Floor Time

This treatment approach is designed to build affective relationships between caregivers and the autistic child.

Overall Philosophy: Floor Time is both a philosophy and an approach. The goals of floor time are encouraging attention and intimacy, two-way communication, expression, and the use of feelings and ideas, and logical thoughts. This treatment is much like play therapy in that it builds an increasing larger circle of interaction between a child and an adult in a developmentally-based sequence. .

Time Required for Treatment: Therapy consists of 6 to 8 30-minute sessions of child-guided "play" each day. Parents are taught to do the therapy at home.

Treatment Cost: Minimal, as treatment is mainly done by the parents.

Who Directs the Treatment? Parents, Caregivers, other family members, Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Teachers

Where does the Treatment take Place? In the home.

Training Material Needed: Not determined

How Success is Defined: Program has four goals: to encourage attention and intimacy, to establish two-way communications, to encourage the use of feeling and expression of ideas, and to help the autistic child to become a logical thinker. Floor Time does not treat the child with autism in separate pieces for speech development or motor development but rather addresses the emotional development, in contrast to other approaches which tend to focus on cognitive development. It is frequently used for a child's daily playtime in conjunction with other methods such as ABA.

Main concern: There is no scientific evidence to support the use of this therapy.

Web Sitewww.floortime.org

Relationship Development Intervention

A behavioral intervention that suits one child (or his/her parent) won't necessarily work for another. Many treatment centers now mix techniques from different approaches. One of the newest of these approaches developed just a few years ago is Relationship Development Intervention (RDI).

Overall Philosophy: RDI is rooted in the belief that building dynamic intelligence competencies is the key to improving the quality of life of those with ASD. The program's core philosophy is that individuals with autism spectrum disorders can participate in authentic emotional relationships if they are exposed to them in a gradual, systematic way.

Popularity: RDI's website cites adoption by this procedure by thousands of families around the world, with Dozens of clinicians in the the U.S., Canada, and Autraila.

Time Required for Treatment: Not determined

Treatment Cost: Not determined

Who Directs the Treatment? RDI-certified Certified Consultants use information from the Relationship Development Assessment to develop clear, specific, developmentally appropriate treatment objectives and customized activities. Parents and other caregivers.

Where does the Treatment take Place? Home and other natural settings.

Training Material Needed: Several workshops are offered where participants get a good background about the RDI. Program, plus learn the latest essential elements in starting an RDI. Lifestyle to benefit your entire family:

How Success is Defined: The key to this intervention is targeting the capacity for social relatedness, which is often delayed to an infant or toddler level, even among very cognitively capable individuals on the autism spectrum.

Web Sitewww.rdiconnect.com

The P.L.A.Y. Project

Emerging research strongly suggests that child centered, relationship based intervention is very effective in helping young children with autism spectrum disorders gain language and social skills.

Overall Philosophy: Created by Richard Solomon, MD and based on the DIR® (Developmental, Individualized, Relationship-based) theory of Stanley Greenspan, MD, the program emphasizes the importance of helping parents become their child’s best P.L.A.Y. partner. It is believed that the P.L.A.Y. Project is most effective for young children with autism 18 months to 6 years. Although older children can benefit from the therapy progress tends to be at a slower rate. The DIR model is based on play “following the child’s lead” and getting down on the floor to meet the child at his/her level, where as the PLAY Project is a much more structured version built on a seven step skill sequence.

Popularity: The P.L.A.Y Project follows the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommendations for the education of young children with autism spectrum disorders. NAS recommends; interventions begin early (18 mo – 5 years), intensive interventions 25 hours per week, that the teacher/play partner to child ratio be 1:1 or 1:2, that interventions are engaging and have a strategy to build social skills and language.

Where Does the Treatment take Place? This is generally a home based/natural environment program, although the therapy can take place in a clinical or school setting.

Time Required: Approximately 2 hours a day

Treatment Cost: Cost depends on the level of trainings attended, home consultations, etc.

Training Materials Needed: Natural environment toys

How is Success Defined? By the improved social and emotional interactions of the child as well as increased problem-solving skills.

Web Sitewww.playproject.org

Comments: Emerging research strongly suggests that child centered, relationship based intervention is very effective in helping young children with autistic spectrum disorders gain language and social skills.

Reference: The P.L.A.Y. Project

Social Stories

Social Stories is a supplemental tool (to be used in conjunction with another treatment) designed to help children with autism learn about particular social situations through a story format. These stories are usually fairly short (often three to five sentences) and are designed to give enough information to the child so that he/she could know how to handle himself in what was a difficult situation for the child.

Overall Philosophy: A social story is defined by a specific format and guidelines and objectively describes a person, skill, event, concept or social situation. The goal is to share relevant information, including, where and when a situation takes place, who is involved, what is occurring, and why.

Popularity: Popularity of social stories has grown over the past decade

Time Required for Treatment: Not determined

Treatment Cost: Free if written by parent or teacher. Social stories books cost between $19.00 and $35.00.

Who Directs the Treatment? Social stories can be written by anyone with knowledge; a parent, teacher, or service providerand are customized to the individual needs of the child.

Where does the Treatment take Place? Home, school, any setting where a story can be read to the autistic child.

Training Material Needed: Social stories may be accompanied by pictures, photographs, or music.

How Success is Defined: Social stories are typically prepared in response to troubling situations, but they might arise prior to the incident.

Main concern: The treatment assumes an understanding and a willingness to listen to the story for it to be effective

Web Sites:

  • www.thegraycenter.org
  • www.socialstories.com

Son-Rise Program

Overall Philosophy: The Son-Rise Program created an educational treatment modality which included joining children instead of going against them. The program places parents as key teachers, therapists and directors of their own programs based in the home. The Son-Rise Program believes that respect and deep caring would be the most important factor impacting a child's motivation to learn, and from the beginning has made love and acceptance a meaningful part of every teaching process.

Popularity: Approximate number of children on the autistic spectrum that participated in this treatment from 1995 to 2004 (the past ten years): 2500

Time Required for Treatment: The recommended number of hours for a home-based Son-Rise Program is determined by the child's individual level of challenge and the family's current situation.

Treatment Cost: $1995.00 for the Son-Rise Start-Up, a five-day training program which delivers comprehensive instruction in the core fundamentals of The Son-Rise Program. Scholarships are based on a family's current financial situation.

Who Directs the Treatment? The child's parents.

Where does the Treatment take Place? The initial training program, The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, takes place at The Autism Treatment Center of America™ in Sheffield, Massachusetts, as well as one international location each year. Parents then work with their children in their home.

Training Materials Available: Many books and audio tapes, as well as the Son-Rise Program Start-Up Manual (manual given during Start-Up Program)

Web Site: www.autismtreatmentcenter.org