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What is DIR/Floortime®?

DIR®/Floortime® (developed by Stanley Greenspan, M.D., and Serena Wieder, Ph.D.) is a framework that allows clinicians and families to collaborate in developing an intervention program tailored to the unique strengths and challenges of each child. Objectives of the DIR/Floortime model are to build healthy foundations for social, emotional, and intellectual capacities rather than focusing on skills and isolated behaviors.

The DIR/Floortime®

Functional Emotional Developmental Capacities

 

1.  Self-Regulation and Shared Attention

 

Entering into, and sustaining, a state of shared attention with another person while filtering out enough sensory input (sights, sounds, movement, etc.)  to remain focused on the interaction.

 

 

Examples:

  • Returning to a calm state after rough-housing

  • Answering a question asked by the teacher, even though the fluorescent lights are buzzing in the background.

  • Visually or verbally checking in with a friend while digging in the sand together

2.  Engagement/Forming Relationships

 

Engaging another person with warmth and pleasure. Greenspan describes this as "gleam in the eye".  Learning what type of activities help your child stay regulated (see above) can give you valuable information about how to best engage her. Will bouncing on a trampoline put her body in a state where she is comfortable enough to engage, or does she prefer quiet cuddling while reading a book?

 

Example:

  • Demonstrating excitement (using eye gaze, vocalizations, gestures, or words) when a favorite person approaches.

3. Intentional Two-Way Communication 

 

Using affective signals, gestures, and/or words to communicate a message. A "circle of communication" is opened when the child initiates an interaction; it is closed when another person responds. The goal is to create a "continuous flow" of communication that consists of many circles.

 

Examples:

  • Reaching out to be picked up

  • Saying "more" to keep a favorite activity going

  • Telling a peer "I'll be the Mommy and you be the baby"

4.  Complex Communication/Social Problem-Solving/Development of Complex Sense of Self

 

Using complex circles of communication by stringing together a series of gestures, actions, and words. This is the stage where the child begins to develop a sense of self/self-esteem/independence ("I did it!" or "Look what I did!") by using affect, gestures, and words.

 

Examples:

  • Forming a joint plan about how to reach something on a high shelf

  • Negotiating with a peer about whose turn it is to water the plants

5.  Elaborating Ideas/Representational Capacity and Elaboration of Symbolic Thinking

 

Creating ideas (symbols), which can be observed in pretend play and in words. Role playing becomes a powerful medium to experiment with expression of a variety of emotional themes.

 

Examples:

  • Exerting power over others in play by assuming the role of mommy, daddy, teacher, or superhero

  • Beginning to use words in place of actions to express emotions (saying "I'm so mad!" instead of hitting)

6.  Building Bridges Between Ideas/Emotional Thinking

 

Building logical bridges or making connections between different emotional ideas. Play themes are less fragmented and follow a more cohesive line of thought. The beginning of a child's understanding that their behavior has an impact on others.

 

Examples:

  • Realizing that knocking down a friend's block tower may cause him to become angry and not want to play together anymore

  • Creating a back story about the characters before beginning play

Sources: 

The Astra Foundation's adaptation of original work by Stanley Greenspan and Serena Weider (http://astrafoundation.org/Min%20iFDL%20Poster_regular%20graphics.pdf)

Celebrate the Children School (http://www.celebratethechildren.org/functional-emotional-levels.html)

 

© 2014 Play to Learn...Learn to Play, Inc.