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Tools for Early Identification and Intervention - 0-5 years

The "Greenspan" Floor Time Model


bullet1. Goals of Floor Time Intervention
bullet2. Glossary of Floor Time Terms
bullet3. Greenspan's Model of Stages of Relating and Communicating
bullet4. Specific Goal Behaviors and Strategies to Attain Them
bullet5. Five Steps in Floor Time
bullet6. Strategies for Floor Time Intervention
bullet7. Questions to Ask Yourself if You Are a Good Floor Timer
bullet8. Props Needed for Floor Time
bullet9. Opening the Symbolic Door
bullet10. Follow the Child's Lead
bullet11. Creating and Expanding Ideas
bullet12. CONSTRUCTIVE OBSTRUCTION to Extend Problem Solving
bullet13. Opportunities for Doing Floor Time with Child
bullet14. Home Based Opportunities for Floor Time
bullet15. Turning Every Day Activity into Problem Solving for Child
bullet16. Strategies for Engagement and Two-way Communication
bullet17. Strategies for Helping Child Build Symbolic World
bullet18. Strategies to Develop Abstract Thinking
bullet19. Strategies to Develop Motor Planning Abilities
bullet20. Strategies to Address Processing Difficulties
bullet21. Developmental Stages of Greenspan's Functional Emotional Assessment Scale (FEAS)
bullet22. Structural and Thematic Characteristics of Greenspan's FEAS Developmental Stages
bullet23. Greenspan's FEAS Levels of Functioning and Corresponding Floor Time Strategy
bullet24. READING LIST and ONLINE RESOURCES on Floor Time


1. Goals of Floor Time Intervention

bulletTo help the child:
bulletbecome more alert
bullettake more initiative
bulletbecome more flexible
bullettolerate frustration
bulletsequence longer actions - plan and execute them
bulletmediate process of finding solutions
bulletcommunicate gesturally and verbally

take pleasure in learning


2. Glossary of Floor Time Terms

Closing the Circle: Allowing the child to close the circle when child brings your extensions and expansions to a close.

Emotional Thinking: The child leans to elaborate fantasies and to make connections between different ideas. (3 to 5 years)

Engagement: Babies coo, smile, gesture and exchange motor movements with their partners. (0 to 8 months)

Extending and Expanding the Drama: Tuning in to the child's imagination and ideas and taking them one step further through gestures and words.

Floor Time: A warm and intimate way of relating to a child. A floor time philosophy means engaging, respecting and getting in tune with the child in order to help the child elaborate through gestures, words, and pretend play what is on the child's mind. As a technique, floor time is a five step process that is used to support the emotional and social development of the child.

Following the Child's Lead: Seeing the child as the director and yourself as the assistant director of the activity.

Observing: Noticing how the child is special and unique in style, rhythm and mood.

Opening the Circle of Communication: Turning in and following a child's special interest.

Shared Meanings: The child begins to communicate ideas with words or pretend play. Emotional themes enter the child's play. The child uses themes not only to express wants and needs but also to expand fantasies and creativity. (18 month to 36 months)

Stages of Relating: Stages in emotional and social development of children.

Two-Way Communication: The child is able to have an emotional dialogue. Opening and closing circles can take place. You need to take an interest in and respond to the child, and the child responds with gestural and verbal reactions. (6 to 18 months)


3. Greenspan's Model of Stages of Relating and Communicating

Stage 1: ENGAGEMENT (Birth to 8 months)

bulletDoes the baby smile joyfully in response to vocalization and facial expression? What are the kinds of gestures the baby uses to elicit responses?
bulletHow does the baby use senses such as hearing, sight, and touch to form attachments? Is child beginning to exchange motor movements?
bulletHow would you describe baby's temperament (stable, intense, irritable, unresponsive, assertive)?

Stage 2: TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION (6 to 18 months)

bulletWhat evidence is there that the child is reciprocating and copying your behaviors and emotions?
bulletDoes the child begin to instigate activities based on own needs and wants, rather than by imitation alone? How?
bulletProvide examples of how the child combines gestures and words to communicate.
bulletWhat evidence is there that the child is beginning to understand basic emotional themes, such as whether child is being approved of, is safe and secure, or is being admired?

