The DIR® Institute
ICDL's Flagship International DIRFloortime® Institute
The International DIR® Institute is a unique teaching institute that brings together top DIR experts from around the world to provide services to parents and professionals. One service for parents is the DIR® Home Program which is a virtual Floortime coaching program to help parents implement Floortime at home. Our experts can help parents help their children by using a respectful, joyful, and EFFECTIVE home program. Families can also attend Floortime Intensives at the ICDL DIR® Institute in Livingston, NJ, USA where families come for week-long intensive programs with their children and receive Floortime coaching from top Floortime experts. For professionals and organizations, the DIR® Institute manages DIR® Accreditation and provides individual DIRFloortime® mentoring for professionals and organizational DIRFloortime® mentoring and coaching services.
ICDL is committed to continually expanding the world's knowledge and understanding of DIR. DIR is a well-established and evidence-based approach that has been utilized for over 30 years. While DIR is well-established and has fundamental principles that have not changed, the approach continues to develop as our understanding through clinical practice, science, and listening to perspectives from the autistic self-advocacy community expands. The DIR® Institute provides the opportunity to learn how to effectively implement Floortime from top experts that know the deep roots of the model and also are well-versed on the latest science, research, and clinical practice.
Free Virtual Floortime Consultations for Parents
ICDL offers individualized virtual (live online) Floortime consultations for parents. This is for parents who are new to Floortime or parents who know about Floortime but are interested in learning about developing a DIR® Home Program. This is a unique opportunity to individually meet with a Floortime expert to gain insights and explore implementing Floortime strategies with your child. We will happily review videos of you interacting with your child to discuss their functional emotional development and to explore the Floortime parent coaching process so you can see how parent coaching and a Floortime program can help. Click here to see available times and to schedule an appointment (This is limited to one consultation per family and space is limited and available on a first come first serve basis).
Services for Parents and Caregivers
DIR® Home Program
This virtual one-on-one service coaches parents and caregivers on how to create and implement an effective DIRFloortime® Home Program. The DIR® coaches are all top experts from ICDL.
ICDL welcomes families from throughout the United States and internationally into our DIR® Home Program. Most families are parents of children with Autism or other neurodevelopmental differences, but ICDL also offers an older adults program to support caregivers of older adults with Alzheimer's or other neurodegenerative diseases. We look forward to serving you.
"You saved him, you saved me, you saved us!" - DIR® Home Program Parent
The DIR® Institute at Livingston is a revolutionary institute focused on teaching parents DIR Floortime in an intensive, hands-on program. At the DIR® Institute at Livingston families come for the week-long intensive programs with their children and receive coaching from top experts from ICDL. It is an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn and grow. Your family will leave the intensive with an amazing sense of accomplishment and growth, for both you and your child. Floortime Intensives are exclusively available for families that are enrolled in the DIR® Home Program currently or in the past year. You can sign up for a free parent consult or talk to your DIR® Coach if you are already enrolled in the DIR® Home Program.
Services for Professionals
DIR® ACCREDITATION is a process by which programs, practices, organizations, or schools can show that they are implementing DIR® practices and policies in a way that ensures to their community that they are providing actual DIR® services and high fidelity Floortime (Floortime that is consistent with the evidence-based therapeutic model).
Mentoring for Professionals
The DIR® Institute offers individual (for professional practitioners) one-on-one mentoring with DIR Experts. Individual mentoring is for DIR professionals that have taken at least DIR 101 and DIR 201. If you have not taken any DIR professional certificate courses yet, the DIRFloortime® Training Program is the place to start.
DIR® Coaching and Consultation for Organizations
The DIR® Institute offers coaching and consultation for organizations or groups such as therapy centers and schools. This service provides experts to help organizations start-up or implement successful DIR programs. If you are interested in this, you can sign up below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
DIR® Clinical Resources
There are clinical assessment and practice tools that are available free through ICDL and also available from other sources. The FEAS and the DIR® Fidelity Scale are two important clinical resources for the DIR professional.
What Parents come to us?
