Comparative Analysis of Two Intervention Approaches to Mental Development of Children with ASD



The paper presents a comparative analysis of the Emotional-Semantic approach and the DIR / Floortime approach to intervention in the childhood autism. Their conceptual similarities go as follows: both approaches are based on the idea of development and normal development principles, their goal is normalization of an autistic child’ mental development, they consider childhood autism as a biologically determined disorder connected to problematic affective sphere development and aim at engaging an autistic child into an emotionally valuable relationship. The approaches divert in considering the genesis of the affective sphere difficulties in autism, outlining diagnostic milestones, setting purposes of the adult’s joining the child’s activities and assessing intervention efficiency. Emotional-Semantic Approach considers the child’s inability to build relationships with the environment as a whole (not only with another person) as the main problem of the affective sphere development; it bases diagnostics on qualitative peculiarities of autistic disorder; it aims at helping the child comprehend the situation while developing joint and divided experiences and broadening the range of the child’s emotions.

General Information

Keywords: childhood autism, mental development disorders in autism, psychological intervention in childhood autism, Floortime therapy, Emotional-Semantic approach, development of affective domain, development of emotional relationships

Journal rubric: Workshop and Methods


For citation: Nikolskaya O.S. Comparative Analysis of Two Intervention Approaches to Mental Development of Children with ASD. Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2018. Vol. 26, no. 4, pp. 169–186. DOI: 10.17759/cpp.2018260411. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Greenspan S., Wieder S. Engaging Autism. Moscow: Terevinf, 2013. 512 р. (In Russ.).
  2. Nikol’skaya O.S. Psihologicheskaya klassifikaciya tipov detskogo autizma [Types of childhood autism’ psychological classification]. Voprosy Psikhologii, 2017, no. 5, pp. 14—25.
  3. Nikol’skaya O.S., Baenskaya E.R. Detskii autizm kak sistemnoe narushenie psikhicheskogo razvitiya rebenka [Childhood autism as a system disorder of a child’ psychological development]. Voprosy Psikhologii, 2017, no. 3, pp. 17—28.
  4. Nikol’skaya O.S., Baenskaya E.R. Korrektsiya detskogo autizma kak narusheniya affektivnoi sfery: soderzhanie podkhoda [Correction of a childhood autism as an affective sphere disorder: content of an approach]. Defektologiya [Defectology], 2014, no. 4, pp. 23—33.
  5. Nikol’skaya O.S., Baenskaya E.R., Libling M.M. Autichnyi rebenok: puti pomoshchi [Autistic child: ways of aid]. Moscow: Terevinf, 1997. 342 p.

Information About the Authors

Olga S. Nikolskaya, Doctor of Psychology, Head of the Laboratory of containment and methods of educating children with emotional disturbances, the Institute of Special Pedagogy of the Russian Academy of Education, Moscow, Russia



Total: 3517
Previous month: 21
Current month: 11


Total: 1746
Previous month: 5
Current month: 2