One of my Autism Intervention Heros:  Stephen Gutstein


One of the people who has inspired me most in the autism world is Stephen Gutstein, founder of Relationship Development Intervention.    There are a few others but Stephen is one of the practitioner researchers who has stood up for the message that children with difficulties on the autistic spectrum can be helped when we use an informed developmental approach.

Click here for his recent talk on What we should be aware of in Autism

One of the things that is most shocking in the field of autism is that the research about what children on the autistic spectrum need in order to make progress with core challenges, is there but it is still not well understood.  Notably what is poorly understood is that the key place in which the key missing skills can be nurtured is within the parental relationship.

This is a challenging but also ultimately an empowering message for parents, but it is one that challenges the way in which professionals need to think and practice.  One of the things that happens when children are struggling to learn in the way typical children learn is that parents become disoriented and can lose confidence.   Sadly the diagnosis of autism, particularly when it is not followed up with the right support, can sometimes further impact parental confidence just when there is a need for parental confidence to be enhanced.

There is an urgent need for professionals to update themselves about a developmental approach to autism and an urgent need to learn about how to help parents become more skilled and confident in their own role.
I think we can come to this task from a number of different angles.   In the I Matter Project we use a developmental understanding of skills and an understanding of the core parent-child relationship and the role of parent as a coach in something we refer to as the I Matter process.   The key is to remember that social development is hierarchical - it is not possible to build complex skills if foundational skills are not in place. 

Having a child with a diagnosis of autism may be a road less travelled - but if you want to make a difference then there are a lot of wonderfully interesting things to learn.   Stephen Gutstein is one of those practiioners who has worked tirelessly to try to ensure that a new perspective is shared.  His message is vitally important though in this talk you will see that he is feeling dismayed that it seems to be so difficult to get this message out to a wider community.  His message is important - it is that if you are willing to learn, it is never too late to make a difference!

I recommend you listen to the talk!  Here is the link again

Click here for his recent talk on What we should be aware of in Autism


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