Dr Greenspan's Definition of Following the Lead:
An Excerpt from the newly published
The Floortime Manual™
...But, and this is essential, ‘Following the child’s lead’ does not mean simply going along with whatever the child is doing. Unfortunately some people just aimlessly follow behind a child as the child aimlessly moves from place to place or thing to thing for however long the child wants to. This is not Dr. Greenspan’s intention for following the lead, and it does not accomplish the goal he set out.
“Following the lead” is much more, and it has a very specific goal—that is, to get the child to engage with us and interact. We tap into the child’s interest as the means to enter the door to their world. Ultimately we want to bring them into ours.
If we follow a child’s lead successfully, we join their world and establish a mutual trust and respect. With these emotional ingredients, the child knows that we are there to support them, to help them to regulate, and to encourage them to socially interact and communicate. When we give them what they need and identify their interests, they have more fun and are more motivated to overcome challenges.
The lack of a singular technique is because children can have difficulties regulating their nervous system. Without a regulated nervous system, a child may be more reactive or rigid and will have difficulty interacting and being open to new experiences. By following a child’s lead, we can identify sensory activities that their body and nervous system need to function at a higher level. Whether children are on a swing, trampoline, or a ball, we can see what types of stimulation they choose to help regulate their nervous systems. If we introduce rhythmic patterns into the activities—where we start and stop and start and stop—paying close attention to a child’s response to us, we will see that they will begin to attend and engage and even begin to interact—exactly what a child needs to reach higher levels...