A User's Guide to the DIRĀ® Model
Floortime Strategies to Promote Development in Children and Teens
Special Education

Floortime is a highly effective intervention approach for children and adolescents with autism and other developmental disorders. Now there's a step-by-step guide for parents to LEARN and professionals to TEACH the DIRFloortime® model of helping young people with social, emotional, and cognitive challenges.

77341 978-1-59857-734-1
2014 224
Available Stock

Floortime is a highly effective intervention approach for children and adolescents with autism and other developmental disorders. Now there's a step-by-step guide for parents to LEARN and professionals to TEACH the DIRFloortime® model of helping young people with social, emotional, and cognitive challenges.

This guide takes the research-supported developmental approach to treatment and breaks it down into a curriculum of simple, sequenced strategies you can use right away to support the social and cognitive development of children and teens. Quick instructions and examples for each method are laid out for easy viewing in the midst of a play session. Certified DIRFloortime experts explain the theoretical background and the basics of how to play and interact with children in ways that motivate them, make the most of their natural interests, and help them develop critical new social, emotional, and intellectual capacities. Whether you're a professional or parent, this practical, ready-to-use Floortime guide is an essential addition to your intervention toolkit.

WHY USE DIRFloortime?
  • Proven effective—research-supported, field tested, and rooted in developmental psychology
  • Targets the key cognitive and social-emotional capacities children need to thrive in the real world
  • Promotes learning and growth through play and interaction
  • Fosters warm, attuned parent-child relationships
  • Meets your specific needs—apply DIRFloortime strategies in developmental order or use them as standalone teaching tools
  • Gives you quick catchphrases that make strategies "stick", so you can use them anytime, anywhere
  • Encourages caregiver self-reflection and self-awareness—a key part of helping children and teens develop their own self-reflection skills
  • Leads to children and teens becoming joyful, spontaneous, flexible, creative, and empathic human beings

PRACTICAL MATERIALS: Each DIRFloortime strategy comes with a clear description and enlightening examples of how to apply it in a variety of real-life scenarios. The appendix walks you through 11 effective strategies for helping children and adolescents reduce challenging behaviors.

Help children develop crucial skills:

  • Regulation and Attention
  • Social Engagement and Attachment
  • Reciprocity
  • Social Problem Solving
  • Self-Awareness
  • Empathy
  • Imagination
  • Emotional Thinking
  • Logical Thinking
  • Complex Thinking
  • Self-Reflection

DIR® and DIRFloortime® are registered trademarks of The Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders, Inc.

About the Authors
How to Use This Book

Core Methods A. Basic Strategies to Promote Social-Emotional and Intellectual Development
A.1 Follow cues: Provide sensitive interactions by following cues
A.2 Be responsive: Always respond to all communication
A.3 Build upward: Meet your child or teen at current developmental capacity
A.4 Use play: Use play and playfulness as primary means to engage and teach
A.5 Use natural interests: Capitalize on natural interests to elicit higher skills
A.6 Use problems: Set up situations that invite child-initiated solutions
A.7 Pretend play: Create opportunities to use ideas in symbolic (pretend) play
A.8 Embrace feelings: Help embrace a wide range of feelings
A.9 Enrich ideas: Help enrich ideas or stories in play and conversation
A.10 Self-reflect: Take a reflective stance toward yourself in interactions
Core Methods B. Understanding and Addressing Individual Differences in Processing Profiles
B.1 Child's profile: Identify and understand your child's or teen's profile of strengths and weaknesses
B.2 Adult's profile: Consider your individual differences
B.3 Adapt yourself: Adapt your interactive style to your child's or teen's unique profile
B.4 Calm or energize: Provide motor or sensory inputs as needed to calm or energize
B.5 Home design: Set up the home environment to accommodate the unique sensory profile
B.6 Sensory connections: Provide daily sensory-motor relational experiences
B.7 Practice in play: Provide daily planned play activities to address processing challenges
Capacity 1. Regulation and Attention: Attaining a Calm, Alert, Attentive State
1.1 Support regulation: Help your child or teen get regulated before expecting more
1.2 Notice and adjust: Notice and adjust your intensity to support an optimal arousal level
1.3 Calming choices: Offer choices for help in calming down
1.4 Lengthen attention: Attend to and join interests to expand focus and attention
1.5 Avoid flooding: Support regulation at early stages of upset to avoid emotional "flooding"
1.6 Practice in play: Practice modulation regularly in fun, playful ways
Capacity 2. Social Engagement: Getting Involved and Connected
2.1 Joint attention: Develop joint attention
2.2 Gaze tracking: Attend to the pattern of gaze
2.3 Share pleasure: Facilitate experiences of mutual joy
2.4 Mirror emotions: Mirror your child's affect by matching facial expression, tone of voice, and tempo
2.5 Emphasize affect: Exaggerate your expression of affect (feeling)
2.6 Interact: Turn every action into an interaction
2.7 Advance the agenda: Promote the child's or teen's agenda
2.8 Be necessary: Be the means to an end—be necessary
2.9 Use anticipation: Use anticipation to increase the capacity for mutual attention
Capacity 3. Reciprocal Social Interaction: Initiating and Responding Playfully
3.1 Invite circles: Entice to initiate and respond
3.2 Total communication: Do not rely on words alone—use the total communication system
3.3 Wait enough: Wait long enough for responses in order to allow for slower auditory, cognitive, or motor processing speeds
3.4 Sportscaster/narrator: Be the sportscaster/narrator
3.5 Playfully persist: Challenge the child or teen to close follow-up circles
3.6 Easy choices: Offer easy choices if needed
3.7 Communication temptation: Play games requiring initiation
3.8 Consider questions: Carefully craft your questions and statements
Capacity 4. Complex Communication: Using Gestures and Words to Solve Problems Together
4.1 Stretch interactions: Stretch out interaction chains to 50 or more circles in a row
4.2 Don't judge: Express interest in all attempts to communicate
4.3 Feign ignorance: Expand reciprocal communication by pretending to be ignorant
4.4 Assign meaning: Treat all play actions as if they are goal-directed
4.5 Playfully obstruct: Use playful obstruction to expand interactions and encourage joint problem solving
4.6 Devise problems: Set up the environment to promote independent problem solving
4.7 Genuine self: Allow more of your genuine self in interactions
4.8 Social flow: Enhance understanding of emotional meaning and flow of social interactions
Capacity 5. Symbolic Play: Creating and Using Ideas
5.1 Use pretend: Create opportunities for pretending
5.2 Animate: Bring the characters to life
5.3 Plot thickening: Deepen the plot and add complexity
5.4 Instigate creativity: Expand the opportunities for creativity
5.5 Vary emotions: Broaden the emotional themes
5.6 Challenge and support: Take on dual roles within the play
5.7 Enrich play: Vary the forms of symbolic play
Capacity 6. Emotional and Logical Thinking: Making Sense of Oneself, Others, and the World
6A: Emotional thinking

