Parents & Caregivers

Information and Supports for Parents and Caregivers

Supporting Families

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. 

About ICDL 2021.mp4

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 Parent Coaching 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.

Learn About Floortime: DIR 101 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. 

Free Parent Support With Affect Autism: Parents helping Parents

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 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 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. 

We Chose Play Series

We chose play is a new documentary series documenting one family’s Floortime journey.  A must see for all families considering or utilizing Floortime.  

For on the Floor Video Series with Dr. Gil Tippy

Dr. Gil Tippy, a DIRFloortime Expert and co-author of Respecting Autism with Dr. Stanley Greenspan, created a series of short 4-minute videos on fun Floortime activities.

Affect Autism

This is a wonderful parent page that is sponsored by ICDL.  Affect Autism is for parents by parents.  Incredible podcasts, video interviews, support meetings, and much, much more.  

Do you need to find a Floortime professional? 

Find professionals, schools, an other centers and organizations that work

within a DIR framework and/or use DIRFloortime as an intervention and support.

Helpful Links

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. 

What is DIR®?


What is Floortime?

My Child is More than Just a Behavior:  A short commentary by Jeffrey Guenzel, ICDL's CEO  

Educational Intervention

DIR® Home Programs

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. 

Being in the Moment by Mike Fields

Self-regulation is different than self-control.  Read this helpful guide on Self Regulation by Stuart Shanker

Autism the Musical

Could It Be Autism?: A Parent's Guide to the First Signs and Next Steps. By Nancy D. Wiseman (2006) Broadway Books

Basic Intervention and Treatment Information

Interdisciplinary Evaluation

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.