What is DIR/Floortime?

DIR/Floortime is a comprehensive, evidence-based therapy model, to provide intervention to children with an Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental challengers.

Key aspects of this model include:

  • Playing and therapy in the Let's Play Developmental Therapy Clayfield clinicUses specialist play-based therapy and sensory-motor techniques;
  • Incorporates a holistic approach, focusing on the integration of all developmental areas (i.e. social, emotional, motor, sensory, language and cognitive);
  • Focuses on parent involvement, and embracing the parent-child relationship as an integral part of the intervention,
  • Focuses on building strong foundational skills at the earlier levels of development, in order to support later stages of development;
  • Supports the generalisation of skills outside the clinic setting. This means that the family, teachers and other professionals are guided with techniques to support the child to use these developing skills in all settings;
  • Supports the child in becoming a regulated, intentional and logical thinker, as opposed to being at the whim of their environment and becoming a rote learner;
  • Encourages the child to be driven by internal rewards/emotions in naturalistic interactions and environments, rather than implementing an external, unnatural and rigid reward system.

Playing and therapy in the Let's Play Developmental Therapy Clayfield clinic

Kylie Marquenie is passionate about the DIR/Floortime model, in particular the positive progress that can be achieved.

The model is a combination of the DIR framework and the Floortime technique. DIR stands for Developmental, Individual difference, Relationship-based. Developmental relates to the six Functional Developmental milestones that are fundamental for a child to relate to their social and cognitive world in a purposeful manner. Each milestone focuses on the child's integration of separate abilities (e.g. sensory, motor, emotional language, etc.) for functional development, rather that acquisition of splinter skills which creates holes across the developmental continuum.

Individual difference relates to specifically tailoring the therapy to, and supporting parents' understanding of, their child's unique processing abilities. These include their response to sound, movement and touch input, and their ability to plan sequences of actions.

Relationship-based describes the parent-child interactions that are tailored to the child's individual differences and functional developmental capacities, to support them in mastering essential foundations along the natural developmental pathway.

The Floortime technique is the delivery method, and embraces the strategy of following the child's lead during spontaneous developmentally appropriate interactions to support the child in mobilising the six functional developmental milestones. It is play-based and generally occurs on the floor.

For detailed information on DIR/Floortime, please see the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders (ICDL) official DIR/Floortime website.

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