Parents & Caregivers
Information and Supports for Parents and Caregivers
We at ICDL know that when a parent is searching the web, there are probably more questions and emotions present than any web page could ever address. We know that most parents are reading our website because they are looking for answers to help their child. There may be an autism diagnosis or a parent may have been told that their child has a "special need." It can be a very difficult, complicated, confusing, and draining process as a parent to seek out answers and resources. We have found though, that no matter the exact situation or diagnosis, there is one common theme that parents come to us with - they just want their child to be happy and they want to know how best to help their child continually strive towards their fullest potential. DIRFloortime has been used for well over two decades and the results from clinical practice and research have been impressive. Bottom line: It works! At one time in the past, all we had were behavioral approaches such as ABA. These approaches clearly do not provide all the answers and have significant limitations. Many Autistic self-advocates and autism experts have also spoken out strongly about a wide range of negative effects of ABA. As we have learned more about child development, we have learned how effective developmental and relationship-based methods like DIRFloortime can be. It is a huge step beyond just controlling behaviors. It is about promoting growth and development in a deep and meaningful way.
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 who know about Floortime but are interested in learning about the DIR® Home Program or the Floortime Intensives at the international DIR® Institute. 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 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 (This is limited to one consultation per family, and space is limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis).
DIR® Home Program (Virtual Service)
This is a 12-week virtual program offered through ICDL's DIR® Institute that provides direct parent coaching on implementing DIR and Floortime at home with your child or children. The weekly coaching sessions are live with Floortime experts from the premier international DIR Institute. You can read more about it by clicking here and use the link above to sign up for a free consultation.
Floortime Intensives at the International DIR® Institute
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.
Free Parent Support Meetings
These are drop-in support meetings to support families that are using Floortime with their children. Parenting a child with special needs can be challenging, but it can still be filled with lots of joy and love. Daria Brown from Affect Autism leads these sessions. Daria is a parent and holds an Advanced Certificate in DIRFloortime. Come to one or come to all...it is up to you. Start at any point. We are here for you when you need support, guidance, or just to share stories and experiences. These meetings are open to parents from anywhere around the world! Click here to see meeting dates and times and to register today.
Floortime Introductory Course
ICDL offers DIR 101: An Introduction to DIR and Floortime to both parents and professionals. This can be a great way to learn about Floortime. It is a 12-hour live lecture-based course taught by Floortime experts, with many video examples.
For on the Floor Video Series (Free)
Dr. Gil Tippy, a DIRFloortime Expert, is creating a series of short 4-minute videos on fun Floortime activities. Click here to watch the series and other resources from Dr. Gil Tippy.
DIR 101 Courses Reduced to $49 for Parents
The regular price for DIR 101 courses for parents start at $109. ICDL knows that many families are facing financial challenges right now, so we have reduced the price to as low as $79 USD for most live online DIR 101 courses. Click here to view the courses and to see which ones have the reduced prices available.
We Chose Play Series
With each episode, you will follow a family's Floortime journey with tips, reflections, and insights. Get Daria Brown's parent perspective on what she learned along the way and what she knows now that she would tell herself back then. Daria hopes it will support you in your own journey.
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
NJ Family Care News
As of July 1, 2020, all New Jersey residents up to the age of 21 that are diagnosed with autism and covered by NJ Family Care (NJ's Medicaid plans) will now have access to a DIR® benefit. This benefit provides access to qualified healthcare providers such as counselors, occupational therapists, psychologists, and others that have an ICDL Advanced or Expert level provider certificate. These professionals can now provide individual and group DIRFloortime® therapy and DIRFloortime® parent coaching with or without the child present. This is the first state in the United States of America to adopt such a comprehensive autism benefit for children covered by Medicaid. If you are a parent and your child is covered by NJ Family Care, please contact your health insurance carrier and state you want to access your "DIR® Benefit" to obtain Floortime services. If you need any assistance, please contact the ICDL DIR® Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are able to help ICDL bring this same benefit to your state, please contact email@example.com.
There are many incredible resources on the internet and in many communities that can help parents. We encourage you to take a look at the resources and information shown below and see what makes sense to you as a parent.
Interacting with Autism: A very informative site with many videos that are educational, moving, and inspiring.
Autistic-Like, Graham's Story: A story of two parents helping their child with Autism-like challenges.
Self-regulation is different than self-control. Read this helpful guide on Self Regulation by Stuart Shanker
Could It Be Autism?: A Parent's Guide to the First Signs and Next Steps. By Nancy D. Wiseman (2006) Broadway Books