Introduction to the DIR-FCD Model for Parents and Professionals

The Introduction to the DIR-FCD™ model course is a self-directed, on-line, webcast series. The program is designed to provide an overview of the DIR-FCD model including Floortime principles and strategies for parents and family members, clinicians, educators and administrators, public service providers and the general public.

This webcast series is more general in focus than the Parent Education Program and Profectum Parent Toolbox.  It contains a series of 15 webcasts on a well-rounded range of DIR-FCD topics, including the basics of how to use the model. This series has a lifespan perspective, and although introductory has a lot of depth!

Topics Include

  • Introduction to the DIR-FCD™ model
  • Principles of the DIRFloortime® model
  • The Foundational Capacities for Development
  • Understanding Individual Differences in sensory processing, motor development, visual-spatial thinking and communication
  • Connecting the principles of the DIRFloortime® model and Individual Differences to develop strategies for treatment
  • Mental health considerations
  • Working with the older child and young adult
  • Creating a meaningful life for individuals with autism
  • Developmental perspective on behaviors
  • Demonstrate a deeper understanding of the course of development, individual differences and developmental challenges, and exhibit observation, assessment, interaction and comprehensive intervention skills

Some of the webcasts in this program have been taken from Profectum’s certificate courses and provide a glimpse into the level of training that is provided from these courses. Important topics, including general principles/strategies and the Functional Emotional Developmental Levels, are reviewed throughout many of the webcasts to facilitate an introductory understanding of the model. While the course is designed to provide knowledge of the DIR-FCD™ model, the participant will also receive practical strategies that can be applied in their work with children (or a parent with his or her child).  This program is recommended as a prerequisite to Profectum’s certificate courses, but is not required.

Overview of the DIR-FCD™ Model

Introduction to the DIR-FCD™ Model

Serena Wieder, PhD

This webcast was recorded for our Parent Educational Program and provides a wonderful introduction to Profectum and the history of the DIR-FCD™ model including: Overview of autism and recent research; Discussion of affect and it’s connection to social and cognitive development; Importance of Relationship and Individual Differences considerations and how these work together; FEDLs 1-6; Discussion of DIRFloortime® activities, semi-structured activities, components of DIR® programs and considerations of combining methods.

Principles of DIRFloortime®

Basic Principles of the DIR® Model

Serena Wieder, PhD

The DIR® model intervention begins with comprehensive assessment of each person’s developmental and interactive capacities and individual differences with the goal of reestablishing the developmental sequence that has been derailed. The primary goal is to establish a relationship that creates interactive, affective opportunities to negotiate the partially mastered or yet to be mastered functional emotional developmental process across all intervention modalities. Rather than focus only on isolated behaviors or skills, the DIR® model focuses on the essential developmental processes and differences that underlie particular symptoms, behaviors or learning challenges. This lecture will discuss the basic principles of intervention from following a child’s initiative and intent, meeting each child at his developmental level, to broadening the range of interactive experiences and emotions, to tailoring interactions to the child’s individual differences while mobilizing all levels simultaneously and more. These basic principles and more will provide the guidelines for best practice, monitoring progress and knowing when change is needed as the child grows or progress hits barriers.

Individual Differences

Sensory Processing and Neuroimaging Assessment: Case Presentations of Treatment that is Informed and Supported by the Research – Part 1

Rosemary White, OTR/L

Three cases will be presented including video clips that demonstrate how clinical reasoning is supported by the research and how the research informs and deepens clinical practice.  An interdisciplinary panel will share the reflections on this rich process of research and clinical applications.

Individual Differences

Rosemary White, OTR/L

Rosemary White provides intensive insight into understanding the unique sensory-motor-visual-spatial profiles of children. Many videos demonstrate how the understanding of individual differences informs us of how best to foster development, interact, and deepen relationships with children. Rosemary breaks down the principles of the DIR model for each video example.

Understanding the Child’s Individual Profile – Language Development

Sima Gerber, PhD, CCC-SLP

The DIR-FCD™ model provides a foundation for the developmental speech-language pathologist to uncover the essentials for communication. Using the Functional Emotional Developmental Capacities (FCD™) as a guide, this seminar will focus on the developmental process and the interface with communication development. Particular emphasis will be placed on identifying the importance of affect cueing, gestural communication and intentionality as important precursors to the comprehension and production of language. Video examples will provide insight into specific communication periods.

