In School: Floortime

Floortime sessions focus on having caregivers follow the child's lead to encourage the child's initiative and purposeful behavior, deepening engagement, lengthening mutual attention, and developing symbolic capacities. The length of the sessions will depend on how long it takes the child to "warm up" and become fully engaged as well as how long it takes the child to create and expand on new gestures and/or ideas. Daily opportunities for 6 to 8 or more sessions lasting between 20 and 45 minutes each often recommended.

There are several basic principles of Floortime

  • Follow the child's lead.
  • Join in at the child's developmental level and build on her natural interests.
  • Open and close circles of communications.
  • Create a play environment with rattles, balls, dolls, action figures, cars, trucks, schools, etc. that will provide a vehicle for the child's natural interests and facilitate opening and closing circles of communication.
    • Extend the circles of communication.
    • Interact constructively to help the child reach his own goals.
    • Interact playfully, but obstructively, as needed.
  • Broaden the child's range of interactive experience:
    • Broaden the thematic and/or emotional range.
    • Enjoy and engage in play dealing with the different themes of life: closeness and dependency: assertiveness, initiative, and curiosity; aggression and limit-setting: and pleasure and excitement.
    • Challenge the child to engage in neglected or avoided types of interactions.
  • Broaden the range of processing and motor capacities used in interactions.
    • Engage the child with sound and/or words, vision, touch, and movement.
    • Challenge the child to employ underused or avoided processing capacities.
  • Tailor your interactions to the child's individual differences in auditory processing, visual-spatial processing, motor planning and sequencing, and sensory modulation.
    • Profile the child's individual differences, based on observation and history.
    • Work with the individual differences. Utilize natural strengths for interaction, and gradually remediate vulnerabilities. Be extra soothing for the sensory-overreactive child and/or extra compelling and animated for the sensory-underreactive child.
  • Simultaneously attempt to mobilize the six functional developmental levels (attention, engagement, gestures, complex, preverbal problem-solving, using ideas, and connecting ideas for thinking). Younger children or children with developmental challenges will master the later levels as they develop.