I recently took the DIR© 101 course, linked here, and I wanted to take some time to review this course and share with you all how amazing I thought it was!
Total Time: 12 live hours (over Zoom)
There are various options to complete these twelve hours, I attended an option that was 4 hours per day (8am-12pm) for 3 consecutive days.
The classes are recorded and you have access to all of the videos and materials forever!
Cost: $179 + $10 for CEU credit
Credits: 1.2 AOTA CEU credits
Population: any; but most useful for pediatric populations, especially on the Autism spectrum
Useful for: practitioners who work with Autistic individuals; anyone who works with children (OT, PT, SLP, psychologist/psychiatrist, social worker, etc.); parents of neuro-divergent children
From an occupational therapy lens, I thought this was a great course for anyone interested in pediatrics or who currently works with children (though this certification/model is most widely known to help support Autistic children).
The DIR© model really serves to outline how we can support positive development in young children (or older children) through building relationships and understanding the fundamental processes rather than focusing solely on ‘goals’ and ‘outcomes’. My biggest takeaway (there were a LOT of takeaways) was how important it is to implement our therapeutic use of self! This is something we learn about in OT school, but this course helps break down exactly how we can do that – what signs to look for, and how modulating our affect can help children regulate themselves and increase connections.
This model and intervention ARE evidence-based, which is amazing! We also spent some time talking about ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis). Just being completely transparent- from what I gathered, they do not support ABA for Autistic kids and we spent some time talking about the research behind these claims. So if you choose to take this course and you also support ABA, this is something to be aware of.
I really liked the setup of the course, it was lecture-based and we listened to certified teachers as well as videos of Dr. Greenspan (the founder) working with clients. My teachers encouraged us to engage with the course and with each other, they also provided us opportunities to do so with probing questions after videos.
Since pretty much anyone can take the course, it was very eye-opening to see different perspectives from other professionals as well as parents, AND there were individuals from all across the world. There were PTs, OTs, SLPs, music therapists, special education teachers, psychiatrists, and other professionals in my class so it was cool to listen to different stories, experiences, and observations from people with their eyes trained to observe things differently from OTs.
One day I do want to become fully certified in DIRFloortime©, but until I have enough money to do so, I will 100% be using the concepts and foundational knowledge I learned from this course in my practice – which was a surprisingly large amount of info and practical information!
I really think that this is such a valuable course, and even though it isn’t a certification course, you still learn so much practical knowledge that you can use in practice. If you can afford the $179 for this course and you are interested, or currently working with children, then I highly highly recommend taking the course!
Side note for all you new grads and students – I was told by many OTs that taking certifications and courses before your first job doesn’t really matter and no employer will care. BUT I fully believe that my resume was pulled from the hundreds of applicants at a prestigious institution because I showed initiative with taking a course like this before my first job. During both of my interviews (at two different facilities) we discussed this course and why I took it, along with other interests I have.
I think that by taking a step to further your knowledge when no one is forcing you to, really shows your dedication to furthering your career and professional development to serve future populations. And you DON’T need to spend money on courses to do this, there are so many free and inexpensive courses on pretty much any topic!
In conclusion, I just really loved this course… If you are at all interested, definitely check it out and consider taking it. I was skeptical about taking it since I’m not working yet, but it didn’t even matter because the knowledge I gained is applicable for any job that I get.