We serve the parents and caregivers of children, teens, and young adults. Most of the children are diagnosed with autism or have other developmental challenges, but the services are for all children whether considered neurotypical or neurodiverse. The Developmental, Individual-differences, and Relationship-based model (DIR®) is our guiding philosophy. We believe every child has incredible potential and through an engaging and respectful process, we can help you help your child achieve success others may have told you is not possible.
Floortime Coaching for Parents
The best way to learn how to implement Floortime with your child is through coaching. We can provide parent coaching in our center and/or to anyone anywhere in the world through our live online platform. The cost is reasonable and the process is very effective. Do you want to try it out? Sign up for a free 1-hour consultation and then send us a link to a video of you playing with your child(ren). We'll then provide some initial coaching right away in that first hour!
Floortime All the Time and Everywhere
Did you know Floortime can be done anywhere? We will help you learn skills that can be used in the house, backyard, supermarket, and at the playground. You do not need a professional in your home for hours on end. This is something you can do at home with your child while engaging in every day events and tasks.
Floortime can include everyone - other children, siblings, peers, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, teachers, etc.
Floortime can be done at any time of the day - after supper, in the bathtub, or cuddling in bed!
Floortime can be done in the car, when doing laundry, eating breakfast, getting dressed, and washing the dishes – ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE.
Our team of experts will help you challenge and expand your child’s development through a respectful, playful, and joyful process that will keep your child engaged. The key requirement is that you and your child enjoy these moments!
DIR is Evidence-Based
The evidence to support DIRFloortime is very strong. The latest review published in the American Psychological Association journal in 2020 indicates that developmentally based programs like DIR Floortime actually have stronger support in research to be effective than behavioral approaches like ABA. That's right! That may not be what you have been told, but it is the truth. You can read more on our research page by clicking here.
We believe every individual has the potential to grow and develop. We also understand the important role parents, caregivers, and families have in raising, supporting, and teaching a child with developmental difficulties. Through a DIRFloortime® approach, we help families gain insights into their child’s development and functioning. Through these insights, families then are empowered to take real action to help their child reach their fullest potential.
What Makes Floortime Work?
The DIR Floortime approach is based on the fact that emotion and social-emotional experiences (relationships and interactions with others) are critical to the growth of the mind and brain. For many people with developmental challenges such as autism, social-emotional experiences can be challenging. In Floortime, we get this emotional process going by first “following the child’s lead.” (Please note, this applies to adolescents, young adults, and even adults as well.) Following your child's lead means following their interests and strengths that are driven by their emotions.
What interests your child?
What makes your child feel happy, sad, frustrated, withdrawn, etc.?
What makes your child meltdown or tantrum?
What struggles does your child experience at home, in school, or out in the community?
Whatever it is, your child's interest is your clue. It is your window into what he or she is feeling and thinking. We can help you learn how to follow your child's lead to help them overcome what may be most difficult or may be holding them back.
American Academy of Pediatrics
In a January 2020 report by the Council on Children with Disabilities, Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics of the American Academy of Pediatrics entitled "Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder," stated;
Intervention for young children also may be derived from developmental theory, which is focused on the relationship between the caregiver’s level of responsiveness and the child’s development of social communication.
Through interaction with others, children learn to communicate and regulate emotions and establish a foundation for increasingly complex thinking and social interaction. Therefore, developmental models designed to promote social development in children with ASD are focused on the relationship between the child with ASD and their caregiver through coaching to help increase responsiveness to the adult (ie, the interventionist or parent or caregiver) through imitating, expanding on, or joining into child-initiated play activities. This approach may address core symptoms of ASD, such as joint attention, imitation, and affective social engagement.
Developmental models for intervention are focused on teaching adults to engage in nondirective interactive strategies to foster interaction and development of communication in the context of play. One such approach is known as DIRFloortime (The Developmental, Individual Differences, and Relationship-Based model).
We have found that often times Pediatricians are not as familiar with DIRFloortime since it is a newer approach than ABA. The inclusion of Floortime in this report can be very helpful information as you discuss your options with your pediatrician.
Hyman SL, Levy SE, Myers SM; COUNCIL ON CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES, SECTION ON DEVELOPMENTAL AND BEHAVIORAL PEDIATRICS. Identification, Evaluation, and Management of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Pediatrics. 2020 Jan;145(1):e20193447. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/145/1/e20193447