away Cutlery with Mom
In this clip, mom is using a simple activity framework to help her daughter learn how to become a more competent partner in a joint activity.

  • You will notice that Mom has given her daughter a clear role in the activity, and you will see that she is watching to make sure that this role is within her daughter’s zone of competency.

Mom wants her daughter to feel successful. This activity is not a test.  Mom wants her daughter to be mindfully engaged and feel competent as a partner.

  • Mom also wants her daughter to experience synchrony. Synchrony is the good feeling we experience in our body when we are able to coordinate our role actions with the role actions of our partner in a smooth and fluid manner.
  • Synchrony is important in child development because it supports successful social interaction.  Our experience of being ‘in sync’ with another allows us to notice and feel when we are ‘out of sync’.

As a thoughtful guide in this activity, mom knows that she will need to create opportunities for her child to experience synchrony. She knows that will need to take actions to support the smooth flow of the activity. Mom is not worried about teaching her child a cognitive skill. She is not trying to teach her daughter how to recognize similarities and differences between the utensils.  Mom makes comments during the activity, but she does not ask her daughter questions. She does not ask her daughter to label. Mom focus is to help her child experience a sense of synchrony with her.

Clip #3: Strawberries
This is a lovely clip! I chose to share it here because I think it really spotlights the tremendous growth in the guiding relationship that mom has been able to build with her daughter.

Mom wants her daughter to help her dip strawberries in chocolate. The little girl is nervous and at first does not want to take a turn. She becomes anxious and overwhelmed very easily, and this is an activity that she is not familiar with.  

  • I want you to watch the little girl and observe her gaze. You will notice that even though the little girl does not want to take a turn, she does not leave the table or try to totally avoid the activity. The little girl stays at the table and she watches her mother.
  • There is something else in this clip that I would like to draw your attention to. As the activity progresses, you will see how Mom successfully supports her daughter to engage with challenge.  

Mom is able to help her daughter learn something new. The little girl does dip the berry in chocolate. She engages with the challenge, and is able to experience, if only is a small way, the powerful feeling of competency that accompanies successful engagement with challenge.

Mom has been able to re-establish a more effective guiding relationship with her daughter, and because she has been able to re-establish this relationship she is now able to guide her daughter’s growth with greater success.

Clip #4: Discovery Bag and Bubble Play with Mom
This is another lovely clip! I smile every time I watch it.

Here are a few important moments in the clip that I would like to draw your attention to.

  • I would like to draw your attention to mom’s skillful use of anticipation and expressive nonverbal communication at the very start of the clip.  

Mom opens the bag slowly. She looks in the bag. She pauses and looks at her daughter. Mom closes the bag. She opens the bag again.

  • Mom also slows her actions when blowing bubbles.

Near :40 mom pauses before blowing and shifts her gaze to her daughter.

Mom is being very deliberate in her actions for a reason. She wants her daughter to shift her attention to her. She wants her daughter to be curious about what she is going to do next. Mom wants to create opportunities that will allow her to share emotionally connected gaze with her daughter.

Mom wants to support her daughter’s competency. She is not focused on entertaining her daughter. She wants to promote and build her daughter’s feelings of agency.

Mom’s scaffolding and guiding actions are very successful. Near 2:04, after successfully blowing a bubble on her own, the little girl deliberately turns towards her mom, shifts her gaze and smiles. Mom and daughter share an authentic emotionally laden celebratory gaze.

  • When you watch mom and daughter interacting in this clip, I would also like you to notice the way mom uses self-dialogue to help her daughter learn to blow bubbles by herself.

Mom says, “Dip, dip, dip” and then “Close to your lips”.

Mom’s speech and her actions are very deliberate and slow. Mom is drawing attention to her words and her actions and modeling the use of guiding self –dialogue. She is verbalizing what she is thinking in her mind and allowing her child to ‘hear’ what she is thinking.

Mom’s scaffolding is very helpful. Later, near 2:21 you hear the little girl use this same dialogue to support her own competency.  

Mom has been able to support her daughter to use her mind in a new and helpful way. The little girl is learning that she can use her mind to control her actions and support her success. This is a big step in her ongoing development.

Developing Creative Thinking

Child: Age 8
Diagnosis: Down’s syndrome

This set of videos spotlights the work of a parent using the core RDI to support their son’s growth (diagnosis of Down’s Syndrome). I wanted to spotlight this series of clips because I think they really demonstrate the tremendous growth this young boy has made working with his mom in the RDI program.

These clips show mom successfully guiding the development of her son’s mind. Over a period of several moths, you will see mom helping her son develop the ability to think more creatively and adapt and respond to her actions with much greater competency as partner.