Stage 3: SHARED MEANINGS (18 to 36 months)

bulletProvide examples of how the child is beginning to communicate ideas through words.
bulletHow does the child use pretend play to communicate emotional themes such as curiosity, independence and rejection?
bulletDescribe ways in which child makes wants, desires, and emotions know through pretend play. Describe how pretend play becomes more complex.

Stage 4: EMOTIONAL THINKING (3 to 5 years)

bulletHow are feelings expressed?
bulletWhat evidence do you have the child realizes the relationship between feeling, behaviors, and consequences?
bulletHow would you describe the child's relationship with adults?
bulletHow does the child control impulses and stabilize moods?
bulletHow does the child interact with peers in pretend play?
bulletDoes the child help to structure and organize play themes?


4. Specific Goal Behaviors and Strategies to Attain Them

Goal Behavior for child to become more: Floor Time Activities:
alert & aware notice something is different

discriminating visual, auditory and other sensory information

recognizing that they are facing an obstacle

identifying the problem, etc.

initiative taking encourage to be less passive in environment

do not allow process to proceed in more or less automatic way

assist child to become more critical and ready to take action to help self

it is critical to "wait" to give child chance to recognize problem and realize they must be ones to start doing something about it

flexible create small changes and problems to help child notice, initiate and tolerate changes

help child to learn to cope with by solving problems and taking in more information

able to sequence longer and more complex actions and communications Have experiences which require taking as many steps as possible to solve the problem at hand and to communicate:

who wants the problem solved

what they want solved

when they want it solved

where they want it solved

why they want it solved

how it can be solved

through actions, gestures and words

able to mediate more ways to solve problems guide child through the process of solving problems

do not tell or show how to do a skill (e.g., Where should we look?, Did you check all the sides? Is there a tab? Let's try pulling. Does it work? Is it stuck? Do you need a tool?



5. Five Steps in Floor Time


Both listening to and watching a child are essential for effective observation. Facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, body posture, and word (or lack of words) are all important clues that help you determine how to approach the child, e.g.:

bulletis a child's behavior relaxed or outgoing?
bulletwithdrawn or uncommunicative?
bulletbubbling with excitement?
bulletis child a real go-getter.


Once a child's mood and style have been assessed, you can approach the child with the appropriate words and gestures. You can open the circle of communication with a child by acknowledging the child's emotional tone, then elaborating and building on whatever interests the child at the moment.


After your initial approach, following a child's lead simply means being a supportive play partner who is an "assistant" to the child and allows the child to set the tone, direct the action, and create personal dramas. This enhances the child's self-esteem and ability to be assertive, and gives child a feeling that "I can have an impact on the world." As you support the child's play, the child benefits from experiencing a sense of warmth, connectedness and being understood.


As you follow the child's lead, extending and expanding a child's play themes involves making supportive comments about the child's play without being intrusive. This helps the child express own ideas and defines the direction of the drama. Next, asking questions to stimulate creative thinking can keep the drama going, while helping the child clarify the emotional themes involved, e.g.: suppose a child is crashing a car: Rather than ask critically, Why are those cars crashing? You may respond empathetically, Those cars have so much energy and are moving fast. Are they trying to get somewhere?


As you open the circle of communication when you approach the child, the child closes the circle when the child builds on your comments and gestures with comments and gestures of own. One circle flows into another, and many circles may be opened and closed in quick succession as you interact with the child. By building on each other's ideas and gestures, the child begins to appreciate and understand the value of two way communication.



