At TTC we have three methods of working with families of children diagnosed with autism or ASD, Greenspan’s DIRFloortime method, VIG and Child Psychotherapy. In addition we are able to provide a full assessment and diagnosis service with a Child Psychiatrist.
The DIR-Floortime Model was developed in the 1980s in the United States by two researchers – Stanley Greenspan, MD, and Serena Wieder, PhD. Their therapy model is designed for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neuro-developmental disorders. The DIR-Floortime model focuses on promoting development by encouraging children to engage with parents and others in play interactions that are specifically tailored to the child’s unique biological, emotional and developmental needs. The treatment program builds on the child’s strengths and abilities and is set up to help them reach milestones in several areas including sensory development, motor skills, emotional and cognitive development and communication.
By engaging in the DIR-Floortime approach, the therapist, the parents and other professionals work collaboratively and continuously towards expanding the child’s potential. The DIR-Floortime model has several parts, including assessment, home interactions, interactions within an educational setting, reflective meetings, play dates and specific therapies, such as speech or occupational therapy.
Central to the approach is therapeutic play between a parent and child. In weekly, regular, continuous, home based therapy sessions the therapist facilitates the playful therapeutic interactions, in which a great emphasis is put on enjoyable shared experiences. It is through such interactions that the child learns how to become calm and attentive, engage, communicate, cooperatively problem-solve; and to think creatively and logically. The child develops their capacity to read and respond to different emotional signals and ultimately how to negotiate more complex social situations.
The therapist works closely with the parents to reflect on and explore the unique interactive style of their child and themselves in regular reflection meetings. Video analysis may be utilized to support the therapeutic process.
Video Interraction Guidance is a specific form of therapeutic support which uses video to highlight strengths within parent-child relationships and analyse exactly how attuned contact between parents and children is brought about.
VIG is a strengths-based way of working, videos are not taken of things that were done wrong, but things that were done well and how this was achieved. Research shows that it is particularly effective in working with any form of relationship difficulty between parent and child, and particularly effective with autism and ASD.
TTC’s VIG practitioners are all fully trained and qualified Child Psychotherapists who then go on to do a specific further training in VIG.
Child Psychotherapists have an in-depth training in understanding a child’s state of mind. Therapists are trained to carefully observe a child or young person and respond to what they might be communicating through their behaviour and play and have particular skill in understanding the troubled feelings that children evoke in them. The capacity to work with and engage hard-to-reach and non-verbal children means that it is well suited to longer-term work with children with social and communication difficulties.