As a clinician or therapist doing the family assessment, you will be able to sense if there will be a deeper resistance from the parents, states Dr. Greenspan. “They will speak about what they do and don’t do, and the ways they are comfortable or uncomfortable interacting.”
Listen to Dr. Greenspan
Dr. Stanley Greenspan left a legacy of knowledge in early child development, autism and developmental delays.
School does not mean education. What should an ideal educational program have?
Discussion: Oftentimes parents will identify particular problems (temper tantrums, perseveration or self-absorption) that they want to remedy, typically because it is embarrassing
“These are questions that can be answered during the assessment process,” says Dr. Greenspan. “In the assessment, have parents play with their children. That way, you’re demonstrating with the parents, through coaching, what can happen as they engage or gesture more. The parent is your colleague in this process – they are witnessing whether this works for the child.”
It can often seem difficult to quantify Floortime progress, but it doesn’t have to be. The question we seem to be asking ourselves is: “how do we use the DIR model in terms of getting funding when the funding agency wants you to earmark ‘short term goals’?” notes Dr. Greenspan.
“Help your child use their ideas functionally and introduce make-believe play; try to keep increasing the interaction,” emphasizes Dr. Greenspan.
Discussion: “You always want to be following the child’s lead during Floortime and throughout the day,” says Dr. Greenspan.
With Floortime, it’s very important for limit setting to take place under the umbrella of calm, back and forth interaction. “The child with autism should learn in a negotiated way,” reminds Dr. Greenspan. The ideal way to set limits using Floortime is in a situation where you have time and you can interact with the child around the limit. You can give the child an alternative, or negotiate, and it’s done calmly together.
If my child has autism should I push them to play with me? Should I leave them alone? What about self-stimming?
There are different types of ways to create “downtime” if your child has autism, notes Dr. Greenspan. “If you have a child with autism that is capable of reading a book, that’s terrific; give them regular down time. If the child is capable of doing a crossword, that’s great; give them regular downtime and then balance it through the day.