What is the “I” in DIR and why is it important for you and your child?

Your child is unique!

The “I” in DIR is for Individual Differences. No two people are exactly the same; we all have areas of strength and areas that we find more challenging. One person may find something exciting or fascinating and to someone else the same thing may be of no interest at all! 

Understanding your child’s “I” will help you to know what comes easily to them and what is harder. This in turn helps you to know how to support them in their areas of challenge. For example, if your child struggles to attend to and follow the words you’re saying, they may have difficulty with auditory processing. If you know they have stronger visual skills you can use lots of visual cues, such as gestures, facial expressions, pictures etc to help them process what is being said.

What is an individual profile?

When we put together information about your child’s “I” we get an Individual Profile. As a parent you know your child better than anyone and you may not realize just how much you already know about your child’s “I”!

We’ll talk about each of the areas that go to make up an individual profile in more detail in future blogs, but for now here are a few of the things we consider:

  • How does your child process sensory information? Are there sensory experiences they seek out, or are there some they avoid? What feels good to them, and what not so good?
  • What do your child’s motor skills look like? Are they active or do they prefer more sedentary activities? Are they well coordinated or are they clumsy? 
  • How does your child communicate? How do they let you know what they want or what they’re feeling? Do they use non-verbal communication such as gestures and facial expressions? 
  • What motivates or interests your child? Do they have lots of things they enjoy doing, or just one or two things they find intensely interesting? Do they not seem motivated by anything in particular? 

Understanding the different pieces that fit together to make your child the unique person they are really helps in knowing what works best for them as they go about their business of being a kid!

Next Time: 

The “R” in DIR is for relationships and in the next blog I’ll talk about how your child’s “D” and “I” can guide you in relating and engaging with your child.

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