Parents and caregivers of a child with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delay seek effective ways to connect and better understand their child’s needs and motivations. Through a developmental therapy method called DIR Floortime (DIR), therapists at Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley work with families through play to build healthy social, emotional and intellectual interactions between a caregiver and their child.
At Easterseals, DIR can be included when a child takes part in occupational therapy, speech language or mental health services as part of the Autism Collaborative. The services are tailored to best reach a child’s needs and their family’s goals to improve relationships and abilities at home, at school and their community. With 1,000 children receiving services each week, Easterseals therapists best understand how to help each parent feel empowered to help their child thrive today and in the future.
DIR honors a child’s specific interests and intentions, and to the casual observer, DIR looks a lot like play. We understand that play is the avenue for learning and its how children learn small and huge concepts. Since play is fun for a child, they’re more likely to engage with and enjoy play-based therapy.
As children grow along the social-emotional developmental scale, they build skills to help maintain and build warm and trusting attachments, initiate communication and eventually learn problem-solving skills. The therapy changes as a child develops, and with DIR, the parent is always an integral part of that.
An important component to DIR is parent involvement. Rather than simply drop their child off, parents or caregivers are an active part of the therapy session. We work through the most primary relationships in a child’s life, which is a parent, grandparent or caregiver. Because DIR is about relationships, we build a triad of therapist, child and caregiver working together. Strong relationships help the child and caregiver reach a better outcome through DIR — and, during therapy, parents learn how best to connect with their child and meet their needs. We know a child’s cues can be limited and hard to read, we want each parent to understand their child and their behavior to better connect.
Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley is widely known for our comprehensive service offerings. We are the only provider in Chicagoland to offer an Autism Diagnostic Clinic, Medical Diagnostic Clinic and therapists in every discipline, including audiology, counseling and nutrition, who specialize in serving the needs of children on the spectrum. Our team is constantly learning from one another and receiving further certifications to help each child thrive.
DIR Floortime is covered by most insurance providers and an accepted treatment strategy by the State of Illinois Early Intervention Program. Families can learn more about DIR through these nonprofit organizations such as: Profectum Foundation and the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning (ICDL).
Just like a GPS helps you navigate unfamiliar streets, our family services team helps parents and families navigate this new and unfamiliar path. We offer educational resources, networking opportunities and social activities for children, families and caregivers.
Our sibling services provide much needed support to both the typically developing sibling and the sibling with disabilities.