Why is the site called Affect Autism?

Doesn’t this imply there’s something about autistics you’re trying to change? A resounding “No!”

It’s quite the opposite. ‘Affect’ is the basis of DIR/Floortime and a play on words. Each blog post and podcast ends with “Here’s to affecting autism through playful interactions”.

The noun ‘affect’ is defined as “a set of observable manifestations of an experienced emotion: the facial expressions, gestures, postures, vocal intonations, etc., that typically accompany an emotion“. (Source: Merriam-Webster)

We use affect in Floortime, but it’s the verb that can be misunderstood. The verb ‘affect’ is defined as to “have an effect on; make a difference to” or to “touch the feelings of (someone); move emotionally” and is similar to the verb ‘influence’. (Source: Merriam-Webster)

Dr. Stanley Greenspan, who created DIR/Floortime, believed affect is key to helping all children integrate their senses and that children will get stronger in their regulation capacities if we don’t overload them.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The play on words is that we affect (verb) autism by using affect (the noun). But it’s referring to how the parents, practitioners, educators and caregivers can use affect as a tool to respectfully join the child, engage the child, and play with the child in a way that is child-led.

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash


  • Affect can help your child determine if they feel safe with you or not.
  • Affect that is not authentic does not feel safe.
  • Affect that is demanding does not feel safe.
  • Affect helps you co-regulate with your child.
  • Affect can foster engagement.
  • As (neurotypical or unknowing neurodivergent) caregivers, our use of affect is essential in connecting with our child.

‘Affect’ is everything in Floortime because Floortime is about connecting emotionally with someone, and you can only do that if you are present in the moment, attuned to the person you’re with, and respect where they are developmentally, their individual differences including their sensory processing profile and your own, and the relationship that the two of you have.

It is about us making a safe, playful, and loving environment for the other within which we can support them and their developmental process.


D: Development
We all develop differently and at our own pace.

I: Individual differences
We all have individual differences including how our sensory systems experience the world.

R: Relationship-based
We all flourish in safe, loving relationships.

Floortime is following the individual’s interests and emotional world into playful interactions that are child-led  because we all need to feel safe to play to grow and learn.

If you have more wonderings about this or want to learn more, please Contact Us to connect.

Become a member of Affect Autism with bonuses for as little as $5 US/month

Sign up for our updates

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP You can be assured that we will not share your information.