What is Floortime and How is it Used in A Therapeutic Preschool Program?

What is floortime?
DIR is an evidence-based intervention model developed by Stanley Greenspan and other experts in the field in the 1980s. DIR stands for Developmental Individual-difference Relationship-based model. The DIR model is a comprehensive model that is individualized for each child, and Floortime is a component of this method. The DIR method uses relationships as the base of the model for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory processing disorder, or other developmental delays, in order to create social and emotional growth. This model promotes development in shared attention, language, creativity, communication, cognition, interaction, and problem solving. It creates a back-and-forth play interaction between the child and adult. The adult creates this interaction by getting on the child’s level and playing on the floor. Hence the term “Floortime.”

Why do we use floortime?
The Floortime model is used to support and optimize development through meaningful relationships by following the child’s lead on the activity and imitating their actions. For example, if Johnny grabs a toy car and starts to drive it on the ground, the adult will start to drive their car next to the child’s car. Following the child’s lead allows for opportunity to add language and expand creativity to the play activity. It is important to follow the child’s lead and not treat the play as a structured lesson. This helps to keep the child engaged in activities with the adult.

Who can use floortime?
Floortime is used by many professionals. ABA therapists, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and special education teachers can implement this method in their interventions. These professionals complete an interactive training to learn about the approach, but professionals are not the only ones who can use this method. Parents can use Floortime, too! Parent workshops are offered from the Greenspan Floortime Organization, which helps parents learn the techniques. You can learn more about the Greenspan Floortime approach here: www.stanleygreenspan.com

How do we implement floortime at CST Academy?
During CST Academy, we incorporate Floortime-based techniques into free play. Free play is offered intermittently after activities; as well as at the beginning and end of class. With a 3:1 student-to-teacher ratio, we are able to meet the unique developmental needs of each of our students. During free play, the instructors allow children to take initiative and introduce new language, which can lead to developmental gains for children.