Advice from Dr. Greenspan

How can I help family members feel comfortable around children who are on the spectrum?

As a clinician or therapist doing the family assessment, you will be able to sense if there will be a deeper resistance from the parents, states Dr. Greenspan. “They will speak about what they do and don’t do, and the ways they are comfortable or uncomfortable interacting.”

What is an ideal educational program?

School does not mean education. What should an ideal educational program have?

My child has many challenging autism behaviors. How do I deal with them?

Discussion: Oftentimes parents will identify particular problems (temper tantrums, perseveration or self-absorption) that they want to remedy, typically because it is embarrassing

Topics: Behaviors

How do I help my child to interact more?

Discussion: “The key,” says Dr.

Topics: Interaction

How can I tell if Floortime is the right intervention for my child?

“These are questions that can be answered during the assessment process,” says Dr. Greenspan. “In the assessment, have parents play with their children. That way, you’re demonstrating with the parents, through coaching, what can happen as they engage or gesture more. The parent is your colleague in this process – they are witnessing whether this works for the child.”

How do I track and document a child’s short-term goals in Floortime?

It can often seem difficult to quantify Floortime progress, but it doesn’t have to be. The question we seem to be asking ourselves is: “how do we use the DIR model in terms of getting funding when the funding agency wants you to earmark ‘short term goals’?” notes Dr. Greenspan.

What are the best ways to be creative with my child and foster pretend play?

“Help your child use their ideas functionally and introduce make-believe play; try to keep increasing the interaction,” emphasizes Dr. Greenspan.

Topics: Interaction

How do I motivate my child?

Discussion: “You always want to be following the child’s lead during Floortime and throughout the day,” says Dr. Greenspan.

Topics: Interaction

How do I set limits or discipline my child with autism?

With Floortime, it’s very important for limit setting to take place under the umbrella of calm, back and forth interaction. “The child with autism should learn in a negotiated way,” reminds Dr. Greenspan. The ideal way to set limits using Floortime is in a situation where you have time and you can interact with the child around the limit. You can give the child an alternative, or negotiate, and it’s done calmly together.

If my child has autism should I push them to play with me? Should I leave them alone? What about self-stimming?

There are different types of ways to create “downtime” if your child has autism, notes Dr. Greenspan. “If you have a child with autism that is capable of reading a book, that’s terrific; give them regular down time. If the child is capable of doing a crossword, that’s great; give them regular downtime and then balance it through the day.

Topics: Interaction