Child, Family,& Organization Solutions
Based on the philosophy of the DIR/Floortime, all services are tailored to the needs of the individual student, family, school, or organization respectively. Currently, services available include options for: individuals with autism spectrum and related disorders; families; teachers, schools, and school districts; as well as training opportunites for professional organizations.
To learn more about specific services offered, please click on the related icons of interest below.
Individual Student Services
Utilizing the DIR/Floortime approach, the primary goal of these services is to improve the child’s regulation while developing their independent thinking and problem solving skills giving them the tools to be successful, independent individuals in the classroom, in their home, and community.
1. Developmental Individual Relationship-based (DIR) intervention/Floortime
Individual therapies combining developmental, language, and behavior.
The primary goal of this therapy is to improve the child’s regulation while developing their independent thinking and problem solving skills giving them the tools to be successful, independent individuals in the classroom, in their home, and community. Here the therapist works off the child’s natural interests, emotions and affect to create highly motivating, experience-based learning opportunities. The DIR/Floortime model offers a developmental approach to intervention for children with special needs. Intervention is naturalistic, play-based, child-led and adult-facilitated. Sessions often begin with a therapist supporting child, and parents if desired/applicable, in engaging in pleasurable, developmentally appropriate, interactions building and strengthening the core relationship that supports developmental progress.
The child’s developmental levels are assessed and strengths and weakness are addressed through intensive relationship-based interventions. These strengths and weaknesses, and related behaviors, are closely monitored and goals and strategies will be created after the therapist and child have built a strong foundational relationship are then shared with members of the child’s team including the parents. Individual goals will be monitored and updated on a weekly, monthly or as needed basis depending on the intensity of the intervention services. The goal of this intervention is to address the child’s individual developmental needs to maximize their independence and success in the classroom, their home and community.
Speech and Language
Speech and language is a part of every component in a DIR based intervention. Therapists consistently challenge the child to expand on their use of language and work with staff and parents to ensure maximum growth in this area. Visuals are often used to teach and support children with auditory processing difficulties. Specific language goals will be created with a heavy emphasis on the child’s current developmental language abilities and then used to guide therapy.
Behavior Modification Techniques
Behavior modification and self-monitoring techniques can be identified and implemented when needed to change specific behaviors. If a child’s behavior is disruptive, socially inappropriate or dangerous, staff take data to determine the function of the behavior. Once the function is identified a behavior plan is written for the child. This plan consists of an intervention strategy, sensory support if warranted and skills training to teach replacement behaviors. Social skills training and DIR are a part of every behavior plan to strengthen the developmental weaknesses responsible for the inappropriate behavior.
2. ACADEMIC SUPPORT
3. IN-CLASS SUPPORT
Academic support can be provided in areas the child may be having difficulty. Therapist can work either directly with the child, school staff, and/or parents to maximize the child’s academic success. This support breaks down concepts and presents them in a way the child can relate to them, in a way that is meaningful for a child, and in a way that utilizes his/her individual learning style. Visuals, sensory materials and activities, music, and movement are often part of these modifications. The child is encouraged to be creative, problem solve and think abstractly in order to increase academic independence.
This service includes working with classroom staff to support all areas of the child’s development. The modifications of activities, environmental strategies, sensory and behavioral support, social skills facilitation and independence can be provided through staff training, team meetings and in-class support. The goal of this support is to empower staff with the tools to maximize the child’s independence and success in the classroom.
4. STAFF CONSULTATION/ TRAINING
This service includes assessment and troubleshooting, goal setting, staff training, program set up, implementation and monitoring. The frequency and duration of these services can be identified between the therapist and parent, school, or school district based on individual student needs. The goal of this service is to empower other professionals with the tools to meet the child’s individual developmental, social and behavioral needs to maximize independence and success.
5. SUPPORTED TYPING/ ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY SUPPORTS
Many individuals with autism have related motor planning challenges, often making access to assistive technology in itself a difficult process. It is often that the child does know a correct answer to select on an ipad, for example, but due to motor planning challenges, it can be difficult to select the option/selection desired. Supported typing can be a great way to help students access technology/ communication devices in a way that may begin with technology based games and high interest applications; eventually working up to support the child to actively communicate wants/needs.
6. YOUNG ADULT AND TRANSITION RELATED SERVICES
7. READING THROUGH MUSIC
The transition into becoming a young adult is not always simple, especially for individuals with autism. Often, supports are needed to help make this transition a smooth and positive experience for both the young adult, as well as his/her family. According to the state of Florida, transition services are a coordinated set of services that help students prepare for post-school activities that may include: college programs, continuing adult education, career and technical (vocational) training, employment, adult services, independent living, and/or community participation.
Therefore, transition services should be designed within a result-oriented process, and based on the individual student’s needs, taking into account the student’s strengths, preferences, and interests. Such transition services may include supports in the areas of: instruction, community experiences, employment training, post-school adult living, daily living skills, or entrepreneurial endeavors. The goal of this service is to provide your young adult with the services and supports needed to make a successful move into adult life.
