Floortime is one component of the Developmental Individual-Difference Relationship-Based (DIR®) approach developed by Stanley Greenspan, M.D. and Serena Wieder, Ph.D. It emphasizes emotional development, relationships and interactions, and individual differences in sensory, processing and motor skills. In Floortime therapy, the adults engage the children “at their own level,” by getting down on the floor to join them in their play. In 1997 Greenspan and Wieder offered a model of typical emotional maturation through mastery of six successive Functional Developmental Levels (FDLs):

  • Stage 1 includes the ability to self-regulate, and a capacity for mutual or shared attention
  • Stage 2, emerging at 2 to 5 months of age, is the ability to engage and relate with others
  • Stage 3 is two-way communication, and the ability to interpret emotions in that context
  • Stage 4, at age 9 to 18 months is a growing capacity for mood regulation and sense of self
  • Stage 5, after 1 year is a growing use of words and symbols to make and share ideas
  • Stage 6, after the second birthday, is emotional thinking, logic, and a sense of reality

Rather than focusing on isolated behaviors or skills, the Floortime approach creates interactive opportunities for social and emotional engagement. The goal is to help the child to construct a sense of her/himself as an intentional interactive individual, and on that platform, to develop cognitive, language, and social skills.

See: https://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/treatment/floortime and http://www.icdl.com/DIR