The DIR (Developmental, Individual-Difference, Relationship-Based) / Floortime approach provides a comprehensive framework for understanding and treating children challenged by Autism Spectrum related disorders as well as children who have difficulty attending, communicating and relating.
Developed by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and Serena Weider, it focuses on helping children master the building blocks of relating, communicating and thinking, rather than on symptoms alone. Floortime / DIR sessions also lead to improved play skills and social connection.
DIR identifies the child s developmental level of emotional and intellectual functioning. It determines the child s individual processing and responses to movement, sounds, sights, and other sensations and also facilitates learning relationships and interactions at home, in school, and in different therapies (Speech, Occupational Therapy) geared to the child s profile. The DIR approach taps into the child s natural interests and emotions by following his/her lead and creates interactions that help the child master the stages of relating, communicating, and thinking.
DIR targets the social-emotional development, attention, eye contact and play skills of the child. It takes into account many factors contributing to a child s ability to process and respond to sensory information such as the child s feelings, relationship with caregivers, individual differences as well as developmental level. This method of intervention addresses a child s abilities in all developmental areas such as attention, social-emotional functioning, body awareness, communication, learning skills as well as motor skills. DIR/Floortime takes into consideration and utilizes the individual learning style and interests of the child during intervention through play and intervention strategies.
Floortime is an important component of DIR. The child is met at his/her level of ability. The child s world is entered by following the child s lead, and tapping into his/her interests. By meeting a child at his/her current developmental level, following the child s lead as well as tapping into the child s interests and setting up the environment for interaction, the child learns to engage, become motivated to participate and interacts with caregivers.
DIR/Floortime Targets the Six Developmental Milestones for Social-Emotional Growth and Development:
- Regulation and Attention (the ability to remain calm and observe the surrounding world)
- Engagement (emotional connection to parents and caregivers)
- Reciprocal Emotional Signaling (initiating and responding in a back and forth manner with gestures such as cooing, head nodding, turning to look, etc.)
- Shared Social Problem Solving (taking parent by the hand, and through multiple back and forth gestures getting parent to retrieve a toy, for e.g. pulling parent to toy, pointing). This is also often referred to as joint attention)
- Creating Ideas (pretend play)
- Connecting Ideas Logically (thinking)
DIR/Floortime Can Benefit:
- Children on the Autism Spectrum
- Children with overall Developmental Delays
- Children with Sensory Processing Disorders
- Children with overall language delays and pragmatic language / back and forth social communication delays
- Children who have difficulty attending, making eye contact and connecting with peers and adults
- Children who do not seem to know “how to play” and who have difficulty playing creatively and for a sustained period of time
- Children who have difficulty with transitioning and self-regulation (remaining calm, attentive and engaged)
Parents who would like to gain a greater understanding on how to connect with their child through play and in general and obtain more information on where their child is developmentally as well as what toys, approaches or modifications will benefit their child’s development and language
At Sensational Kids, children are seen at least once a week for a combination of direct therapy and parent training/coaching. Parents are provided with strategies for working with their child All Day Long through everyday activities based on their daily routine, sensory needs, developmental milestones, and other individual differences. Sessions can be scheduled at your home, in other community settings and at our facility.