6. Strategies for Floor Time Intervention

bulletfollow child's lead and join them - it does not matter what they do as long as they initiate the move
bulletpersist in your pursuit
bullettreat what child does as intentional and purposeful - give new meanings
bullethelp child do what they want to do
bulletposition self in front of the child
bulletinvest in whatever child initiates or imitates
bulletjoin perseverative play
bulletdo not treat avoidance or "no"as rejection
bulletexpand, expand, expand - keep going, play dumb, do wrong moves, do as told, interfere etc.
bulletdo not interrupt or change the subject as long as it is interactive
bulletinsist on a response
bulletdo not turn the session into a learning or teaching experience



7. Questions to Ask Yourself if You Are a Good Floor Timer

bulletDo I use a calm voice?
bulletDo I give gentle looks?
bulletIs my body posture supportive?
bulletArm my actions non-intrusive?
bulletDo I use encouraging gestures?
bulletDo I demonstrate calm and supportive listening?
bulletAm I aware of the child's rhythms and gestures?
bulletAm I able to help the child identify play themes?
bulletDo I expand and extend the child's drama by staying involved with the play theme and help to elaborate the details?
bulletAm I able to help the child extend the drama by summarizing main ideas of play themes?
bulletDo I observe the behavior, language, and gestures of the child?
bulletDo I observe the child's style of relating?
bulletDo I approach the child slowly, with respect and thoughtfulness?
bulletHow often do I allow the child to take the lead? Do I follow that lead?
bulletDo I let the child know through gesture, facial expressions, emotional tone, and supportive body posture that I am there for the child?
bulletDo I know when to be verbally responsive, and when it is better to quietly share a child's emotion?

Do I work to understand the emotional needs of the child?



8. Props Needed for Floor Time


bulletplastic vegetables and fruits etc.
bulletplastic foods: chicken, hot dogs, eggs, bacon, french fries etc.
bulletplastic dishes, cups, forks, knives and spoons
bulletplastic or paper soup cans and boxes of foods
bulletplastic cooking utensils, pots, mixer, toaster etc.
bulletplay kitchen with table and chairs


bulletminimum of 12 match box size cars, trucks etc
bullettool kit to fix cars, e.g.: screwdriver, wrench, pliers, etc.
bulletroad signs, play road
bulletroad construction equipment
bulletother forms of public transportation: airplane, boat, bus, train

Empathy and Nurturing of others:

bulletminimum of two dolls, one boy and one girl
bulletminimum of two bottles
bulletplastic figures of a family whose sex and number of members matches the child=s family
bulletplastic figures of helpers in the community: doctor, nurse, fireman, construction person, police
bulletdoctors kit to help dolls
bullettool kit to fix objects owned by dolls
bulletdoll house for plastic family
bulletblankets and clothes for dolls
bulletplay bath equipment for dolls
bulletplay crib or bed for dolls

Fantasy Play:

bulletplastic animals from the jungle, zoo, water and farm
bulletplastic dinosaurs
bulletFisher Price or Play School: farm, pirate ship, airport, school, store etc.


bulletset of two telephones
bulletchalk or white board on easel


bulletbooks on a variety of topics which are age appropriate
bulletword signs around the room
bulletdisplay of letters of alphabet and numbers 1 to 10 in room
bulletschool desk for dolls or child to go to school

Aggression Fantasy:

bullettoy soldier set with military transportation (e.g.: tanks, helicopter, boat, and armored trucks) guns, tents, etc.
bulletcowboy and Indian set with horses, tents, wagons, guns, bows and arrows etc

Construction Play:

bulletwooden block set
bulletplastic block set
bullettool kit for construction e.g.: saw, hammer, screwdriver etc.
bulletLincoln log set
bulletconstruction equipment: truck, earth mover, etc.

Art Play:

bulletcrayons and paper
bulletwatercolor tempera paints, brush and paper
bulletfinger paints and finger paint paper
bulletclay or Play Dough for sculpting

Outdoor Play:

bulletsand box, pails, shovels and other sand containers
bulletwater play table
bulletgym set with slide, swings and ladder
bulletrubber football and/or baseballs to throw and catch
bulletrubber soccer ball and/or basketball to kick

Constructive Obstruction Props:

bulletsoap bubbles to be blown on child while playing with other props to create need to be flexible and attend to distraction in a coping way
bulletballoon or light ball to bounce on the drama which is occurring to create crisis
bulletblanket to hide the desired objects under
bulletrubber bands, to fix or bind things together
bullettape, to fix or bind things together
bulletbunch of nerf balls to throw to create obstacle which needs to be attended to

Prop Storage: keep theme related props in "shoe box" size transparent plastic containers with covers so child can see inside and select theme to play with. This will make it easier to keep play room orderly and neat when floor time is ended. Enlist child to assist you in putting props in their respective containers.



