Serena Wieder

Serena Wieder


Serena Wieder, Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist


Reimagining Development – Myth and Potential

Uniting Neurodevelopmental, Regulatory and Mind-Body Approaches in the DIR Model 

The DIR Model revolutionized the paradigm for integrated developmental assessment and intervention in theory and practice for both typical development and autism spectrum disorders.  This presentation will provide an overview of functional emotional developmental capacities (the D), the underlying biologically based individual differences in sensory and motor processing and regulation (the I), and the influence of parent-child interaction and relationships in a cultural and environmental context (the R).  Videos will illustrate the “active ingredients” integrating intellect and emotion, the importance of tailoring interventions to individual differences vs. “one size fits all”, and how emotional development and infant mental health principles are used to advance progress. Research on parent mediated interventions for autism using Floortime, the central intervention in the DIR Model, will also be reviewed.  Last, the new Profectum Parent Toolbox, a free resource for parents, will be introduced.

Play: The Window into the Child’s Emotional Experiences  and the  DIR Hierarchy of Symbolic Play, Reality Testing and Developmental Anxieties

As many have said, play is the “work” of childhood and the essential way to look at the child’s developmental and emotional levels through what they choose, how they organize, the ideas they comprehend, what themes they pick, and how they become symbolic and climb the reality testing level.  Symbolic function is essential for becoming logical and abstract, developing empathy, coping with anxiety and regulation of behavior and self esteem.  Interactive symbolic play is the active ingredient.  This session will highlight the developmental pathways to symbolic function through the levels and themes of interactive play as the child grows, the underlying foundations, what gets in the way when it stalls, and how to get back on track to discovery and joy.