DIR Conference 2018!

DIR Conference 2018!

Let’s Dance! Play and Joy through Collaboration in the DIR® Floortime Approach Rebecca School hosts the ICDL Regional Conference

Date:  Friday, March 9th, 2018  8:00 AM- 3:30 PM

*There will be a special What is Floortime session pre-session from 7:30 AM- 8:30 AM. This is highly encouraged for any people who are new to DIR. There is no additional fee for the additional one hour training. If interested you must register prior to the event by emailing Melissa Sinacori at msinacori@rebeccaschool.org.

Location:  Rebecca School- 40 East 30th St. NY, NY

*Click here for a list of nearby Hotels & Parking Garages


Time Session
7:30- 8:30 Pre-session: requires pre-registration

What is Floortime?
Melissa Sinacori, M.S.Ed

Please RSVP to msinacori@rebeccaschool.org if you are interested. This session is highly recommended for anyone new to Floortime as it will cover the basics of the model and will provide an important foundation for the rest of the conference.

CEUs are not available for this session.

8:00 -9:00 Registration and coffee
9:00-10:15 Keynote:

Jesse Saperstein

“Autism = Awesomeness”

Bio: Jesse A. Saperstein is a best-selling author, autism advocate and motivational speaker.  Jesse visits schools on a regular basis and has been successful with wiping out bullying or at least dramatically alleviating it with every presentation.  He was contracted by New York University (NYU) to be a part of their “Keeping it Real Project” (www.projectkeepitreal.com)

10:15- 10:30 Coffee and transition to break out sessions
10:30- 12:00 Break out #1- Pick one of the AM sessions

See break out schedule

12:00- 12:45 Lunch provided
12:45- 2:15 Break out #1- Pick one of the AM sessions

See break out schedule

2:15- 2:30 Transition back to the 5th floor gym
2:30- 3:30 Closing Session:

Developing the “I” in Adulthood:
The Joys and Bumps of Life After School Ends

Panelists include: Daniel Buchsbaum, Zio Correa, Jr., Taylor Newsum, Isabel Piwnicki & Sam Wilkinson.

Facilitated by Lauren Tobing-Puente, PhD, Licensed Psychologist, Private Practice
Joshua Noble, LCSW. Rebecca School Transitions Coordinator



AM SESSIONS (10:30- 12:00)

Colleen Gabbert MS, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist
Donnie Welch
Creative Writing Teacher
Courtney Latter MS, CCC-SLP, TSSLD
Speech Language Pathologist 
Move(ment): The Poetics of Purposeful Communication & Action


The cadence of poetry can function as an introduction to rhythm and timing which helps students with Autism and Developmental Disabilities communicate and interact with their environment. Through the use of an interdisciplinary model the presenters will showcase support of students at various developmental capacities in creating and sharing ideas while moving together as one.
Peter Galub- MA, MT-BC, LCAT. Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself Again: Using Songs To Build & Cultivate Relationships A song can serve as a powerful therapeutic tool to help build and cultivate relationships. Through video examples, this Music Therapist will illustrate how he uses songs as a resource to help foster opportunities for growth and meaningful connection within the context of a relationship in DIR Floortime.
Rae Leeper, M.A.
Sam Stabile, M.S. Ed. Educational Supervisors
Kara Bernstein, M.Ed.
Michelle Flax
Head Teachers 
Building Learning Communities: Differentiating Instruction in a DIR Floortime Classroom Head Teachers will show video case study examples of how to support both group as well as individualized instruction in order to support student’s unique learning profiles. DIR Floortime strategies will be highlighted to illustrate the use of affect, sensory support, and emotionally meaningful content as teachers help to glue students together in group learning activities.
Colette Ryan MSEd.-DIRC special education teacher & ICDL member Going for the Gleam in the Eye! One of our cornerstone concepts as Floortimers, going for the gleam in the eye sets the tone for a session filled with joy. This presentation describes the gleam in the eye, why it is important, and what it bring to a session, and includes a case study with examples of getting the gleam in the eye.
Lynne Kalvin, LCSW
Shira Segev, LCSW
Erin Curran, LMSW
Social Work Department Rebecca School
“My brother has autism” -a sibling’s perspective Siblings of children with special needs including Autism face many similar challenges to those of their parents. Sibs frequently take on responsibilities at a very young age in order to help out their parents.
Many sibs report experiencing a wide range of feelings including love, compassion and caring as well as guilt, frustration and resentment.
This presentation will explore the origin of these experiences using video interviews, poems, as well as a discussion of research and theory. This presentation will also highlight a discussion about our annual sibling day as well as other ways in which siblings can be supported.



PM SESSIONS (12:45- 2:15)

Maude Le Roux, OTR/L, SIPT, DIR Expert / Trainer Symbolic Play: Reinforcing Theory of Mind and Emotional Perspective in Social Skill Why do children prefer to play with specific toys? What is their symbolic meaning? Theory will be provided on layers of emotional growth in the subconscious, illustrated through video case samples. Both children with higher functioning skills, as well as the extraordinary abilities of those more profoundly impacted by developmental delay will be discussed.
Emily Rozanski, MA Early Childhood Education

Tanya Shteinfeld, MFA, ATR

The Art of Play: Integrating Art Activities in a Floortime Classroom Art-making increases self-awareness which is a cornerstone for relating and communicating. The Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC) is a means to classify and organize art interactions with the advancement of complex mental and emotional processing. Using art activities within the ETC framework is a means to promote functional-emotional development (FEDC 1-6), develop rapport, and support educational goals in a Floortime setting.
Dave Nelson, MBA, MS, LPC Executive Administrative Director, The Community School Building Friendship, One Interaction at a Time: A Case Study The process of two people getting to know each other is complex and subtle; for people with challenges in relating and communicating, even harder. This case study will demonstrate the evolving relationship of two middle-school aged boys, exploring how caregivers can best be supportive of the relationship evolution, possibly resulting in true friendship.
Jennifer Shonkoff, M.A., CCC-SLP, TSSLD Don’t Flip the Script A hallmark of ASD is “echolalia” or what we typically refer to as “scripting,” which is defined by Prizant and Rydell (1984) simply as, “the repetition of utterances produced by others.” It is a strategy used by typically developing children as they acquire language, and can be helpful for individuals with ASD as they begin to broaden their use of language and comprehension of the world in meaningful contexts.
Zachary Kandler, MA, MT-BC
Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapist
From Beethoven to Star Wars: Accessing Musical Passions to Inspire Transformation This presentation will explore a music therapy case with a child with an anxiety and developmental disorder. Using video excerpts, the presenter will highlight the use of playful musical experiences to support a young boy in working through anxieties around developing close relationships and sustaining thinking-based interactions.