The DIR® Institute

DIRFloortime Intensives for Children and Families

The DIR® institute

5 Regent Street

Suite 508

Livingston, NJ 07039

The DIR® Institute

The DIR® Institute is a place where parents are able to learn how to implement DIRFloortime (pronounced D.I.R. Floortime) in an intensive, hands-on format.  At the DIR® Institute in Livingston, NJ, USA, families come for 3 to 5 day intensive programs with their child 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.  DIRFloortime Intensives are open to families from anywhere in the world.  

About ICDL 2021.mp4

"By utilizing Floortime I found my son!  I FOUND HIM!  What sweet joy we feel each day we get to learn more with and from our son.  Floortime is magical:). Parents are looking and searching for that pillar of hope. Our DIR coaches have been that pillar and it has changed our world."  

- A DIR® Institute Client

Who do we serve?  

We serve parents and caregivers from around the world of children with developmental challenges such as autism. While we are serving the parents through hands-on coaching, we spend the the 3 to 5 days "getting down on the floor" with you and your child to help you increase your understanding of your child and learn how to best support his or her growth and development.  Most of the children are diagnosed with autism or have other developmental challenges, but there is no diagnostic requirement to attend.  The Developmental, Individual-differences, and Relationship-based model (DIR®) is the centerpiece of every interaction and all of the coaching that takes place at a DIRFloortime Intensive.  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.

Why does DIRFloortime® work?

The D.I.R. 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 DIRFloortime, we get this emotional process going by first “following the child’s lead.” Following your child's lead means following his or her interests and strengths that are driven by their emotions.

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.


DIRFloortime Intensives are between $3,950 and $4,950 USD depending on the lengthIf you are new to ICDL, please sign up for a parent consult. This service is not covered by health insurance as it is a coaching and educational service, not medical service.  

American Academy of Pediatrics

In a January, 2020 report by the Council of 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 his or her 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 sometimes 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.

DIR® Is Evidence-Based

The evidence to support DIR Floortime is very strong.  Actually, 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 more 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.  

Read About a Family's Experience

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).

Our Leadership

Dr. Gil Tippy, Clinical Psychologist and Chief Clinical Advisor. Dr. Gil Tippy is a world-leading expert in developmental approaches to intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). He has over 30 years of experience as a teacher and psychologist and is a founder of the renowned Rebecca School in New York City.  He is a co-author, with Dr. Stanley Greenspan, of “Respecting Autism,” which defines the highly successful use of developmental, individual difference, relationship-based principles of DIRFloortime. He has consulted with special education schools and programs in the U.S. and internationally, and regularly speaks at professional conferences on the subject.

Jeffrey Guenzel, Professional Counselor and Executive Director of ICDL. Mr. Jeffrey Guenzel has been the CEO of ICDL since 2013.  Mr. Guenzel is a professional counselor that has dedicated the past 30 years of his career to serving children and families.

In his most recent appointments prior to joining ICDL, Mr. Guenzel was the Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and previously served as the Director of the New Jersey Division of Child Behavioral Health. In these positions, he led many innovative initiatives including restructuring the service delivery system for children with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Prior to his appointments with the State of New Jersey, Mr. Guenzel was the inaugural Executive Director of a not-for-profit agency providing Wraparound care management services for children with complex behavioral health challenges. Under his leadership, the agency became one of the largest Wraparound agencies in the United States gaining him national recognition. 

Mr. Guenzel has presented at international conferences, provided technical assistance to organizations and governments, and taught courses and lectured in countries all over the world.

Mr. Guenzel provides ICDL and the DIR Institute with a valuable combination of clinical knowledge and skills coupled with a proven track record of successful leadership. Underpinning these skills is a life-long commitment to serving children and advancing positive interventions that make a difference in the lives of children and their families.