- DIR® parents and therapists don’t have to force children to perform tasks that are unnatural, unmotivating, or lack meaning for the child.
DIRFloortime builds on the intrinsic motivation of the child. We look for the “gleam in the eye” and when we find it, we use it to motivate the child to move forward in all aspects of his/her development. Supporting the child’s emotional health and well-being, while improving engagement, communication, and problem-solving are key elements of this model.
- DIR® looks at the child as an individual.
We as providers are highly motivated and obligated to understand the nuances of each child’s development and outward behaviors. We look for patterns that help to understand how they communicate, why they communicate, what motivates them, what increases their connectedness and level of joy, and what overwhelms them. We need to understand when a child needs a break and when the child needs to be pushed. Every child’s sensory profile is different and every child’s threshold is different. It is our job to work with parents so that together we can identify those patterns and understand what those patterns mean in terms of everyday life functioning and intervention options for each child.
- Our DIR® kiddos learn to think and solve problems.
Imagine being stuck in sameness because you know if you deviate from your normal patterns, you will have no idea how to get back on track or how to get out of a “sticky” situation. Many of our children are rigid. The may not like the ball pit because they don’t know how to get out of it. Or maybe they are scared of new situations, such as ordering their own food at a restaurant, because if something unfamiliar happens, they won’t be able to adapt and solve the problem. Change brings too many unknowns and our kiddos often lack the skills to come up with new ideas or solve problems.
DIRFloortime, along with sensory integration theory, guides us in helping children to improve their thinking and independent problem-solving in meaningful and fun situations. This improves their flexibility and helps support a strong foundation for academic or vocational learning.
- We can help children from a very young age, when parents begin noticing something different, but pediatricians may not yet be concerned.
Sometimes a child technically meets all milestones, but parents know that something is different. DIRFloortime gives us an intimate understanding of development from a very young age. We can observe a child’s interactions with other people and with his/her environment to know if he or she is at risk for developmental challenges.
- “DIRFloortime® has the strongest research of any intervention to support its effectiveness in improving the core challenges of autism including relating, interacting, and communicating while decreasing caregiver stress and improving parent-child relationships. “ (Quote taken from www.icdl.com/research)
DIR positively affects things that are hard to measure, but that are arguably the most important things in life–connecting to others, thinking flexibly, and solving problems. It’s hard to measure how happy a child is , how connected he feels to others, or how empowered his family feels because they understand their child better. But parents and children feel these changes deeply.