9. Opening the Symbolic Door

bulletget engaged at any level
bulletget intentional - build on any intent, problem solving, corner or undoing
bulletheighten affect - at every level, all emotions are equal



10. Follow the Child's Lead

bullethave symbolic toys available
bulletrecognize and create opportunities
bulletcue or model symbolic actions
bulletbe meaningful
bulletmake it easy
bulletpersist through - affect cues - affect pacing-wait/speed up
bulletbe a player - join in
bulletexpand and keep going
bulletdo not change the subject



11. Creating and Expanding Ideas

bullettreat object or action as an idea!
bulletyou do not need permission to play
bulletdo not "read" or just describe
bullettalk to child in role - as actor or with figure
bullettake on a role and talk through the role
bulletbuild on real experiences - bridge to what would happen next
bulletwait for child to make the next move - then give choices or model next step
bulletresist the temptation to take over
bullet"Appreciate" child's need for control
bullettry to build bridges between ideas
bulletgive reasons for your or child's actions
bulletproblem solve and assist in the finding of a solution
bulletmake ideas more complex and more elaborate



12. CONSTRUCTIVE OBSTRUCTION to Extend Problem Solving

bulletThe child will be surprised, amused or frustrated when faced with the changes and obstacles you create for them.
bulletApproach child with a supportive attitude, sharing surprise, Oh no what happened?, What's the matter?
bulletHelp child solve the problem, but wait for child to recognize the problem first and then encourage the process.
bulletStretch the problem as long as possible by playing dumb
bulletOffering wrong solutions so child can check out several alternatives
bulletAsking questions and opinions about what they want, etc.

Remember: goal is not to frustrate child but to mobilize child's thinking and acting in face of something which matters personally to the child.

13. Opportunities for Doing Floor Time with Child

To assist child to solve problems and handle changes identify opportunities in the child's daily life which present a "stage" for problem solving and change accepting "dramas"

Brainstorm how you could utilize the following opportunities:

bulletall thing you routinely do for child
bulletall the things child expects or waits for you to do
bulletall the things child already expects to do for self
bulletall the things child desires or expects to have or go to
bulletdaily challenges




14. Home Based Opportunities for Floor Time

bulletdressing and undressing: giving child choices about what to wear or not or what to take off first, is following the child's lead.
bulletmealtime: chose one meal a time with enough time - talk may focus around food preparation, different foods being served, which foods are particularly enjoyable or any topic relating to the child's life.
bulletcar time: engage child in a relaxed conversation in which child takes the lead, or sing-along for which child chooses songs
bulletcoming and going time: plan to have at least a little time to get child settled on arrival to a classroom or in switching and transitioning from one activity to another by reading a short story, visit pet in classroom or at home, or look at special toy in classroom or at home. Show child support through your interest and warm clear good-bye if leaving in classroom. On picking child up from classroom give the child a chance to tell you something important about the day while you are still in the school setting.
bulletbath time: Bath toys are wonderful props as they float, get dunked, and come into contact with each other. The water is a great opportunity for play. The child will naturally relax in the water.
bulletbook time: Read the book with the child on your lap or next to you on a chair or bed. As you read, be aware of responses and questions that you can extend. (If the child is totally absorbed, however, it is best to continue reading and simply enjoy the sense of shared interest)
bulletbedtime: Bedtime is often accompanied by a ritual, but is also a moment to feel close and loving. Children sometimes share important thoughts and feelings during the last moments before falling asleep. Although you will not want to rev-up the child up prior to sleeping, you can respond with empathy and stay close until the child is calm and feels safe enough to sleep.



