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DIR® Autism Program
  • Our Therapy Approach to Treating Children on the Autism Spectrum:

    Our special education, SLP and OT sessions are based on the child's current level of development and individual needs. Before EVERY treatment session the child's social, emotional, academic, language and physical needs are briefly assessed by the clinician or teacher. Based on the individual needs of the child for that session, as well as goals and objectives identified in the child's IEP or IFSP, treatment is implemented for that day. Parents are encouraged to actively participate and suggestions for carryover outside of the session are modeled and provided.   It is our goal at LEAP for Kids OT & SLP to not only assist the child to achieve his/her goals but to also offer the family techniques they can use to foster the child's academic, social and physical development.

  • Developmental Individual Relationship Based DIR ® / Floortime

The Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based (DIR®/Floortime™) Model is a framework that helps clinicians, parents and educators conduct a comprehensive assessment and develop an intervention program tailored to the unique challenges and strengths of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental challenges. The objectives of the DIR®/Floortime™ Model are to build healthy foundations for social, emotional, and intellectual capacities rather than focusing on skills and isolated behaviors.

  • The DIR® model is based on the idea that due to individual processing differences children with ASD do not master the early developmental milestones that are the foundations of learning. DIR outlines six core developmental stages that children with ASD have often missed or not mastered:
    • Stage One: Regulation and Interest in the World: Being calm and feeling well enough to attend to a caregiver and surroundings. Have shared attention.
    • Stage Two: Engagement and Relating: Interest in another person and in the world, developing a special bond with preferred caregivers. Distinguishing inanimate objects from people.
    • Stage Three: Two way intentional communication: Simple back and forth interactions between child and caregiver. Smiles, tickles, anticipatory play.
    • Stage Four: Social Problem solving: Using gestures, interaction, babble to indicate needs, wants, pleasure, upset. Get a caregiver to help with a problem. Using pre-language skills to show intention.
    • Stage Five: Symbolic Play: Using words, pictures, symbols to communicate an intention, idea. Communicate ideas and thoughts, not just wants and needs.
    • Stage Six: Bridging Ideas: This stage is the foundation of logic, reasoning, emotional thinking and a sense of reality.
  • Most typically developing children have mastered these stages by age 5 years. However, children with ASD struggle with or have missed some of these vital developmental stages. When these foundational abilities are strengthened through the child's lead and through meaningful play with a caregiver, children begin to climb up the developmental ladder. An introduction to DIR®/Floortime can be found in the book - Engaging Autism: Using the Floortime Approach to Help Children Relate, Communicate, and Think, by Stanley Greenspan, M.D. and Serena Wieder, PhD.