So...we made our first trip to the "Tri-Cities" (Pasco, Kennewick and Richland, WA) last week and it went well! The drive was two hours, so not bad. We (meaning me and both girls) made a stop halfway on the way down for Morgan to go potty. As we left the Starbucks restroom I told Morgan we were getting back in the car. She said "No, I want lunch!" Apparently she thought we were stopping for food too. She had already had her lunch at home and we were purposely making the trip during "nap" time so Piper could sleep. I managed to get both of them back in the car and Morgan seemed satisfied with a special scone I got her.
When we got into town we met up with David (who had made the trip early that morning and had some sales calls), had some dinner and went to meet with our consultant, Christine. She runs the Responding to Autism Center in Kennewick and it was an impressive facility. In addition to RDI, they do all sorts of autism assessments and therapies as well as running social skills groups.
That evening we went over the basics of the program and got to know each other a bit. Morgan and Piper played nicely with some toys and who can resist a long hallway to run up and down?! The next morning we did our first RDA, a baseline assessment of where Morgan is at as well as how both David and I interact with her. Christine had us do some specific activities with her and videotaped the sessions. This will be used for comparison when we do future assessments to evaluate how our interactions improve.
David and I have started our first homework assignments. Since RDI is a parent-led program, the first few months are all about educating the families about the program and preparing us to work with Morgan using what they call "Guided Participation." It was wonderful to hear that this program will really be working to change how we interact with Morgan on a day-to-day basis, not any specific time that needs to be set aside for "therapy." We can use the taught techniques any time of the day, eating, playing, any activities outside of the house, etc. We will be helping her to learn the basic communication and social skills she didn't naturally learn. As we have not yet learned the techniques to do this, I don't have examples, but I will share bits and pieces as we go along.
All in all the driving, overnight stay and sessions worked out well. Our next session will be via Skype, so it looks like we will need to make the trip about once a month, which is totally do-able for us. We are also fortunate that Christine has family in the Spokane area too, so she will be able to make some trips our way as well.