6.1 Narrate: Empathically narrate feeling states
6.2 Highlight emotions: Emphasize the emotional aspects of life
6.3 Reflect: Reflect on all feelings
6.4 Encourage empathy: Help put on another's shoes
6.5 Play therapeutically: Use play to help master overwhelming feelings

6B: Logical thinking

6.6 Build bridges: Help build bridges between ideas
6.7 Elaborate: Ask elaboration questions to encourage logical connections
6.8 Incite thinking: Help your child or teen become an independent thinker
6.9 Make connections: Help the child or teen connect three or more ideas in a logical sequence
6.10 Event planner: Sequence, plan, and communicate about the past and future
6.11 Organize and summarize: Bring the child or teen back to the main idea
6.12 Debate: Use debate to challenge the child or teen to connect ideas and develop logic
Capacities 7-9. Complex Thinking: Multicausal, Gray-Area, and Reflective Thinking
7. Promote multicausal thinking
8. Develop gray-area thinking
9. Encourage reflective thinking
X.1 More Floortime: Increase Floortime play proportional to increased expectations and challenges
X.2 Find behavioral clues: View behavior as a meaningful clue
X.3 Choose behaviors: Choose and target the most important behaviors
X.4 Take manageable steps: Teach new behaviors in manageable steps
X.5 Make modifications: Modify the schedule and the environment to reduce the likelihood of problem behaviors
X.6 Notice and mention: Notice and mention all the small steps in the right direction
X.7 Preview: Rehearse and preview expected behaviors and new situations
X.8 Post rules: Agree on, post, and enforce written household rules
X.9 Provide visuals: Provide visual reminders and visual schedules
X.10 Provide support: Provide empathic responses to expressions of negative emotion
X.11 Grant wishes: Grant a wish imaginatively


Average Rating:
(based on 1 review)

Showing 1 Review:

by N. Naiden
on 11/23/2014
from Montana
The best book on Floortime
Of the many books I have on Floortime this is the one I turn to over and over. It's beautifully laid out, large pages with user friendly text and structure, and the authors have boiled Floortime down to an essence that can be easily understood. I use this book for parents to look at - others are far too wordy and complex. It outlines tasks for the caregiver to use that parallel Greenspan's stages - this makes it incredibly powerful. If you buy only one book on Floortime, I suggest this is the book. You'll use it again and again. Kudos to the authors - they did an incredible job with this. Well worth the purchase.
Review and Rate this Item


Joshua Feder, Director of Research, Graduate School, Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders - June 18, 2014
“Offers clear and practical techniques for building rich and vital connections with family members, caregivers, teachers, and other helping professionals. When we construct these foundational capacities, we have the basis for better thinking, communicating, and learning.”
Noel Janis-Norton, Director, Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting Centre, London, UK - June 18, 2014
“An invaluable resource . . . This caring and compassionate approach will help children become their best selves and will be a lifeline for the adults who work and live with them.”
LouAnne Boyd, therapist and consultant, ABAcus: Behavioral Tools for Social Engagement - June 4, 2014
“Decades of clinical expertise come together in this playfully well-planned manual for parents and staff. Teaching the crucial skills of relationships has never been so easy to understand. Growth for all is guaranteed.”
Dr. Deb Leach, Associate Professor of Special Education, Winthrop University - May 27, 2014
“Provides strategies for teaching joint attention, social reciprocity, and emotional regulation skills that are generally difficult for parents and educators to address yet vital to the social development of individuals with ASD.”