Success with Floortime

Some of you will undoubtedly have heard of Floortime Therapy as a treatment for autism. For those who have not, it is a child-centered approach that utilizes interactive play to develop social and emotional skills. I only mention it because it has helped our son Conner tremendously. It appealed to us initially because it was something we could learn to implement ourselves as parents. We are not wealthy people so 40 hours of ABA per week was out of the question. When our son was 4, my wife and I (especially her) worked alongside the trainers and witnessed the techniques they used to first identify our son's interests, and then use them as incentives to draw him into interaction. Reciprocally, we would forcibly ignore behaviors that were undesirable or counterproductive, particularly when we knew the actions were designed to "control" us or instigate certain responses on our part. The whole process has really changed the way we think about children and people in general. While positive responses were praised, they were also engineered to succeed in increasing levels of difficulty or complexity until Conner "graduated" to dealing with social interactions on his own with un-coached people or other kids. He recognizes and comments on behaviors he sees in others now and he is able to do so after the fact! He even processes how he feels about how others feel. Pretty deep for a 7-year-old. While I would never suggest Floortime is a "Cure-all" for ASD's, I do feel it can help caregivers find incentives that will provoke interest social interaction and even learning in general. For us, Floortime has been a piece of the puzzle that includes biomedical treatments, swimming and piano lessons, homeschooling (since we found the public school special education "system" to be wildly inadequate) and simple playdates. If any of you have anything to add to this, or have experiences of your own, we would welcome the dialog. If you think floortime might be beneficial to you or a loved one, I would encourage you to check it out. My wife has since become a floortime therapist and works with local children to develop their social and thinking skills.