LC Journal of Special Education


DIR Floortime Therapy is a social pragmatic approach used to help children with autism develop stronger verbal and social skills. Dr. Stanley Greenspan determined there were six milestones all children must master in order to develop appropriate language and social skills. DIR Floortime Therapy engages with the child through play in order to create a naturalistic environment that helps children achieve these milestones. While the approach is not evidence based, several studies have been conducted using DIR Floortime Therapy to strengthen language and social skills in young children with autism. The majority of these studies found a greater increase in the participants’ language and social skills. The study that did not find an increase in language, did see greater joint attention and enjoyment in social interactions. These two factors are predictors of language which possibly points to the assumption that with a longer period of DIR Floortime Therapy, these children would eventually improve their language skills. Moreover, while DIR Floortime is not evidence-based, the Early Start Denver Model, whose foundation is based on DIR Floortime, was deemed evidence-based. This model targets mostly toddlers in hopes that intensive early intervention of this therapy could significantly decrease autism symptoms, enabling these children to progress socially and verbally at a similar rate to their typically developing peers. Perhaps with further research DIR Floortime therapy will be found as an evidence-based practice to increase positive social interactions and language skills in young children diagnosed with autism.