What is the DIR®/Floortime™ Model?
Floortime™ is the spontaneous play and interaction that has the goal of helping parents and caregivers to attune to the child, and then once in a shared world with the child, develop a continuous flow of interactions. In this process, a series of opportunities and challenges are created to help the child move up to higher levels of relating, communicating and thinking. Floortime™ is an intervention tool that can assist children to engage in learning relationships but is also a powerful approach that helps children to learn, think, problem solve and reason.
Research shows us that a focus on family relationships needs to be at the centre of an intervention program. The primary role that therapists take is that of a coach and mentor for parents and caregivers to help them incorporate Floortime™ principles in both specific play sessions but also most importantly throughout the natural routines of the day.
In addition to this core work with caregivers and children, our staff are able to provide a range of semi structured individualised therapy services to children as part of a comprehensive developmental and relationship based intervention program. Floortime™ can be offered individually or in a group setting.
Assessment and Intervention Program using the DIR®/Floortime ™ model
As a comprehensive framework, the DIR®/Floortime™ Model typically involves an interdisciplinary team approach including speech and occupational therapy, mental health professionals (e.g. social worker, psychologist, child psychiatrist), educational programs, and, where appropriate, biomedical intervention. After carefully assessing the child’s functional developmental level, individual differences and challenges, as well as relationships with caregivers and peers, the interdisciplinary team will, together with the parents, develop an individualized functional profile that captures each child’s unique developmental features and serves as a basis for creating an individually tailored intervention program.
A comprehensive DIR®/ Floortime™ intervention program includes consideration of the following components, tailored to the individual child’s profile:
Home-based, developmentally appropriate interactions and practices, including
- Floortime™ sessions: These sessions focus on encouraging the child’s initiative and purposeful behaviour, deepening engagement, lengthening mutual attention, and developing symbolic capacities through pretend play and conversations, always following the child’s lead.
- Semi-structured problem-solving: These sessions involve setting up meaningful and relevant challenges to be solved in order to teach a child something new. The challenges can be set up as selected learning activities that are meaningful and relevant to the child’s experiences.
- Motor, sensory, sensory integration, visual-spatial, and perceptual motor activities: These activities are geared to the child’s individual differences and regulatory patterns, building basic processing capacities and providing the support to help children become engaged, attentive, and regulated during interactions with others.
- Peer play with an other child: Peer play should be started once a child is fully engaged and interactive, with adults providing mediation when necessary to encourage engagement and interaction between the children.