Neil Samuels Developmental Therapy
Neil Samuels Developmental Therapy
A DIR/Floortime based approach for children diagnosed with ASD and other Developmental based challenges.

I am a NJ state licensed 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 from over thirty five countries as a special educator in the Early Intervention population, birth to three, as well as older children including adolescents using a DIR/Floortime based approach.  In 2002, completed all graduate studies, Developmental Psychology,  SUNY, NYC.  From 2005 to 2014, 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 SPD (sensory processing disorder).

The foundation of my practice has always been on systematically guiding primary caregivers as well as clinicians not to redirect "inappropriate behaviors" but to comprehensively Developmentally understand and facilitate each child’s underlying core functional emotional developmental milestones and sensory-affect motor processing differences. This is begun by guiding primary caregivers to connect with their child’s natural intent or affective interests in order to meaningfully deepen back and forth functional emotional engagement and subsequently 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 [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 of  the first six to nine 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 above, see, http://www.icdl.com/DIR/fedcs/functional-emotional-developmental-levels-basic-chart