What is DIRFloortime and why do we use it at Play for Real?

My Journey To DIRFloortime

You may be interested to hear about my own journey to discovering DIRFloortime, but if you want to get straight to the overview, you can skip to the next section below.
I first heard about Floortime back in 1997. I was working as an occupational therapist (OT) with children and their families. Then, as now, I really loved my work!
I’d always been able to really connect to, and help kids with challenges, but why? I knew I was using my experience as a play therapist as well as my sensory and other OT skills, but why was my approach working? For me, you as parents and caregivers are the most important people in a child’s life and I needed to more fully understand the reasoning behind what I was doing, so that I could support you to help your child.
Then, one afternoon, a colleague gave me an article about something called “Floortime” by Stanley Greenspan, M.D. and Serena Wieder, Ph.D. That article changed my life! What I read made so much sense to me! I was thrilled to find that they had an upcoming workshop here in Florida and, at that workshop, so much fell into place for me. I finally began to understand how the pieces of the puzzle fit together! 

Say Hello to DIRFloortime!

DIRFloortime – how do you even pronounce it, let alone understand what it means? Well the first part is easy enough. The “D”, “I” and “R” are pronounced as separate letters, followed by “Floortime”. Some of you may be familiar with the term, but many of you may not have heard of it. I’d like to tell you about it so you can see if it’s what you’ve been looking for to help you and your child. 
In the coming posts, I’ll explain more about this therapy approach and why we are so passionate about it at Play for Real, but for now let’s start with an overview. 

A Brief Overview of DIRFloortime

DIR is the framework and Floortime is the therapeutic approach. The framework has three central elements represented by the “D”, “I” and “R”:
Developmental – Knowing and respecting where a child is developmentally guides us in how to best support them in steps they can manage. 
Individual Differences – Every child and every adult is different. Everyone has areas of strength as well as areas of challenge. Knowing what makes someone tick is key in understanding how best to help them grow and develop.
Relationships – Relationships are essential for healthy development. DIRFloortime uses affective (based on emotion) interactions to engage and support a child to move forward in a positive and meaningful way.
Floortime – is the therapeutic approach, Floortime was named to describe getting on the child’s level and meeting them where they are at. This doesn’t necessarily mean it always has to take place on the floor! It is a play-based approach, and focuses on the child’s interests. Parents are actively involved and coached on how to use Floortime throughout each day.

Next Time:

In the coming posts I’ll talk about each of these elements in more detail starting with “D” for Developmental.
If you can’t wait until then, icdl.com is the website to visit for all things DIRFloortime. 
If you enjoy books then “Engaging Autism” by Stanley Greenspan and Serena Wieder is a great place to start.
See you next time!

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