Parents new to Floortime sometimes want reference books to learn from. This week I present to you five books that are going to give anyone a solid understanding and appreciation for the Developmental, Individual differences, Relationship-based (DIR®) model and what Floortime is all about.
1. Engaging Autism
Although prominent child psychiatrist Dr. Stanley Greenspan had introduced his DIR model and Floortime in the 1970s, Engaging Autism: Using the Floortime Approach to Help Children Relate, Communicate, and Think (2009), co-authored with clinical psychologist Dr. Serena Wieder, is the seminal book that advanced the model and practice. It lays out the theory, the rationale, the model, the evidence for the approach from neuroscience, the practice and its applications. It’s Affect Autism‘s #1 recommended read!
2. Respecting Autism
Respecting Autism: The Rebecca School DIR Casebook for Parents and Professionals (2011) by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and psychologist Dr. Gil Tippy is a wonderful example of the model and practice described in Engaging Autism put into practice in a school setting. The sixteen case studies presented highlight how students at the Rebecca School in New York City “receive a developmentally appropriate, thoughtful, and integrated education“.
You can read each child’s family and educational background, individual profile, school experiences at the Rebecca School, and Dr. Greenspan’s commentary and how to respectfully apply DIR and Floortime for each child.
3. Floortime Strategies for Promoting Development in Children and Teens: A User’s Guide to the DIR Model
Floortime Strategies for Promoting Development in Children and Teens: A User’s Guide to the DIR Model (2014) by clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Davis and her colleagues Lahela Isaacson and Michelle Harwell is the book every practitioner and caregiver doing Floortime wants to have.
It systematically organizes strategies used in Floortime within each developmental stage, helping caregivers take into account individual differences and unique sensory processing profiles of their children with developmental challenges while applying these strategies. It is a helpful manual for caregivers and professionals in the learning process of practicing Floortime, breaking down a large amount of information into digestible parts.
4. Behavioral Challenges in Children with Autism and Other Special Needs
Behavioral Challenges in Children with Autism and Other Special Needs (2016) by developmental pediatrician Dr. Diane Cullinane brings us the developmental approach to working with and helping children with developmental challenges. It offers a viable alternative to the prevalent behavioural models that are widely practiced, providing the answers for clinicians, caretakers, and educators on how to understand and address behaviour while supporting the child using a DIR/Floortime framework going forward.
5. The Learning Tree: Overcoming Learning Disabilities from the Ground Up
The Learning Tree: Overcoming Learning Disabilities from the Ground Up (2010), co-authored with his wife Nancy Thorndike Greenspan, was Dr. Stanley Greenspan’s final book before his passing and culminated his life’s work. It takes a step back from DIR and Floortime to look at the bigger picture of what it takes for a child to enjoy learning and to flourish. It is Greenspan at his best. Watch his son, Jake Greenspan, present the model in THIS VIDEO.
More Than Words: Helping Parents Promote Communication and Social Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (1999, updated 2012) by Fern Sussman is not a DIR/Floortime book. However, its approach and information presented are developmental in nature and have a lot in common with the DIR/Floortime approach. Especially helpful are the suggestions for interacting with your child and the easy-to-read, illustrated book. You can read a review of it HERE. See The Hanen Centre.
Social and Emotional Development in Early Intervention (2017) by pediatric clinical psychologist Dr. Mona Delahooke addresses how to improve the social and emotional lives of children and families through a developmental approach. Based on and influenced by the DIR framework, it is a wonderful book to introduce professionals to and instill the value and practical nature of relationship-based approaches.
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Until next time… here’s to affecting autism through play!