I am a NJ state certified special educator with extensive DIR/Floortime experience. In 1984, I began working in a NJ state residential treatment facility for neglected young children using art as a therapeutic tool to facilitate dialogue, thoughts, feelings and emotions through symbolic expression where communication otherwise proved extraordinarily challenging with this population. In 1996, co-taught at Barbara Taylor School, Brooklyn, NY based upon the philosophy and teachings of Lev Vygotsky. Since 2001, I have worked with families in the states and abroad as a special educator in the Early Intervention population, birth to three, as well as older children through late adolescence using a DIR/Floortime based approach. In 2002, completed all graduate studies, Developmental Psychology, SUNY, NYC. From 2004 to 2013, I was a primary contributor to the DIR/Floortime coalition of NJ. I have also trained other clinicians in Early Intervention on DIR/Floortime methodology. In 2006, completed training at Integral Yoga Institute, NYC in "Yoga For The Special Child." I have worked with families whose toddler or older child have been diagnosed with mild to severe ASD and other neurodevelopmental and social-communication based disorders, including, Fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome, Rett syndrome, PANDAS, Angelman syndrome, ADHD and moderate to severe SPD (sensory processing disorder).
The foundation of my practice has always been on systematically guiding primary caregivers as well as clinicians not to simply redirect "inappropriate behaviors" but to developmentally and comprehensively (biologically, socially psychologically) understand and facilitate each child’s underlying core functional emotional developmental capacities and sensory-affect modulation processing differences. This is begun by guiding primary caregivers to consistently connect with their child’s natural intent or affective interests in order to meaningfully deepen back and forth functional-emotional engagement and subsequently more complex ideation, symbolic play sequences, receptive and expressive social pragmatic language and peer relationship skills.
The emergence of each child's typical functional emotional developmental milestones is the foundation for each child's emerging healthy autonomy or "sense of self." This includes each child's natural capacity for spontaneous reciprocal co-regulated and assertive engagement, sensory-affect-motor regulation/integration and pragmatic language skills. The following represent the first six primary functional-emotional developmental milestones from birth to three:
Self-Regulation and Taking Interest in the World Engagement and Relating (Falling in Love) Purposeful Two-Way Communication. Complex Communication and Problem Solving Using Symbols and Creating Emotional Ideas Logical Thinking and Building Bridges Between Ideas (1)
My intervention approach with families is in direct contrast with behavioral based methodologies where clinicians generally do not take into consideration the child’s s natural intent or range of affect [the emotions] which is connected to each child's executive functioning and emerging autonomy but instead primarily focus on managing or re-directing the child’s “surface behavioral responses” so s/he can complete a series of itemized tasks on a checklist.
(1) For a more detailed explanation for all sixteen primary functional-emotional developmental capacities or milestones, see http://www.icdl.com/dir/fedcs Also for a quite useful parent developmental chart with respect to the first six primary milestones, see, http://www.icdl.com/dir/fedcs/functional-emotional-developmental-levels-basic-chart