DIR/Floor Time at the heart of comprehensive programs for infants, young children, and families with a range of developmental challenges including autistic spectrum disorders. You may frequently hear “play based DIR/Floor Time approach” when your child work with occupational therapist, speech therapist, and educators. But what does it mean? And how does it work? Fired Up People are here to help you.

DIR/Floor Time model:

Floor Time was created by child psychiatrists Stanley Greenspan, M.D. and Serena Wieder, PhD. It is based on the developmental individual-difference Relationship-based model (DIR).

What is Floor Time:

Floor Time is an evidence-based approach where we get down on the floor, play and interact with the child at their level. Through the interaction and play, opportunities are created to assist with the child to enhance each of their functional emotional developmental capacities. These are emotional, social, language, and intellectual development. Meanwhile, it is also a model that guides the way occupational therapist, speech pathologist, and educators work with the children.

How does Floor Time work?

Floor Time takes place in a calm environment. This can be at home or in a professional setting. During the Floor Time, the parents or therapists follow the child’ lead and join the activities which are enjoyable, joyful, and pleasurable for the child. Floor Time emphasizes on back and forth play, this build the foundation for shared attention, engagement and problem solving. However, the goal is to follow the child’s lead on the one hand, but then create opportunities and challenges that help the child to develop each of their functional emotional developmental capacities.

Things to know about Floor Time:

“Following the lead” does not mean imitating what your child is doing – it is following their emotions and finding a way to get in and make it more interactive based on the basic level of the child’s interest. If you don’t know what to do or feeling stuck. Do not feel the pressure to do so much. The goal is not so much what you could do. Instead, the goal is to investigate what interest your child the most. So, step back and relax and observe what your child is doing. Once you have figured out what they are interested in, you have the window to their emotional life, and you can help the child to be in a shared world.

What will motivate them to be a part of a shared world? the first motivation is to join them in their world and show that you can respect what they are interested in and then build on their pleasure. For example, if a child is moving a truck, we may move a truck with them and we can also put our hands and imagine it is a tunnel. So that they can move the truck towards our hands. When we will see that child starts giving us some friendly looks and some warm smiles, that is the beginning of that shared world.

Got questions about Floor Time?

For more information on Floor Time to support your child. Please do not hesitate to contact Fired Up People – we would love to hear from you and support you to incorporate the Floor Time process into your daily routines.


Interdisciplinary Council On Development And Learning. (2020). What is Floor Time? Retrieved from: https://www.icdl.com/floortime