What is Floortime?

Floortime (also known as DIRFloortime) is an intervention that is used to promote an individual's development through a respectful, playful, joyful, and engaging process. It uses the power of relationships and human connections to promote engagement, communication, positive behaviors, and thinking. It is based on the DIR® model that was developed by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and his colleagues.  It is used around the world by teachers, occupational therapists, speech therapists, mental health professionals, parents, and many others that care for individuals with developmental challenges or other related needs.  It is an evidence-based approach to promoting human development that is used with children, young adults, and even adults...especially those on the autism spectrum.

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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 DIRFloortime approach is based on the fact 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 (refer to the six functional emotional developmental capacities page for more information).  Following your child's lead by understanding his interests, tells you the best way to challenge him to move up the developmental ladder.

A Paper by Dr. Greenpsan