“Face Time” simply refers to the time that you spend with your son or daughter.   Every family will do it differently, but we know that whatever way that you do it, it will probably fall into one of or more the following four categories:

  1. Column I: Time that you already spend together naturally as a part of your ongoing family life and routines;
  2. Column II: Time that you spend doing what you son or daughter wants or needs to do;
  3. Column III: Time that you spend [casually] supervising what your son or daughter does in his or her free time (independent play and self-help tasks that your son or daughter does, and;
  4. Column IV: Time that you spend doing things for your son or daughter that you might consider doing with him or her (examples might include grocery shopping; doing errands; doing household chores; doing hobbies, sports or community activities together…)

Why Face Time is so Important

Parents of children with developmental challenges are aware that in the absence of guidance and teaching, their children often revert to static or stagnant activities.  In other words, their play or use of their free time is not optimal.  It lacks curiosity, exploration and goal direction.  It may be repeititive.  Skills emerge from this slowly or not at all, or worse, they devolve into activity that cannot be shared with others (e.g., self-stimulation).

Our assumption is that any activity from the above four categories can include enjoyable, growth-oriented teaching and learning – if we choose means of teaching that fit the situation and the people involved.  This assumption leads us to these further assumptions:

  • Time spent with you has more potential for teaching and learning than time spend alone or apart
  • Students/Children can learn valuable thinking, emotional, social and behavioral skills in almost any activity if it is done right
  • Parents can develop their teaching and problem-solving skills further by applying them in everyday activities
  • Parents become less dependent upon Therapists and Teachers in the process
  • Quality of Life improves when Students/Children participate in wider varieties of activity
  • The concept of “Face Time” is flexible, as families prefer to spend their time in different ways.
  • Programming should be able to fit teaching and learning into practically any type of Face Time the family prefers

What is the Role of Therapy and Therapists?

We look at the role of therapy primarily as a means of restoring parents’ and other Caregivers’ natural ability to teach and the Student/Child’s ability to benefit from that teaching.  We find over and over again that most parents can teach their children; that many have done well with their typically developing child and there is nothing inherently wrong with their parenting abilities.  But the presence of developmental and behavioral challenges results in damage to this natural “guided participation relationship.”

This is why we use “citizenship” as a way of judging success.  When we restore the guided participation relationship between families and ther children and Teachers and their Students, the Student/Child participates more in more aspects and roles in life, enjoys it more, and the people around him or her enjoy both the process and the results.

We are strong believers in relationship-based therapy (such as Natural Environment Intervention, Floortime and Guided Participation Teaching).   Our Therapists focus heavily on building warm and attuned relationships with your child, and our team strives to build a collaborative (rather than expert) relationship with the entire family.  But our main goal is to empower you for the rest of your lives.

There are times when a Therapist might take the lead.  First, we have to see what works and what doesn’t.  But we do this while in collaboration with you.  In the vast majority of cases, we prefer to work along side with you and then coach you so that you feel as comfortable in a technique or routine as possible.

But sometimes, a child can be violent or particularly unresponsive to teaching.  The natural guided participation relationship is broken down within the family to the point where it isn’t feasible for Therapists to rely on coaching.  In these types of cases, the Therapist will take a temporary, primary lead.

Why we don’t use the “Expert” or “Medical Model” of Intervention

  • We will provide you with a highly skilled and capable Therapist/Consultant.  This person brings their excperience with many children, as well as a clinical team that supports ansd supervises them.But your role is always the first and foremost the expert on your child and your family.   You know what feels right.  You know what is right for your family.

This is why it doesn’t make sense to impose a single methodology on your family.  No single method is a perfect fit for every child, every family and every situation.  You should not suffer the poor fit and possible negative side effects of using a method that doesn’t work for you and that does not fit your natural style and philosophy of parenting.  Further, the method should not become your family or your family’s routine.  If therapy is rendering your family unrecognizable – you need a change!

The Face Time Inventory is a way of measuring your child’s level of participation and life and his or ability to participate and learn from being around you when you do things you normally do.  The level of participation in life’s normal activities and the ease in which you (and others) can spend time with your child or Student is what we define as the quality of citizenship; the quality of life.

Further readings on Quality of Life and Citizenship:

Quality of Life as a Foundational and Guiding Principle of Programming at Sponderworks

“Citizenship” as the Measure of a Person’s Quality of Life

Characteristics of a Home Program Based on Quality of Life

Characteristics of a School Program Based on Quality of Life