15. Turning Every Day Activity into Problem Solving for Child

bulletchair not close to table, in the child's spot, when meal time arrives
bulletbottle not open when you are trying to pour juice
bulletbathtub empty of water when you tell child it is time to take a bath
bulletshoes hidden from usual resting place
bulletchanging the shelf locations of favorite books, tapes etc.
bulletputting two socks on same foot
bulletputting shirt on feet
bulletgive child adult shoes instead of their own
bulletuse rubber band to hold together a spoon and fork when giving child tool for eating
bulletbeing sure cup is upside down when offering child a drink
bulletput markers in a new container which child has not yet learned to open
bulletmix puzzle pieces of two or three puzzles together



16. Strategies for Engagement and Two-way Communication

bulletGive child seemingly random actions new meanings by responding to them as if they were purposeful.
bulletUse sensory-motor play -- bouncing, tickling, swinging, and so on -- to elicit pleasure.
bulletUse sensory toys in cause-and-effect ways: hide a toy, then make it magically reappear; drop a belled toy so that child will hear the jingle; bring a tickle feather closer, closer, closer until finally you tickle child with it.
bulletPlay infant games, such as peek-a-boo, I'm going to get you, and patty cake.
bulletPlay verbal Ping Pong with child, responding to every sound or word the child makes and continue the ping pong match to expand the number of circles closed.
bulletPursue pleasure over other behaviors and do not interrupt any pleasurable experience.
bulletUse gestures, tone of voice, and body language to accentuate the emotion in what you say and do.
bulletTry to be as accepting of child's anger and protests as you are of child's more positive emotions.
bulletHelp child deal with anxiety (separation, getting hurt, aggression, loss, fear, and so on) by using gestures and problem solving.



17. Strategies for Helping Child Build Symbolic World

bulletIdentify real-life experiences child knows and enjoys and have toys and props available to play out those experiences
bulletRespond to child's real desires through pretend actions
bulletAllow child to discover what is real and what is a toy (e.g., if child tries to go down a toy slide, encourage child to go on; if child tries to put on doll's clothes, do not tell it doesn't fit; if child puts foot in pretend pool, ask if is cold)
bulletIf child is thirsty, offer an empty cup or invite to tea party
bulletIf child is hungry, open cardboard-box refrigerator and offer some food, pretend to cook, or ask if the child will got to the pretend market with you to get things.
bulletIf child want to leave, give pretend keys or a toy car
bulletIf child lies down on floor or couch, get a blanket or pillow, turn off the lights, and sing a lullaby
bulletEncourage role playing with dress-up props, use puppets - child may prefer to be the actor before using symbolic figures
bulletUse specific set of figures/dolls to represent family members and identify other figures with familiar names
bulletGive symbolic meaning to objects as you play:
bulletWhen child climbs to top of the sofa, pretend child is climbing a tall mountain
bulletWhen child slides down the slide at the playground, pretend the child is sliding into the ocean and watch out for the fish
bulletSubstitute one object for another when props are needed. Pretend that the ball is a cake or the spoon is a birthday candle.
bulletResume use of gestures for props along with toy objects and substitutes
bulletAs you play, help child elaborate on personal intentions.
bulletAsk who is driving the car,
bulletwhere the car is going,
bulletwhether child has enough money,
bulletdid child remember the keys to the car,
bulletwhy is child going there,
bulletwhy not somewhere else, etc.
bulletExpand as long as you can. (Use all of the Who, What, Where, Why, When questions, and keep them open ended)
bulletMake use of breakdowns.
bulletWhen a problem crops up during play, create symbolic solutions.
bulletGet the doctor kit when the doll falls so child can help the hurt doll, tool kit for broken car etc.
bulletAcknowledge child's disappointment and encourage empathy.
bulletGet involved in the drama.
bulletBe a player and take on a role with your figure.
bulletTalk directly to the dolls rather than questioning child about what is happening or narrating
bulletBoth help the child and be your own player.
bulletTalk as an ally (perhaps whispering), but also have your figure oppose or challenge child's ideas.
bulletInsert obstacles into the play. (e.g.: make your bus block the road. Then speaking as a character, challenge child to respond. If necessary, get increasingly urgent (whispering to child to encourage to deal with the problem, offer help if needed by becoming an ally).
bulletUse symbolic figures child knows and loves, such as Barney, Disney or Sesame Street characters, to generate symbolic play. Reenact familiar scenes or songs, create new ideas, and notice characters and themes child may be avoiding or fear.
bulletUse play to help child understand and master ideas/themes which may have been frightening. Work on fantasy and reality.
bulletLet child be the director. Child's play need not be realistic (child may still be a magical thinker) but encourage logical thinking.
bulletFocus on process as you play; which character to be, what props are needed when ideas have changed, what the problem is, when to end the idea, etc. Identify the beginning, middle and end.
bulletAs you play, match your tone of voice to the situation. Pretend to cry when character is hurt, cheer loudly when your character is happy, speak in rough or spooky tones when you are playing the bad guy. Remember, drama, drama, drama to give child affect cues.
bulletReflect on the ideas and feelings in the story both while playing and later on as you would with other real life experiences
bulletDiscuss child's abstract themes such as good guy/bad guy, separation/loss, and various emotions such as closeness, fear, jealousy, anger, bossy, competition, etc.
bulletRemember symbolic play and conversation is the safe way to practice, reenact, understand and master the full range of emotional ideas and experiences.



