About DIR Floortime

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What is DIR Floortime?

Floortime is a relationship-based therapy for children with autism. The intervention is called Floortime because the therapist gets down on the floor with the child. This allows the therapist to play and interact with the child at their level. During these sessions, the therapist to helps the child expand their “circles of communication”. They meet the child at their developmental level and build on their strengths.

Check out this great introductory video to Floortime from Dr Stanley Greenspan:

How it works

Floortime takes place in a calm, familiar environment. The child’s home is often the most ideal for Floortime therapy. During a session, the therapist joins in the child’s activities and follows the child’s interest and ideas. The parent or provider then engages the child in increasingly complex interactions. Sessions emphasize back-and-forth play. This helps build the foundation for shared attention, as well as engagement and problem solving.

Evidence based backed by research

Floortime has gained in popularity, largely due to its success. There have now been many independent studies performed that have had very positive results supporting the effectiveness of floortime therapy. Additional research can be seen here.

The Floortime approach and methodology:

DIR stands for Developmental, Individual Differences and Relationship-Based.


Understanding where your child is developmentally helps you identify what areas need to be targeted.  The Floortime approach has 9 Functional Emotional Developmental levels. The goal is to identify what level your child is functioning at and which levels require support. We aim to “fill in the gaps”. Using this information, we guide them to the next level using Floortime techniques. 

  • Regulation and interest in the world

  • Engaging and relating

  • Purposeful 2-way communication

  • Complex communication and shared problem solving

  • Using symbols and creating emotional ideas

  • Logical thinking and building bridges between ideas

  • Multiple perspectives

  • Gray area thinking

  • Reflective thinking and internal standard of self

  • Sensory Profile:

    auditory, visual, tactile, taste, smell, physical

  • Social emotional:

    interaction, cooperation, self confidence, sense of community

  • Cognitive:

    problem solving, abstract thinking, learning

  • Communication:

    expressive, receptive, pragmatic language

Individual Differences

This refers to identifying a child’s unique profile. For instance: Their sensory differences and the way they take in the world. We also identify their individual strengths and abilities.


This refers to the relationships with therapists and caregivers. Relationships are the vehicle for development and learning. Parents and families are central to this model because of their opportunities to support their child’s everyday functioning. This will develop their child’s ability to carry out emotionally meaningful interactions.