Developmental, Individual-Difference, Relationship-Based model, short for DIR, also called Floortime, is a therapy that helps children with autism or other developmental disorders to build normal social, emotional, and intellectual capacities. Dr. Stanley Greenspan, one of the primary developers of this approach, is a psychologist based in Maryland. Floortime can be implemented by a parent with minimal training. Not only it could expand the circles of communication of autistic kids, but also, it can bring a lot of fun to the parent.
Floortime, literally, it means that a parent or caregiver sit on the floor with the child suffered from autism, and play together, the parent or caregiver will help the child by meeting him/her at their developmental level and building on their strengths. By following the child?? interests and motivations, the parent could help him/her to learn how to attend, engage in a dialogue, take initiative, learn about causality, self-regulation and interest in the world, intimacy and how to solve problems.
For example, if a child frequently tap a toy car against the floor, his/her parents will join the child with the intention of developing an affective interaction by tapping another car in the same way, maybe infront of the child’s car or add language to the game, rather than demand that the child join them in an activity of their desire as is the case in many educational approaches such as ABA.
Some school systems are incorporating this strategy into their programs, but usually do not make this their primary. Floortime is being used by some families who prefer a play-based therapy. Greenspan’s book The Child with Special Needs is a great resource for getting underway.Many child psychologists, special education teachers, speech therapists and occupational therapists have formal training in Floortime techniques.