18. Strategies to Develop Abstract Thinking

bulletFollow child's lead, build on child's ideas
bulletChallenge child to create new ideas in pretend play
bulletHeighten affect and engagement
bulletPractice and expand rapid back and forth interactions and conversations (gesturally and verbally)
bulletCarry on logical conversations all the time (e.g.: while driving, at meals, during baths etc.) Content does not have to be realistic
bulletEncourage understanding of fantasy-reality:
bulletchild will use toys as real objects for self as if real (e.g.: puts feet in play pool, tries to go down toy slide, tries on doll clothes, etc.)
bulletchild may prefer to start with role play and puppets
bulletchild will use toys in pretend fashion
bulletchild will use symbolic solutions for problems and fears
bulletchild will find safety to experiment with themes of aggression and power
bulletRecognize fears and avoidance of certain feelings, themes and characters.
bulletDuring play and conversations get beginning, middle and end of story or idea - identify problem to be solved, motives and feelings - accept all feelings and encourage empathy
bulletSelect books to read that have themes, motives and problems to solve - discuss alternative outcomes, feelings
bulletEncourage abstract thinking:
bulletask why questions
bulletask for opinions
bulletcompare and contrast different points of view
bulletreflect on feelings - come back to experiences again later
bulletdon't ask questions you know the answer to
bulletdon't tell child which dimensions to use
bulletUse visualization - picture yourself
bulletavoid rote, fragmented, academic questions
bulletBe creative
bulletif child puts foot in pretend pool, ask if it's cold.
bulletif child is thirsty, offer an empty cup or invite child to a tea party
bulletif child is hungry, open toy refrigerator and offer some food, pretend to cook, or ask if child will go to pretend market with you to get things to eat.
bulletif child want to leave, give pretend keys or a toy car
bulletif child lies down on the floor or couch, get a blanket or pillow, turn off the lights, and sing a lullaby.
bulletEncourage role playing with dress-up props, use puppets - child may prefer to be the actor before the child uses symbolic figures.
bulletUse a specific set of figures/dolls to represent family members and identify other figures with familiar names.
bulletGet involved in the drama. Be a player and take on a role with your own figure. Talk directly to the dolls rather than questioning child about what is happening or narrating.



