At ITTS for Children our program is based in the DIRFloortime® model of therapeutic intervention. All of the occupational therapists at ITTS for Children are either certified or in the process of being certified in the DIRFloortime® practice. This framework is based on the understanding that each individual and the circumstances surrounding him or her are unique. The goal of the model is to construct healthy foundations for greater social, emotional and intellectual capacities rather than focusing on isolated skills and behaviors.
The DIR® portion of DIRFloortime® stands for a Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-based approach. Clinicians at ITTS for Children use this model as a framework to conduct assessments. The 'D' or Developmental aspect of the model assesses where the child is at developmentally. Click here to read more about the six developmental capacities that serve as the building blocks for the Developmental aspect of the DIR® approach. The 'I' or Individual-differences aspect of the model focuses on how each child has a unique way of taking in, processing and responding to the world. Some children, for example, are hyper responsive to sounds, touch and/or smells. Some children are under-reactive. Processing issues are part of a child's individual differences that may be affecting his or her capacity to grow and learn. The 'R' or Relationship-based aspect of the model takes into account that learning occurs more deeply and thoroughly when it is based inside the context of relationships. Consequently the primary relationships in a child's life will be the most powerful vehicle to enable growth and learning. Parents and families are central to this model because of their ongoing opportunities to support their child’s everyday functioning.
The method/approach of tuning into these individual differences and developmental capacities through relationship-based interactions is called Floortime®. The Floortime® approach is intended to be used not just by the occupational therapist and other professionals, but also by the parents and caregivers. Parents and caregivers are the most important relationships in the child's life and additionally have many more opportunities to interact. The Floortime® philosophy encompasses all interactions with the child and involves a systematic technique of working with the child to help him or her climb the developmental ladder. The approach contains two emphases: 1) following the child's lead and 2) joining the child's world with intent to pull them into a shared world. The adult then uses this shared world to help the child master each of the developmental capacities.