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Dr. Gil Tippy points out that we all want the same things for our children. Our dreams and goals are the same. From his perspective the best way to get them there is with DIR/Floortime.
Quick Review of FEDC 4 and 5
First is self-regulation and shared attention; next, engagement and relating, and third, back-and-forth communication or purposeful emotional interaction. These first three capacities are not difficult to achieve with most developmentally delayed children. The fourth and fifth capacities are where the most challenging work is that DIR/Floortime® addresses so well.
At FEDC 4, we are working on shared problem solving where we facilitate a child using long chains of back-and-forth emotional signalling with us to solve a problem with us. Following their interests, we can use techniques such as playing dumb to challenge the child to work to achieve something (s)he needs our help and is very motivated to do.
At FEDC 5, we work on symbolic understanding and creating emotional ideas where we help children attach needs and emotions to actions and words which is quite challenging for most children on the autism spectrum. We practice expressing emotions, model emotional expressions and help children express their emotions. Dramatizing and slowly adding in imaginary elements into familiar play can start to facilitate this capacity.
Dr. Gil Tippy often talks about instilling the spirit of inquiry into our children by making them wonder. We want them to wonder what it is that is in Mama’s head that she is thinking about, or what the parents are discussing in the front seat of the car. We can say things like “Hmm… I wonder why that man is getting on the bus? I wonder where he is going?”
Hopefully you found this blog post helpful in understanding how to focus on development rather than behaviour when setting limits and understand that all of us can have capacities and potential that are at a higher capacity than where we behave at any one particular moment in time. Next time we will talk about moving up and down the developmental ladder.
Until next time… here’s to affecting autism through play!