by Nadine Antonelli, MD
Like many parents of a child diagnosed on the spectrum, I have spent countless hours on the internet researching any and all possible therapeutic interventions, reading random blogs, and joining on-line networking groups like Yahoo Groups. After exhausting the local resources, reaching out to a group of virtual strangers didn’t seem all that strange.
When our family first embarked on our Floortime journey, there was nobody in our community in a position to provide support. Dr. Stanley Greenspan’s web-based radio show, written materials, and training videos did lead us in the right direction. However, if it were not for the continued support and camaraderie of those members of the Yahoo Group “Floortime”, I wouldn’t have gotten very far. The care and support that my listmates warmly offered in those first few months validated my choice to use this new approach with my son. I am extremely grateful for the work of Cindy Harrison, an SLP on DIR faculty who created “Floortime”.
After some time, I became overwhelmed with the volume of posts addressing autism causation theories and biomedical interventions. Having a medical background, I felt it “my duty” to address every post that touted the benefits of biomedical interventions or informed others of “the cause of autism” whether or not I had the time or desire to do so. There also seemed to be a subgroup of members on “Floortime” who similarly yearned for a more focused floortime group. In July of 2005, I created a new Yahoo Group called “floortimers” to fill this need. Two years later, we have just reached 600 members and are still growing. We are comprised of caregivers and professionals from all over the world who are exchanging ideas, helping one another find resources, and providing support to those who would otherwise feel alone on their journey.
In my darkest hours, the support of my listmates has been essential to my sanity. I can’t imagine how I would have made it through the past four years without the connections I have made through cyberspace. I have even had the pleasure of meeting many of my listmates in person at the ICDL conferences, the DIR Summer Institute and other DIR/Floortime workshops and seminars.
Here is a description of “floortimers”:
“This group was created as a forum where individuals using a floortime approach can share ideas and provide support for one another. Parents, caregivers, therapists, educators and related professionals who work with children using this model are invited to participate.
In order to maintain the integrity of the group, we ask that you refrain from introducing highly controversial topics such as the vaccine-autism connection, mercury-autism connection or the non-conventional medical treatment of autism and related disorders.
When these topics do come up, as they invariably do, we encourage you to take them off-list.”
To join floortimers, send an e-mail to: email@example.com
Hope to meet you on the list!
Nadine Antonelli, MD
Moderator of “floortimers”