19. Strategies to Develop Motor Planning Abilities

bulletEncourage "undoing"
bulletmove object in line
bulletcover desired object
bulletput puzzle piece in wrong place
bulletbury desired object(s) under other toys and very different objects
bullethide desired object from the place where child last put it etc.
bulletProvide destinations for actions - treat as intentional and symbolic
bulletchild throws - catch it in basket
bulletchild holds figure (little person, animal) -bring over toy slide, school bus, food (if child does not use spontaneously, ask if the figure would like to... give choices if needed...ask figure directly...try not to direct)
bulletchild taps - bring over drums (can be plate, plastic toy, sticks etc)
bulletchild rolls car - bring over garage, crash into it, block with figure
bulletchild reaches for hand - play give me five, variations, dance
bulletCreate problems to solve - require multiple steps
bulletput desired objects in boxes to open, untie, remove tape or rubber band
bulletpretend object needs to be fixed using tools, tape, rubber bands, Band-Aids (symbolic)
bulletcreate obstacles to child getting around or move or restore to correct position
bullethold book to read upside down and/or backwards
bulletoffer pens/markers which do not work
bulletsit in child's special place
bulletget to where the child is running first
bullethide object child desires in one hand or the other so that the child can choose
bulletwhen child seeks your hand instead of using own hand, put your hands on your head or in your pocket
bulletput socks on child's hands instead of feet
bulletgive child your shoes to put on
bulletmake desired toy/object a moving target (move from place to place)
bulletBe playful and supportive as you encourage and expand these interaction
Change environment frequently to encourage flexibility, create problems and expand discussion
bulletmove expected objects (change drawer content, change content in baskets)
bulletrearrange furniture and create problems (child find chair upside down, or is told to sit down when chair is across the room)
bullethang up pictures from magazines at eye level and change frequently
bulletEncourage child to initiate/continue action
bulletReady, set, Go!
bulletput toy which child was using back in child's hand. (Oh, you dropped, forgot)
bulletprovide cues - uh oh, knock, knock, help
bulletuse indirect prompts (call the figures to come, where are you?)
bulletbring over next step (puppet to eat pretend food, mirror to see the hat etc.)
bullettrade objects, positions etc.
bulletDeal with consequences of actions symbolically
bulletbaby doll fall (is dropped) - Uh oh! He's crying. Are you hurt? Get a bandage. Go to the doctor. Call an ambulance...
bulletcar crashes - Oh no, it's broken! Can you fix it mechanic?
bulletBasket is dropped - What a mess! What do we do now?
bulletModel/mediate sequence of actions needed to solve problem
bulletPlan your idea - discuss what child will need for their idea
bulletget toys/props child will need
bulletidentify setting and destinations
bulletwhile playing identify problems and sequence of solutions
bulletidentify beginning, middle and end
bulletchallenge, reason, negotiate
bulletPlay interactive song-hand games
bulletItsy bitsy spider
bulletone potato two potato
bulletslap my hand
bulletsailor went to sea, sea, sea etc.
bulletPlay Treasure Hunt and use maps (use visual and verbal cues)
bulletPlay games
bulletsocial playground/party games
bulletboard games (cognitively challenging)
bulletarts and craft activities
bulletEncourage athletic activities
bulletindividual sports e.g. tennis, roller skating, shooting baskets, ice skating etc
bulletgroup sports e.g. soccer, baseball, basketball etc
bulletTae Kwon Do



20. Strategies to Address Processing Difficulties

Child's Actions Adult's Solutions
Avoids, moves away Persist in your pursuit

Treat as intentional

Provide visual cues

Playfully obstruct

Attract with "magic"

Insist on a response

Stays stuck, does not know what to do next Provide destination

Return object of interest

Use object in some way

Expand, expand

Give new meanings

Use ritualized cues to start ("ready, set, go")

Uses scripts Join in

Offer alternative scripts

Change direction of script

Perseverates Ask for turn, join, imitate, help

Make interactive

Ask "how many" more times

Set up "special" time

Protests Act sorry, play dumb, restore, blame figure
Rejects, refuses Provide more things to say "no" to

Expand, give other choices or time

Says something unrelated Insist on a response

Notice change or bring closure

Becomes anxious or fearful Reassure

Problem solve

Use symbolic solutions

Acts out, pushes, hits Provide affective cue ("Uh, uh, uh"; "No, no, no") to encourage self-regulation

Set limits.

