Our Approaches

Our Approaches

We specialise in social pragmatic approaches to communication and learning. They focus on mediating the individuals' experiences in the moment to create teachable moments and support development.

DIR Floortime

Social Thinking

Hanen

DIR Floortime

Children develop many skills but may struggle to apply the skills meaningfully. Children may learn to play but struggle to engage in back-and-forth interactions. Children may learn to talk but struggle to share their experiences. At Connect and Communicate, we specialise in approaches that promote integrated learning through play and relationships. In this way, we support holistic development and ensure a solid foundation for all social, emotional and academic learning.

DIR®/Floortime is a play-based approach, founded by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and Ms Serena Wieder. The Developmental, Individual differences and Relationship-based model is a framework that helps us assess and develop an intervention program tailored to the unique strengths and challenges of each individual.

Developmental

this part of the model describes critical role of social-emotional development starting at birth and continuing throughout the lifespan. The individual’s capacity to do the following are building blocks to development:

  • Build bridges between ideas in logical ways

  • Remain calm and regulated

  • Engage and relate to others

  • Initiate and respond to verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Engage in shared problem-solving and intentional behaviours

  • Use ideas to play creatively

  • Attend to others

  • Think in multi-causal, abstract and reflective ways

Individual Differences

this part of the model provides a framework for understanding how each individual has unique biologically-based ways he/she takes in, regulates, comprehends and responds to sensations (e.g., touch and sound).

He/she will also plan and sequence actions and ideas differently. When we understand how each person individually perceives and interacts with the world differently, we can be better informed to ‘reach them to teach them’.

Relationship

the model also highlights the power of relationships and emotional connections to fuel development. As caregivers, educators, therapists and peers, we have to tailor our interactions to teach the individual in ways they may learn better and faster.



DIR® is the philosophy while Floortime is the approach. Floortimeis a technique to follow the child’s natural interests, and at the same time challenge the child towards greater capacities. “Floortime” is not simply getting on the floor and playing with children. Instead, it is about meeting the individual where they are, in their needs, interests and capacities. It is not about their “diagnosis”, but truly develops “who they are”.

This part of the model provides a framework for understanding how each individual has unique biologically-based ways of taking in, regulating, comprehending and responding to sensations (e.g., touch and sound).

He/she will also plan and sequence actions and ideas differently. When we understand how each person individually perceives and interacts with the world differently, we can be better informed to ‘reach them to teach them’.
  • Become more focused and regulated
  • Become more flexible
  • Be more tolerant to frustrating and unpleasant situations
  • Plan and execute longer sequences of actions
  • Take more initiative
  • Improve problem solving skills
  • Communicate with both non-verbal (e.g., eye-gaze, gestures) and words
  • Take pleasure in learning

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Social Thinking®

At Connect and Communicate, we go beyond teaching individuals social skills. We teach them social thinking. This is the ability to understand people and situations – thoughts, feelings, hidden intentions and expectations. Good social understanding is what helps us respond in appropriate ways (i.e. good social skills). People may have good language skills but lack social understanding.

Social Thinking® is a cognitive behavioural intervention founded by Michelle Garcia Winner that works actively on developing individuals’ social understanding. We support individuals to attend, interpret, problem solve and respond to social situations. We do not teach specific social skills (rules) but we develop social competency. This enables individuals to figure out the hidden rules in different situations for themselves. Social thinking allows us to form and maintain social relationships. It also allows us to understand, interpret and analyse academic content like reading comprehension and storytelling/writing.

Social thinking begins in early childhood with children understanding fairytales and navigating playgrounds. Social thinking also enables the student to engage in groupwork in a classroom or play with peers. Social thinking helps working adults negotiate conflict as well as respond to emails in a savvy manner. Social thinking is a process and a stronger lesson that can be applied across all settings over the lifespan.

Click here to find out about the social thinking methodology.

Click here for FREE webinars in Social Thinking!

The Social Thinking® program is designed for individuals from 4 years of age all the way to adults who have fairly good verbal and academic skills but struggle with establishing and/or maintaining social relationships. As it is a cognitive approach that requires thinking about thinking, strong language skills are essential.

The program is recommended for individuals with social learning challenges. Some may have a diagnosis such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder, social communication disorders or social anxiety. Social Thinking® has been adopted into mainstream classrooms all around the world to support socio-emotional learning (SEL) among the wider population. Social thinking is something we all engage in all the time and we don’t know we’re doing it. In Social Thinking, we teach what we do implicitly in explicit ways.
Sessions are conducted once weekly for an hour, either individually or in small groups of 2 to 4 individuals. This allows for more personalised teaching and practice. Within each group, individuals are matched based on their age, current social communication profile and needs. Parents do not sit in but are debriefed at the end of each session. The expectation is for students to gradually take responsibility for their own learning and to be accountable for their actions and behaviours. Each group term lasts ~20 weeks, but students may continue for several terms.

Individuals may be placed into groups upon recommendation of their therapist and availability of a suitable group.

*You can find more Social Thinking resources at our bookshop

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Hanen Approach & Programs

Children do not develop in isolation. At Connect and Communicate, we believe that nurture shapes nature. Sensitive, responsive caregiving is integral to a child’s development. Caregivers play a pivotal role in their child’s learning. This includes both people at home and at school. Hanen offers a multitude of caregiver training programs for children aged 0 to 7 years.

Hanen is a family-focused approach that supports parents to assume the primary role in helping their children learn. Hanen parent training programs target the development of language, social communication and literacy through the use of strategies in everyday routines and activities. Hanen strategies are also routinely used by our therapists in individual sessions.

Click here to learn tips for parents.

More Than Words® Program

was designed for parents of children between 0 and 5 years who have social communication challenges, including those on the Autism Spectrum. It aims to help parents better understand the different ways their child communicates and also provide practical strategies to improve the child’s interaction and communication, play and imitation skills. This is facilitated through empowering parents to turn everyday routines and activities into learning opportunities, as well as adjusting the way they respond / talk to their child in order to enhance their language learning.

TalkAbility Program

was designed for parents of children between 3 and 7 years who are verbal but continue to present with social communication challenges, including those with high-functioning autism. It aims to teach parents practical ways to use their child’s unique interests to build important “people skills” that are essential for making friends. These include paying attention to non-verbal cues to determine others’ thoughts and feelings, consider different points of view, carrying on conversations and playing imaginatively.

It Takes Two to Talk® Program

was designed for parents of children between 0 and 5 years who have been identified as having a language delay. It aims to guide parents to refocus their current communication style to foster their child’s confidence and language, while also equipping parents with practical strategies to build their child’s language skills naturally during everyday routines and activities. These strategies tap on the child’s current interests and strengths to encourage more interaction and language learning.



In addition, the following Hanen programs have also been used in our therapy:

Click here for more information on the different Hanen Programs.

Click here to learn How Hanen helps different diagnoses.

Hanen parent training workshops are conducted by Hanen-certified Speech Therapists over 3 to 4 months. Before starting the program each family will have to attend an individual pre-program consultation for the therapist to assess the child's current communication skills and set goals to work on within the program.

Parents are the required to attend weekly small group sessions with other parents that are focused on sharing of strategies. These are complemented by individual clinic visits with the child to review parents’ application of the strategies as well as the child’s progress. This is carried out through video feedback and discussions, which helps to identify what is working and discuss further action moving forward.

You can find more information on upcoming workshops here.

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