Our philosophy is grounded in the work of Dr. Stanley Greenspan. We use the developmental milestones outlined by Dr. Greenspan in the DIR model and his Floortime Approach of following a child’s lead, challenging, and then expanding through the milestones to support strong emotional connections and interactions. When children are motivated and interested in what they are working on, the emotional connections are long lasting and strong and with this, you see more purposeful, meaningful, and functional communication.
The principles of The Floortime Approach are to follow the lead, challenge, and expand. We follow the lead to join a child in his or her interests by giving them a feeling of control during interactions. We then find the just right challenge, moving up the developmental milestones detailed above. With challenges, we are then able to help the child in expanding into stronger levels of engagement and interactions while promoting thinking and creativity. Through Floortime, we challenge the child to be a ‘thinker’ instead of being taught specifically what to say or do, thus allowing the child to make meaningful connections with the activity and interaction and generalize these skills.
DIR stands for the Developmental, Individual, Relationship-based model. Using the model, we meet a child where they are developmentally and stress the importance of a ground-up approach versus teaching specific skills like other therapies. The model focuses on a child’s individual needs and differences which The Floortime Approach then targets. The DIR model also requires a strong relationship between the child and their partner, which is why we promote family and caregiver involvement in our sessions whenever possible.
Dr. Greenspan created the metaphor of a tree to explain the developmental milestones. The root system includes emotional modulation, sensory modulation, auditory processing, visual spatial processing, and motor planning and sequencing. A child needs to be functioning in these areas before you can see long lasting results in things like symbolic thinking or answering wh questions as well as maintaining friendships and relationships. We move up the trunk into the first six developmental milestones which include shared and joint attention, engagement, two-way communication, social problem solving, symbolic and meaningful use of ideas, and logical thinking. After the first six milestones come multicausal and comparative thinking, comparative grey area thinking, and reflective thinking which help to make up the leaves of the tree.
Founder of Floortime Florida
Dyan Dickerson is an ASHA certified CCC speech-language pathologist who graduated with both her B.S. and M.A. degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Central Florida. While in school, Dyan became passionate about The Floortime Approach while working privately with a family, where she used the model with their son for nearly four years.
After graduation, Dyan moved to Washington D.C. to work for Jake Greenspan (son of Dr. Stanley Greenspan and the founder of Floortime), and Tim Bleecker, directors of The Floortime Center. Dyan worked at The Floortime Center for six years in various areas, where she later became the lead speech language pathologist. Dyan provided services in the private practice setting, school-based therapy, home services and throughout the community. Her services included a wide range of disorders and delays for children of all ages. She saw clients in individual sessions, group therapy and provided intensive services for families around the world as part of a collaborative team.
Dyan is trained and certified in Greenspan Floortime level 3, S.O.S. Approach to Feeding and Integrated Listening Therapy (iLs). Dyan, along with the lead Occupational Therapist, also created an approach to feeding-therapy aptly named Foodtime. Dyan has traveled to Budapest to present on Foodtime as well as Miami to present on both Foodtime and speech-language therapy using the Greenspan Floortime Approach. Dyan is a collaborative volunteer for The Greenspan Approach online course - an ASHA approved C.E. program - she holds licensure in Florida, Colorado, and the UK. Dyan believes in a developmental, whole-child approach to therapy and uses The Greenspan Floortime Approach to offer support to children and their families.