• Greenspan Floortime

The Greenspan Floortime Approach

What is Floortime? As the name suggests, you get down on the floor but you do a whole lot more than play.

The Greenspan Floortime Approach™ is a system developed by the late Dr. Stanley Greenspan. Floortime meets children where they are and builds upon their strengths and abilities through interacting and creating a warm relationship.

It challenges them to go further and to develop who they are rather than what their diagnosis says.

In Floortime, you use this time with your child to excite her interests, draw her to connect to you, and challenge her to be creative, curious, and spontaneous—all of which move her forward intellectually and emotionally. (As children get older, Floortime essentially morphs into an exciting, back-and-forth time of exploring the child’s ideas.)

For any age child, you do three things:

  • Follow your child’s lead, i.e. enter the child’s world and join in their emotional flow
  • Challenge her to be creative and spontaneous
  • Expand the action and interaction to include all or most of her senses and motor skills as well as different emotions

As you do all this, while staying within her focus, you are helping her practice basic thinking skills: engagement, interaction, symbolic thinking and logical thinking. To master these skills requires using all these senses, emotions, and motor skills, as The Greenspan Floortime Approach™ explains.

Dr. Greenspan developed Floortime to help families support their child’s development.  Floortime can be done at home or at a clinic, but it’s useful, especially at the beginning, to have some guidance from a comprehensive source.

The Greenspan Floortime Approach™ is the final version of Floortime developed by Dr. Stanley Greenspan. By taking all of his experiences over decades of clinical practice, he systematized and simplified his approach into an organized set of principles and techniques.
Retrieved from http://www.stanleygreenspan.com/what-is-floortime/  [November 18, 2014]
The Greenspan Floortime levels of development and the skills that are improved.
Shared Attention 
  • Increase shared attention during child directed and preferred activities
  • Increase greater awareness and interest in the adult
  • Establish proportionate and consistent awareness and interest in the adult and the activity
  • Increase smiling and laughing- Have fun
  • Increase eye contact - Entice child to look at you (without requesting or suggesting it)
  • Increase positive facial expressions directed at the adult (smiling)
  • Increase a broad range of facial expressions directed at the adult (smiling, frowning, etc.)
Purposeful Two-way Communication
  • Make purposeful decisions about what he/she wants to do (i.e. move toward an object or pickup a toy with an idea of what to do)
  • Increase responsiveness (closing circles) to adult’s emotional sounds and facial/body gestures
  • Increase assertive social gestures (grabbing, pushing, pulling, etc. with confidence) in response to something you’ve done, like offering a toy or getting in their way. 
  • Increase initiating (opening circles) own social gestures; (tapping, grabbing, pushing, pulling you) during a pause in the interaction, not in response to something the adult has done. 
  • Increase initiating (opening circles) own social gestures; (tapping, grabbing, pushing, pulling you) spontaneously
Social Problem Solving and Continuous Flow
  • Come to adult to help get their needs met? (Pulling you toward the door, handing you a bag of food to open. etc) 
  • Use multiple steps of physical communication to meet their needs? (Taking you by the hand, putting it on the door knob, looking at you and pointing)
  • Increase the number of combined circles used for problem solving, especially new and unique circles of interaction (ex. searching for an object as part of an interactive game)
  • Take more charge of the interaction/game. (Trying to continue the social interaction even when the adult pauses)
Symbolic Communication
  • Meaningfully express wants and needs (Not repeating, scripting, or being prompted)
  • Generate and express ideas in pretend from real life. (ex. Driving toy car to the store) 
  • Generate and express ideas in pretend that are more creative and abstract. (ex. Driving toy car to the moon) 
  • Express emotions and opinions (I like.., it’s fun, etc.) using words, or other symbols (pictures, signs, etc))
Logical Communication
  • Answer concrete who, what, where questions (who is that?, What is that?, etc)
  • Answer opinion based who, what, where questions (where do you want to go?, what do you want to do?)
  • Answer “Why” questions.


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