Comprehension Across the Spectrum

Sima Gerber, PhD, CCC-SLP

This webcast will address the somewhat “hidden” but pervasive problem of comprehension challenges in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. It will address the relationship between comprehension and production of language in both typical and atypical language acquisition. The origins of language comprehension from the early development of gestures and words in context to the decontextualized comprehension of the structures and meanings of language to the understanding of written text will be explored by telling the story of one child’s language development over a 7-year period of language intervention. The correspondence between the child’s DIR® Functional Emotional Developmental Levels and developmental language stages over the course of treatment will be reviewed and the goals and strategies of DIR®-informed language intervention at three points in the child’s treatment will be illustrated. Finally, the child’s use of unconventional forms of language, namely echolalia and scripting, seen as his “solution” to dealing with both comprehension and formulation difficulties and the shifting functions of these forms, will be a theme throughout the story.

Bringing Floortime Principles and Individual Differences Together

Introduction to DIRFloortime®

Sherri Cawn, MA, CCC-SLP; Monica G. Osgood; Rosemary White, OTR/L

DIRFloortime® is the philosophy that characterizes all of the interactions with a child as well as the particular goals of the interaction when using the DIR-FCD™ Model. This webcast will provide principles and strategies of DIRFloortime®. Videos of children at various developmental stages with different individual profiles are presented followed by discussions by an interdisciplinary team about how to use the presented strategies to foster interactions within treatment sessions to address goals and objectives related to enhancing individual differences.

Mental Health Considerations and Introduction to Working with Older Children / Young Adults

Floortime All Day Long and All Life Long

Ruby Salazar, LCSW, BCD

This webcast offers parents an opportunity to learn the basics of Floortime as a family-life philosophy and enhance techniques which help individuals integrate his or her thinking, feelings, and communication within their bodies and between one another. It is recommended that parents watch this webcast together so that they can talk along the way about how to personalize ideas for their child (children) and family. We hope that Floortime will become a standard in your family and enhance fun, sharing and learning.

DIR-FCD™ Model Assessment and Intervention for Older Children and Young Adults

Diane Selinger, PhD; Michele Parkins, MS, OTR; Karen McDowell

This workshop introduces participants to the basics of doing DIR-FCD™ model interventions with older children, young adults and their families. Video examples will illustrate Floortime with individuals in both one-on-one and group settings. The integration of DIR-FCD™ model principles into semi-structured classroom lessons and how the model prepares adolescents for transition to adulthood will also be demonstrated.  Additionally, the workshop will support an understanding of emotional and social challenges experienced by this population and developmental goals to strengthen and address them in all communities. Sample IEP goals will be provided to reflect interventions covered. Importantly, there is an emphasis on the integration of foundational levels of development while simultaneously respecting the individual’s profile, age, unique challenges, and continuing; growth towards higher levels of thinking and interacting.

DIR® Through the Lifespan: Creating Meaning & Understanding Behavior

Creating a Meaningful Life for every Child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder

Ricki Robinson, MD, MPH

Every parent has hopes and dreams for their child. When a diagnosis of autism is received, parents often find these hopes and dreams shattered – yet individuals with ASD can live meaningful lives! In this presentation, Dr. Ricki Robinson will help parents and professionals use DIR-FCD™ model principles to understand and identify steps required to support a child with ASD develop the foundational capacities and skills he needs as he matures to help him realize his hopes and dreams. Inspiring cases will describe how to implement changes that will foster independence for individuals with ASD from childhood through adolescence to adulthood and how to match an educational program to meet the interests of a child with ASD to support movement up the developmental ladder.

Creating a Meaningful Life: The Adult Panel

Young Adults with Autism Panel Moderated by Joshua Sparrow, MD

Understanding Behavior: A Developmental Perspective

Monica G. Osgood; Lauren Blazak

The focus of this webcast is on the co-morbid issues that many children with developmental challenges face such as anxiety, depression, communication deficits, medical complications, trauma and more. For many of these children, the lack of insight into (and tolerance for) individual differences and make-up often mask what the child is communicating through his or her actions As a result, communication is often misinterpreted as “behavior.” Testimonies from young adults with ASD allow participants to hear perspectives from inside the world of autism.

A Seat at the Table: Evidence for Intensive Developmental Interventions (IDI)

Richard Solomon, MD

In this talk Richard Solomon, MD will present the results of the NIMH study: “Randomized, controlled trial of The P.L.A.Y. (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) Project Intervention for Autism”. This study evaluates outcomes, after one year of intervention, by comparing 60 control children receiving community standard services (CSS), of 12-14 hours of special education pre-school, to 60 PLAY Project intervention children receiving CSS plus the PLAY Project, a once a month, home-based, parent training program using trained masters level PLAY Project Home Consultants. Dr. Solomon will review the related scientific literature, describe the PLAY Project’s intensive developmental intervention model and present the key outcomes including the interactional skills of parents and children, language, and autism severity.