Co-regulation – Relationship Development Intervention

Speech Therapy, Oral Placement Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Special Education help to build skills in our children which they need for an independent life. With latest researches and new perspective emerging, we believe that one more aspect of intervention should now get added when we reflect on what we truly want for our students in comparison to just “skills”.

Parents spend the first few years of the child’s life with them, teaching them, loving them and guiding them to understand their world. But when Autism comes into the pictures, we “help” our children fit into the world, at a very early age.

Below is a list of some key developmental milestones that typical children develop between the ages of birth to five. These are the foundations upon which meaningful cognitive, communication, social and behavioural development is built.

  1. Learns that actions can be coordinated with others, but not controlled by them; and that coordinating actions with others is better than acting alone.
  2. Repairs breakdowns in coordination with partners.
  3. Interprets and uses non-verbal communication to have meaningful exchanges with partners, including facial expression, gestures, and voice.
  4. Communicates with partners mainly for sharing experiences and learning about how others interpret the world.
  5. Monitors interactions to ensure partners have understood what has been communicated.
  6. Enjoys being with partners that change their actions and routines; does not like doing the same thing over and over again.
  7. Takes turns appropriately and at the correct time in a wide variety of interactions.
  8. Understand that perception is dependent on position and person’s unique experiences.
  9. Recognizes that everyone can have different perceptions of the same item or event, and that all perceptions are equally important.
  10. Pretends on his/her own with a partner, and can coordinate his/her imagination with partner’s imagination.
  11. Understands that friendship is consensual, acknowledges others’ similarities and differences and desires to be liked and accepted.
  12. Develops more than one solution to a problem, and more than one way to approach tasks.
  13. Thinks about actions before taking them, and can determine what actions are appropriate for the current setting.
  14. Understands teasing, offers of support, and degrees of agreement.
  15. Accurately interprets when others are upset, as well as regulates the degree of emotion tied to different experiences.
  16. Transitions with little preparation.
  17. Carries out familiar routines and tasks from memory.
  18. Uses the knowledge of negative consequences to adjust behaviour.
  19. Takes pride in accomplishing challenging task.
  20. Understand and regulates own emotions based on the current situations, and recognizes that others may have similar or different reactions to an event based on their personal experiences.


As you can see these are the developmental foundations which neuro-typical children go to school with, whereas children with autism do not. So, when children with autism go to school they are already 5 years behind however, they are being asked, just as their typically developing peers are, to manage the school setting’s academic and social demands but unlike their typically developing peers, they are also trying to survive in the setting without the benefit of the developmental milestones their peers had prior to starting school.

When our children do not have co-regulation ability that typical children have before entering school, yet they are expected to be able to handle the demands.

Even though, if our children get good grades, they still do not understand the social world.

They have terrible time making sense of the dynamic communication needed to function and excel.

Our children need to have the ability for their own theory of mind!

PlayStreet Specially Abled Educare Trust brings a program called “Relationship Development Intervention”, which bases its philosophy on typical development.

RDI presents a new perspective that Autism is not a disorder of behaviours, but instead a developmental/Theory of mind disorder that needs a “Do Over”. This includes that the child first needs to understand the Guided relationship through parents first.

Even if our children have all the skills to perform any activity, but they do not have the basic “why bother” that typical children have – the sense of intrinsic understanding for relationships.

We are providing sessions on Co-regulation at our centre. Contact us for more details.