Thursday, September 14, 2006

September Meeting Report: RDI, Photography, a new school in Brooklyn

Our guest this month was a new to town ABA therapist who does some interesting social and arts programming in the mix. Her name is Karen Rusten, and her blog is here. Karen has had some training in RDI, so we asked her to talk about that, because many people have had questions about it. And, we didn't know about the workshops on RDI coming up at the JCC, which are a good way to get a taste of it beyond the book but short of going to the weekend parent trainings.

Karen gave us some examples of kids she's worked with who gained skills with ABA, but did not have access to things like talking about their feelings. She considers it a helpful expansion or complement to ABA, not a competitor. But Karen really wanted to talk about her use of photography, both as a avenue of expression for our kids and means of finding out what our language impaired kids are finding interesting in the environment. She described working with an adolencent boy by allowing him to take photos and bringing the prints back to the next session and asking him to describe what he saw. This fostered more expanded and complex expressive language from him than usual, and she is interested in developing the method more systematically. Finally, she is a skilled photographer herself who is working on a portrait series of ASD kids.

We heard about a new ASD school planned for next fall in Brooklyn Heights, and may have a guest about that next month. It will be modeled on the NYCA Charter School.

Big recommendation on Susan Senator's book and blog at

And a big recommendation for Mom-NOS, another blog by an ASD mom. She's at

And one last plug, for a funky visual arts site that lets anybody at make an image that looks like a Jackson Pollock. I am using this to try to get my bigtime scribbler to enjoy "scribbling" on the screen, too.

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