Research Supporting A Relationship Based Intervention Model

The field of relationship based early intervention is gaining recognition through recent research and is now considered evidence-based.

DIR/Floortime is derived from over 50 years of study and research about child development from the fields of psychology, medicine, and education, and includes the areas of language, attention, mental health, attachment, infant development, sensory processing, and motor development. Research evidence for DRBI (Cullinane)

In 2014, the PLAY Project published a three‐year multi‐site randomized controlled trial which showed improvements in both parent‐child interaction and autism symptomology.  This large scale study focused on parent-mediated play and relationship focused intervention for young children with autism.  Significant improvements were found in the caregiver/parent and child interaction, the social interaction of children with autism, the social-emotional development of children with autism and autism symptomatology.  Using a relationship based intervention, the PLAY project also found that parent stress and depression had improved.  Read the journal article here

In 2011, two new randomized-controlled studies showed statistically significant improvement in children with autism who used a relationship based approach (DIR/Floortime) versus a mix of behavioral approaches. In 2007, a pilot study looking at pre/post changes with Floortime showed significant gains in children with autism. DIR/Floortime has the strongest research of any intervention to support its effectiveness in improving core deficits such as relating, interacting, and communicating in children with autism. (Greenspan)

The York University study showed groundbreaking brain imaging research on the results of developmental treatment for autism. Children in the York University treatment outcome study who received weekly DIR/Floortime showed a significant increase in brain efficiency. The children who did not receive DIR/Floortime relationship-based treatment showed a significant decrease in brain efficiency.  Previous research has demonstrated how children with autism have too many neural networks at birth and then too few neural networks by adolescence.  This creates a brain that cannot efficiently process and adapt to incoming information (Courchesne).  Relationship-based intervention targets brain efficiency and makes managing incoming information and adapting to the daily challenges of life much more possible for children with autism and other developmental delays.

CDI integrates the latest brain research into an individualized, collaborative intervention approach that is meaningful and effective for children and their families.

Click on this link to view a powerful video showing the York University study results on Floortime.

More research articles on DIR/Floortime (or developmental interventions based on Floortime)

1) A pilot randomized controlled trial of DIR/FloortimeTM parent training intervention for pre-school children with autistic spectrum disorders.  Kingkaew Pajareya and Kaewta Nopmaneejumruslers Autism published online 13 June 2011.
View the online version of this article.

2) Learning Through Interaction in Children With Autism: Preliminary Data From a Social-Communication-Based Intervention.  Devin M. Casenhiser, Stuart G. Shanker and Jim Stieben Autism published online 26 September 2011.
View the online version of this article.

3) J. Salt, J. Shemilt, et al., The Scottish Centre for Autism Preschool Treatment Programme II: The Results of a Controlled Treatment Outcome Study Autism, March 2002, Vol 6 (1) 33-46.

4) Solomon, R., J. Necheles, C. Ferch, and D. Bruckman. “Pilot study of a parent training program for young children with autism: The P.L.A.Y. Project Home Consultation program.” Autism, 2007, Vol 11 ( 3) 205-224.

  • Child Development Institute

  • Early Learning Center

  • All Rights Reserved.
    Site proudly powered by six6one