Many children with autism are drawn to music. There is significant research to support the benefits of music therapy as it relates to socialization, emotional regulation and behavior, as well as communication. What many may not know however is that music is also a wonderful way to target and develop reading skills. Using motivating rhythmic songs and/or predictable books along with hands on manipulatives, music provides a non- threatening environment to target core-reading abilities.
Depending on an individual child’s needs, this service may include identifying individual words within motivating songs, putting lyrics together to create sentences, using a rhythm to target reading fluency, sequencing, responding to comprehension questions, etc. The sky is the limit! For many students who struggle with reading, yet flourish with music, this service may provide a solution.
* Note: This service was collaboratively created by and will be delivered with one of south Florida’s leading Music Therapists, Sarah Galvan.
Parent & Family Related Services
Parents are an integral part of any intervention for their child(ren), however this is especially true when using a relationship based approach. Frequently children with special needs are challenged by neurobiological factors, which make it difficult to participate and enjoy early emotional interactions with their parents. These shared interactions between parent and child that are meaningful, positive and pleasurable create the foundation necessary for all development. Because relationships with the child are so important, parents and families are central to this model, and the involvement of families in the intervention is often a key component of this approach. Learning how to optimize interactions with your child at home can greatly support development and language acquisition in a way that is fun for the entire family!
Juggling and managing your child’s individual therapies can often feel like a full time job in itself. Therefore, this service includes scheduled time to review assessments, develop and monitor programs, plan therapies, address scheduling issues, prepare training materials, create modification and support materials and create staff support manuals and guidelines. The goal of this service is to ensure quality control and maintain programs on a timely basis.
This service includes the therapist supporting parents in their natural and pivotal partnership with their child, promoting their development across areas. Sometimes this simply starts with helping the parent and child get back to a place where they can enjoy each other again rather than solely focusing on the challenges. Over time, the therapist supports both the parent and child in engaging in pleasurable, developmentally appropriate, interactions building and strengthening the core relationship between the caregiver and child that supports developmental progress.
4. Homeschool Progam Development/ Management
2. Home Consultation Services
3. Program Management
1. Parent Training/ Coaching
This area would be highly individualized based on individual family/ child needs. The therapist may accompany family on outings, or simply go through the child’s daily routines and collaboratively develop ways to maximize opportunities that will support and promote: child development, language, self-help skills, appropriate behavior, and encourage independence. The goal of this support is to empower families to support child development and growth through every day interactions and routines.
Depending on where you are in your homeschool program, it is possible that some supports would be beneficial. Services can range from setting up and establishing a homeschool program and routines individualized for the needs of your child, to creating visuals, goals, making academic support recommendations, etc. The goal of this service is to support and empower parents or individual therapists to create a meaningful and individualized homeschool program that supports strengths, individual differences, and promotes development.
5. Sibling Coaching
Siblings of a child with autism can often be the best Floortime play partners! Often, siblings want to interact with their brother/sister with autism, but just don’t know how. Coaching siblings to interact and play with one another in a way that is positive and fun for them both can be great way to strengthen the sibling bond and development for both children.
Teacher, School, and School District Related Services
Research shows that the quality of teachers and schools is highly related to student progress. The goal of this service is to empower other professionals with the tools to meet students' developmental, social, and behavioral needs in order to maximize independnece and success across settings. Services available include program consultation, school related staff training, and parent trainings.
1. Program Consultation/ Staff Support
2. School Related Staff Training
All educators and school administrators are well aware that for optimal learning outcomes, learning must continue at the home as well. Training parents, families, and family friends to work effectively with their child with autism spectrum disorders is a great way to help the learning process carry over from school to the home setting.
These sorts of parent trainings are (understandably) often difficult for schools to provide, considering the large emphasis on ensuring students are receiving the services and education needed throughout the school day. Often parents would like support and more information regarding how they can best support their child at home, and carry over the work that is done within the school setting, but don’t know where to start.
The goal of this training is to educate parents who would like to learn more about autism spectrum disorders, specific strategies that can be used to support their child(ren) at home; and to also empower families to carry over what is done at school into the home setting as well.
This service includes assessment and troubleshooting, goal setting, staff training, program set up, implementation and monitoring. The frequency and duration of these services can be identified between the therapist and the teacher, school, or school district based on individual needs. The goal of this service is to empower other professionals with the tools to meet student’s developmental, social, and behavioral needs to maximize independence and success.
This service includes an autism related training program based on the educational needs of a school or school district. Just as a single learning approach cannot meet the needs of every child, training topics and programs must be individualized to meet the needs of school staff. This means taking into consideration different interests, topic relevance, and levels of current expertise. Therefore, this service includes a pre-training consultation to determine a school’s individual needs, target audience, desired outcomes, and objectives from the training.
Training sessions can vary from a single informative/ hands-on presentation, to an ongoing workshop based on the needs of the organization.
The goal of this service is to empower other professionals with the tools to gain a deeper understanding of autism spectrum disorders, and to meet students’ developmental, social and behavioral needs to maximize independence and success within a school setting.
3. Parent Trainings