Integrate Floortime, developmental approaches with ABA to enhance learning for children with autism

Stuffed animals, musical instruments, balls, and beanbags with text can be used during Floortime activities. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

Integrating developmental teaching models into behavioral approaches can help children with autism generalize skills so they can apply them in real world, natural environments.

Dr. Stanley Greenspan’s Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-based (DIR) model of autism therapy aims to improve social, emotional, and intellectual abilities in a way that is meaningful for the child rather than focusing on isolated skills and surface behaviors.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), considered the gold standard for autism therapy, is a proven method of teaching children with autism functional and cognitive skills. One of the criticisms of ABA, though, is that it can result in answers that are scripted.

Children with autism need both structure and meaning when they learn. Therefore, combining elements of ABA and DIR may result in the best opportunities for success.

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