DIRFloortime brief overview Online for UK - March 2020

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DIR®/Floortime™ is a comprehensive, relationship-based Model of intervention for children and adults who have challenges in relating and communicating, including autism. This is a free brief introduction, including opportunities for questions, for those in UK new to the Model. It is with ICDL Training Leader Denise Wilson and Alison Baker, Directors of Connecting Through Play cic, Oxfordshire.

DIR® stands for Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based:

Developmental – The session gives a brief overview of Greenspan’s Functional Emotional Developmental Capacities 1-6. These are the capacities a child must master for healthy emotional and intellectual growth. The stages are,

  1. The ability to be regulated and interested in their surroundings.
  2. The ability to engage with others and deepen attachment bonds.
  3. The ability to initiate and respond in two-way purposeful communication.
  4. The capacity for complex communication and shared problem solving.
  5. The ability to create emotional ideas and be imaginative.
  6. The capacity for complex imagination and logical thinking.

Individual Differences - Each child has their own unique profile which needs to be taken into account. Individual differences within the child, or within their environment, will either help or hinder the child in acheiving their potential. Improving our knowledge of each child's Individual Differences, helps us to understand the child's unique experience within their bodies and their perception of their world. These differences may be in the following areas,

  • Motor and perceptual motor function
  • Sensory modulation
  • Sensory processing
  • Auditory processing
  • Environment factors
  • Biomedical factors
  • Developmental history
  • Family factors including attachment
  • Any history of trauma

Relationship-Based - The warm, loving interactions between the child and their caregivers are at the core of the Model. Brain chemistry changes when the child is calmly alert, motivated and positive. This improves neurological processing, helping the child to think and learn more effectively. The child develops an understanding of themselves and the world through long chains of back and forth interactions with their caregivers.

Floortime - Floortime play supports the D, I and R, so that the child can evolve towards independent thinking and sustaining warm, loving relationships. A recent study has shown that coaching parents to carry out Floortime with their children, improves the child's function whilst also reducing parental stress and depression.

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