The House for Developmental approaches
The Miller Method
The Miller Method is a system which addresses the developmental requirements of children on the autism spectrum This method was pioneered by Dr. Arnold Miller utilizing a “Cognitive-Developmental Systems Approach for Children on the Autism Spectrum”. According to the official site of the Miller Method, “We maintain that each child – no matter how withdrawn or disorganized – is trying to find a way to cope with the world. Our task is to help that child use every capacity or fragment of capacity to achieve this.”
The Miller Method has four basic goals:
- It assesses the adaptive significance of the children’s disordered behavior,
- It attempts to transform the disordered behavior into functional activity,
- It attempts to expand and guide the children from closed ways (of living alone or in immediate circle like with parents) into social and communicative exchanges, and
- It guides and teaches professionals and parents as regards the ways and systems to be followed to facilitate children the children affected with autism and related disorders toward reading, writing, number concepts, symbolic plays, and development of typical classroom activities.
The Miller Method uses mainly a two-pronged strategy to restore normal developmental progressions in persons with autism and related disorders. One strategy involves the transformation of children’s aberrant systems (lining up blocks, driven reactions to stimuli, etc.) into functional behaviors; the other is the systematic and repetitive introduction of developmentally relevant activities involving objects and people. Activities are chosen to fill developmental gaps. This process is facilitated by narrating the children’s actions while they are elevated 2.5 feet above the ground on an Elevated Square and similar challenging structures. Elevating the children enhances sign-word guidance of behavior and body-other awareness as well as motor-planning and social-emotional contact. It also helps children transition from one engaging object or event to another or from object involvement to representational play.”
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; and
- 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.