The DIR Floortime™ approach was developed by Dr Stanley Greenspan and Ms Serena Wieder in the USA as a playful approach to assess and support the child's social, emotional, physical and intellectual capacities. It is recommended for children who have difficulties communicating with, and relating to, people. This includes children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, attention disorders and developmental challenges. Floortime™ is a developmental approach that anchors on the relationships of those closest to the child to mediate his/her inidividual differences and support development. It is an integrated transdiciplinary approach to understanding and supporting development.

The DIR Floortime™ Approach

This is a description of Floortime by the developers:

"Floortime is a warm and intimate way of relating to children. A Floortime philosophy means engaging, respecting, and getting in tune with children in order to help them elaborate through gestures, words and pretend play, their thoughts and ideas. As a technique, Floortime is a 5-step process that can be used by teachers, parents and therapists to help support a child's emotional, social and physical development." (Greenspan & Wieder 1998).

The focus of the treatment is on helping the child to become warmly connected, spontaneous and interactive. The goals of a Floortime based intervention program include helping a child to:

  • Become more alert
  • Take more initiative
  • Become more flexible
  • Be more tolerant of frustrating situations
  • Sequence longer actions - plan and execute them
  • Improve problem solving skills
  • Communicate with both gestures and words
  • Take pleasure in learning (Sherri Cawn & Beth Osten/James J.Messina & Constance Messina 2000)