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 DIR expert support to parents/caregivers and professionals.  Parents and caregivers can attend DIRFloortime® Intensives at the ICDL International DIR® Institute where families come for 3 to 5 day intensives with their children and receive DIRFloortime (pronounced D.I.R. Floortime) coaching from top DIRFloortime experts.   As part of the DIRFloortime Intensives, parents/caregivers will also receive up to three (3) virtual coaching sessions before the intensive and up to three (3) virtual coaching sessions after the intensive to help carry home the progress gained during the intensive.  

For professionals and organizations, the DIR® Institute manages DIR® Accreditation for organizations and provides individual DIRFloortime® mentoring for professionals and organizational DIRFloortime® consultation services.  

ICDL is committed to continually expanding the world's knowledge and understanding of DIR and the practice of DIRFloortime.  DIR is a well-established and evidence-based approach that has been utilized for over 35 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 DIRFloortime from top experts that know the deep roots of the model and also are well-versed on the latest science, research, and clinical practice.

Virtual DIRFloortime Consultations for Parents

ICDL offers individualized virtual (live online) DIRFloortime consultations for parents. This is for parents that are new to Floortime or parents that know about Floortime but are interested in learning about developing a DIR® home program and/or joining us for a DIRFloortime Intensive. This is a unique opportunity to individually meet with a DIRFloortime Expert to gain insights and explore implementing Floortime strategies with your child. We will happily review videos of you interacting with your child to help you gain insights into his or her 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 (Space is limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis).

Parents and Caregivers

"You saved him, you saved me, you saved us!" - DIR® Institute Parent

DIRFloortime Intensives

The DIRFloortime Intensives at the DIR® Institute are focused on teaching parents DIRFloortime in an intensive, hands-on format. At the DIR® Institute in Livingston, NJ, USA, families come for 3 to 5 day-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

As part of the DIRFloortime Intensive program, parents/caregivers will receive up to three (3) virtual coaching sessions before the intensive and up to three (3) after.  These virtual coaching sessions help families integrate the progress that happens at the intensive to the family's home.  

What Parents come to us?

The DIR® Institute is available to parents and caregivers of children with neurodevelopmental differences such as autism or other developmental challenges.  Oftentimes parents come to the ICDL DIR® Institute before their child is even fully diagnosed and the family is awaiting diagnosis and services in their community. The Developmental, Individual-differences, and Relationship-based (DIR®) model is our guiding philosophy.  DIR is a way to understand human development and the key factors involved in the human developmental process. 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.

Coaching for Parents

The best way to learn how to implement Floortime with your child is through coaching.  Our DIR experts will guide you in how to implement DIRFloortime in the most effective way to promote your child's development. Our favorite thing we hear from parents after an intensive is, "We got it!"  Our goal is to empower you to be confident in your ability to hep your child.   

Everyday Floortime 

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.

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® 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® Consultations 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 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.  

More for Parents to Know

Our Philosophy

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 DIRFloortime 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.”  Following your child's lead means following their interests and strengths that are driven by their emotions. It does not mean they get to do whatever they want, but connecting to their intrinsic motivations and interest is key to helping them develop and behave.

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. 

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

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.