Reward for absence of negative behaviors



21. Developmental Stages of Greenspan's Functional Emotional Assessment Scale (FEAS)

bulletRegulation and Interest in the World (by 3 months)
bulletForming Relationships and Attachments (by 5 months)
bulletIntentional Two-Way Communication (by 9 months)
bulletComplex sense of Self I: Behavioral Organization (by 13 months)
bulletComplex sense of Self II: Behavioral Elaboration (by 18 months)
bulletEmotional Ideas I: Representational Capacity (by 24 months)
bulletEmotional Ideas II: Representational Elaboration (by 30 months)
bulletEmotional Thinking I: (by 36 months)
bulletEmotional Thinking II: (by 42-48 months)



22. Structural and Thematic Characteristics of Greenspan's FEAS Developmental Stages

Stages of Development Organizing Fantasies and Themes
Regulation and Interest in the World Omnipotent control; being overwhelmed; falling apart
Engagement and Relating Isolation; emptiness; inanimate objects; unconditional love
Intentional Communication Part object pleasures or fears; chaotic, fragmented interactions
Complex sense of self Narcissistic self-absorption; grandiosity; suspiciousness; somatization; global self deprecation
Emotional Ideas Neediness, being taken care of and/or fear of separation and/or danger
Emotional Thinking Power; being admired; respected; shame; humiliation; loss of love; injury or harm to self or others



23. Greenspan's FEAS Levels of Functioning and Corresponding Floor Time Strategy

Developmental Level Child's Skills Needed Floor Time Strategy
Regulation and Interest in the World

(by 3 months)

Sense of protection, care and encouraged engagement in world Provide one on one ping ponging and cuddling to set a pattern that is predictable and comforting
Forming Relationships and attachment

(by 5 months)

Rich investment in human world; woos and is wooed Provide secure relationship which evolves into an attachment that survives negative feelings
Intentional Two-Way Communication

(by 9 months)

Reads and responds contingently to range of affective and behavioral cues Provide experiences which help develop capacity to facilitate empathic reading of the "other"
Complex Sense of Self:

Behavioral Organization & Behavioral Elaboration

(9-18 months)

Secure availability to others while admiring and supporting greater behavioral organization, initiative and originality Provide experiences which encourage self-observing capacity and permits integration of affective opposites around dependency, aggression, passivity and assertiveness.
Emotional Ideas:

Representational capacity and elaboration

(18-30 months)

Using evolving, representational (symbolic) capacities across a wide thematic and affective range Provide experiences which work at the use and elaboration of fantasy and pretend play
Emotional Thinking:

Representation, Differentiation and Consolidation

(24-48 months)

Using of representational capacity and reality orientation Provide experiences to shift between fantasy and reality and integrate wide range of affective and thematic issues





For more information about Floor Time and other Greenspan Early Intervention concepts contact:

bulletStanley Greenspan's Homepage: http://www.stanleygreenspan.com/
bulletThe Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders at http://www.icdl.com or contact them at: The Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental & Learning Disorders, 4938 Hampden Lane, Suite 800, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, or call 301-656-2667

Greenspan's Floor Time Related Books:

THE CHILD WITH SPECIAL NEEDS: ENCOURAGING INTELLECTUAL AND EMOTIONAL GROWTH. Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D. and Serena Wieder, Ph.D., Addison Wesley: (1998, Reading, MA). The most recent, comprehensive, and parent oriented discussion of the use of floor time with children with special needs.

INFANCY AND EARLY CHILDHOOD - THE PRACTICE OF CLINICAL ASSESSMENT AND INTERVENTION WITH EMOTIONAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL CHALLENGES, Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D., International Universities Press, Inc.(1997, 3rd Printing Madison, WI). The comprehensive coverage of the whole range of Behavioral, Sensory Spectrum Disorders which is addressed to clinicians. The FEAS scales used in this program were developed from material contained in this book.

Other books by Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D.:


THE CLINICAL INTERVIEW OF THE CHILD. Co-authored with: Nancy Thorndike Greenspan, American Psychiatric Press, Inc. (1991, Washington).

DEVELOPMENTALLY BASED PSYCHOTHERAPY. International Universities Press, Inc. (1997, Madison, WI)

FIRST FEELINGS - MILESTONES IN THE EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR BABY AND CHILD. Co-authored with Nancy Thorndike Greenspan, Penguin Books, (1985, NY).


Floor time film with Greenspan:

FLOOR TIME - TUNING IN TO EACH CHILD. Scholastic Inc, NY, 1990. Contact at Toll Free Number: 1.800.325.6149

If you want to get copies of the above material please contact Dr. Stanley Greenspan through www.stanleygreenspan.com  




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