I love this series of clips. They are a joy to watch.

Clip #1: Snapping Beans - July
In the first clip of the series, Mom is introducing a new activity framework to her son, Snapping Beans.  Mom has thought about her role as a guide, and she is trying not to prompt or tell her son what to do. She has deliberately chosen to model and demonstrate.

Other Important Guiding Actions Mom Has Taken:

Mom has given her son a clear role in this activity.

Mom has taken care to ensure that her son’s role is developmentally appropriate. Mom wants her son to be able to engage in his role successfully. She does not want the role action itself to become the challenge.

Mom deliberately does not do her son’s ‘job’. Nor does she allow her son to do her ‘job’.  Mom has chosen this activity framework because it supports the development of joint attention and synchrony. The framework requires mom and her son to work together as partners. To finish the beans, both mom and son must stay focused on the activity and both must respond to the role actions of the other.

Mom is introducing variations into the activity. These variations allow mom to emphasize the relationship and reduce ‘task focus’ and performance goals and prevent he activity from becoming too static and predictable.

Clip #2: Snapping Beans - October
Mom recognizes that her son cannot think of his own variations or add his own ‘silly’ passing ideas to this activity, and she has also noticed that her son often tries to control what she does – control her own thinking and ideas.

In this clip, mom has two main goals:

  • Mom wants to help her son understand that she has her own thinking and that her ideas and thinking are not the same as his. She uses the phrase, “That is your thinking, not my thinking”.
  • Mom wants to help her son discover that he can think of ideas.

To support her son’s growth in this area, mom has talked about ‘passing variations with her son before beginning the activity and she has attempted to support his competency and reduce avoidance by writing these ideas down for him to reference when needed.

Clip #3: Snapping Beans - November Part I
I wanted to include this clip in the series because I think it highlights a common obstacle in the guiding process. Mom is trying to maintain the leadership role in this activity because she is deliberately trying to work at the edge of her son’s competence. She wants to support her son’s ability to handle dynamic change within the activity and his understanding that he cannot always have his own way.

Towards the end of this clip you will see that Mom makes the decision to move from ‘silly passing’ to ‘normal passing’.  Her son does not like this change. He enjoys the silly passes more and tries to make his mom do the pass ‘his way’. He starts to shut down and refuses to participate.

When you watch this clip, you will notice that mom stays quiet. She does not argue with her son. Mom holds the bean out and waits quietly. Although the bean drops on the floor, an act of chance that supports her son’s ability to shift his attention, mom still ends the segment by taking the action she wanted to take. Through her quiet persistence, Mom is able to successfully support her son’s ability to resolve this challenge.

Clip #4: Snapping beans - November Part II
You will notice something very exciting in this fourth clip. Mom introduces two new, very interesting variations to her son. She passes one bean to him in a sock and another on a toy fire truck. Her son is reluctant to try a ‘silly’ pass variation, but then he makes a discovery.

The little boy suddenly realizes that he can use his mom’s thinking to help him manage this challenge.  He discovers that he can change his mom’s idea a little to create a pass that is similar but still new. He also discovers that he can combine two of his mom’s ideas and create a new combination that is similar but still different.

The little boy realizes that his lunch bag is similar to the sock. Like the sock, his lunch bag can hold a bean. The little boy passes the bean to his mom in his lunch bag.

The little boy puts the bean into the sock as his mom did but unlike his mom, puts the sock onto the fire truck and passes the bean and the truck at the same time.

This is a very significant moment in mom’s work and an even more significant step in her son’s development.  Through her work as a mind guide, Mom was able to successfully facilitate her son’s cognitive growth and strengthen his sense of personal agency.

This work helped this little boy made two very significant discoveries.

The little boy learned that he could use his mind in a new way. He could decide to use his mind to think of and create new ideas of his own.

This little boy learned that he could share his new thinking and his ideas with someone else. He learned that he could become a more active and equal partner in the activity.

Clip #3: Snapping Beans - January
In this last clip, you will see a significant change in the little boy’s willingness and ability to think of and share new ideas.  In this clip you will see mom and the little boy engaging in many creative passing variations. You will also notice that the little boy and his mom being to adapt to each other’s actions more fluidly and for longer periods of time. The passes turn into small periods of improvised shared pretend play.

Mom and son pretend to be dinosaurs when they pass the bean and chase one another before snapping the bean and placing it in the bowl.

Mom and son pretend the bean is a phone and have a short phone conversation with one another.

Mom had son pretend the bean is a sword and have sword fight with one another.