Mt. Pleasant, S.C. (March 24, 2009) – An autism specialist serving the Charleston area has earned certification in the Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®) autism treatment program. Rebecca Doolittle, MHS, OTR/L, pediatric rehabilitation manager at East Cooper Regional Medical Center, earned certification from Connections Center of Houston, TX, which developed the RDI program. Doolittle is the first autism specialist in South Carolina to earn RDI certification. A total of 194 consultants around the world are certified to facilitate the RDI program.
The RDI Certification Program typically takes 18 months to complete. Consultants are trained to administer the RDA™ (Relationship Development Assessment™) and provide ongoing support to parents.
The RDI program is a cognitive model designed to work with children who have Autism Spectrum Disorders by providing consultation to families to address the core deficits, which include flexible thinking, communication, and development of self and social / emotional relationships.
“We consider the role of Certified RDI Consultants, such as Rebecca, to be nurturing the primary relationship between parent and child by raising the parents’ level of competence and confidence,” said Dr. Rachelle Sheely, who developed the RDI program with Dr. Steven Gutstein in 2001, and oversees the RDI Certification Program. “Most parents run into challenges from time-to-time, so having an ongoing relationship with a consultant who knows their family can make a big difference. “
The prevalence of autism and associated disorders is on the rise. In February 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report, which looked at a sample of eight year olds in 2000 and 2002, concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 150 American children, and almost 1 in 94 boys.
Doolittle, who holds a master’s of health science in occupational therapy, has 11 years of pediatric experience. She works with children and families affected by Autism, Down’s Syndrome, and Sensory Integration Issues. Doolittle has been an adjunct instructor for the Medical University of South Carolina Occupational Therapy Program since 2003 and has served on the Board of Directors for the Charleston Walk for Autism since 2003.
Doolittle is offering a free RDI informational session on March 31 at East Cooper Regional Medical Center for families affected by Autism.
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