Social, emotional and cognitive growth is fostered through a technique based on the principles of DIR/Floortime.
DIR/Floortime, a theoretical and practical framework developed by Stanley S. Greenspan, MD and Serena Weider, Ph.D., is a systematic method of using human relationships to take a child up the ladder of critical developmental milestones. The child moves from simple attention and self-regulation to purposeful communication using gestures and words. It involves problem solving interactively and also develops motor planning skills and abstract/complex thinking. It is based on the understanding that human relationships are essential to a child's development. Human beings are created to learn and grow in the context of relating to other humans; the brain and the mind simply don't develop without being nurtured by human relationships. Without relationships, self-esteem, initiative, and creativity do not grow either. Even the more intellectual functions of the brain-logic, judgment, abstract thought-don't develop without a constant source of relating.
Much of our best early learning happens through our relating to other people. An infant learns about cause and effect in part by dropping her spoon and watching it hit the floor. But she learns far more, and far earlier and more solidly, by smiling and getting a smile back. Later she learns by reaching out her arms and having Mommy pick her up. The pleasure that results from this learning is far more intense; the subtleties in Mommy's response far more varied. This kind of rich and intense response, which becomes deeply etched in the child's emotions, is possible only in human interactions. The child then applies this emotional lesson in causality ("I can make something happen") to the physical world. That the emotional lesson comes first and is the basis for the cognitive lesson is opposite to the traditional view of cognition and learning. This insight is essential for mobilizing intellectual and emotional growth in children with special needs. Emotions make all learning possible.
Getting down on the floor and interacting - spontaneously, joyfully, following the child's interests and motivations-helps him build that link between emotion and behavior, and eventually words. In helping him link his emotions to his behavior and his words in a purposeful way, instead of learning by rote, we enable the child to begin to relate to the world more meaningfully, spontaneously, flexibly, and warmly. He gains a firmer foundation for advanced cognitive skills and is able to move fluidly up the developmental ladder.