What is DIRFloortime? (AKA Floortime)

Floortime is at the heart of the DIR Model, a developmental, comprehensive program to promote healthy development and to help infants and children with a variety of developmental challenges, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Floortime is at the heart of the "home component" and can be woven into many other parts of the program.

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Floortime is both a specific technique, in which for twenty or more minutes at a time a caregiver gets "down on the floor" to interact with the child, and a general philosophy that characterizes all daily interactions with the child.

Floortime All the Time Everywhere

Children with ASD require intensive intervention. Left alone, they will not initiate interaction unless they need something. Every time they are left alone, they are not discovering the joy of a shared world. Therefore, children with ASD require "Floortime all the time and everywhere". Floortime can be done anywhere in the house, in the backyard, in the supermarket and at the playground. It can be done with other children (siblings or peers) or just with an adult. It can be done at any time of the day, after supper, in the bathtub, or cuddling in bed. It can be done in the car, or when doing laundry, washing the dishes, all the time, everywhere. They key requirement is that both you, and your child, enjoy these moment. For more ideas, read chapter 15 of Engaging Autism.

Following the Child's Lead and Challenging the Child at the Same Time

The DIR/Floortime model is based on the idea that EMOTION is critical to the growth of the mind and brain. Following the child's lead means following his emotions. What is of interest to your child? What gives him pleasure? Whatever it is, your child's interest is your clue, your window into what he is feeling. The first step is for you to observe closely so that you can tune into his emotional world. Once that you have figured out what he is interested in, you can use that to draw him further up the developmental ladder (see stages on the right side of this page).Following your child's lead by understanding his interests, tells you the best way to challenge him to move up the developmental ladder.