Chicago Speech Therapy, LLC | Article

Background and Effectiveness of Dir/Floortime

Parents and Speech-Language Pathologists have begun to use a new and effective form of therapy called DIR/Floortime. This model was created by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and is sometimes also referred to as The Greenspan Floortime Approach. Floortime is tailored for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to grow emotionally, socially, and intellectually. Floortime may be used in the home, but it is helpful to have assistance from a clinician (such as a speech-language pathologist) at the beginning of the program.

DIR/Floortime can be broken down into three parts: Developmental, Individual Difference, and Relationship-based. These three parts will help you better understand the background of this form of therapy and how it is so effective.

Developmental Stage – Understanding the stages of your child’s development is essential when developing the program and program goals. Talking about your child’s developmental stages with a clinician will help you understand what he or she needs in order for DIR/Floortime to be successful.

Individual Difference Stage – Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders often have trouble managing their sensory input. Some may overreact to physical, aural, and/or visual stimuli, while others show minimal response. Because of these differences, it is important to create a program that caters to your child’s specific needs. Children also have different levels of emotions and social skills, both of which should be taken into consideration when planning a program.

Relationship-Based Stage – The relationship between the child and their parent, therapist, educator, or whoever else is leading the program is the most crucial part of the model. Forming a strong human relationship is integral to any child’s development. Once that relationship is formed, your child’s emotions will become linked to certain behaviors, which will ultimately lead to language development.

Understanding these stages is an important step to take before attempting to administer DIR/Floortime. The effectiveness of this form of therapy is dependant on considering the child’s development level, recognizing his or her unique needs, struggles, and strengths, and forming a strong connection.