“Go for the gleam in the eye!”
– Stanley Greenspan
Empower. Enrich. Enjoy.
Founded by Monica Quezada Lott and the late J. Edward (Eddy) Lott in 2008 as a division of Pro Health Care Services, Relate & Grow served as the sole program offering DIRFloortime and PLAY Project services in central, Ohio.
Seven years later, Relate & Grow became a separate entity under the leadership of Monica Quezada Lott. This critical milestone enabled the program to accept more participants, expand services in new directions, and to collaborate with other Ohio-based and national organizations with similar missions.
Ms Quezada Lott holds a M.S. in education, and completed additional coursework and training that led her to become a Certified PLAY Project and Teaching PLAY Consultant, a Training Leader and Expert DIR/Floortime Provider and a Profectum Fellow.
In addition to her role as Owner and Program Director of Relate & Grow, Monica supervises and mentors other DIR and PLAY Project trainees, provides training at a national and international level through ICDL (The Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning) and through the PLAY Project organization, manages special projects for The Childhood League Center; and serves as a PLAY Project Supervisor of new trainees through the PLAY Project national organization as well as for the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD).
Mónica has a M.S. in Education from Mercy College in New York where she taught Kindergarten and First Grade in the NYC public school system. In 2008, along with her late husband Eddy, she founded the Relate & Grow program in Columbus, Ohio. Since then, she has provided training and educational consultation to parents and other caregivers of children with developmental differences, consultation to schools and daycares, and training to other professionals.
By doing what your child loves, your child will love being with you.
– Richard Solomon, M.D.
Our mission is to empower parents and other caregivers to enrich the development of their children through programs that are… enjoyable to the child and caregivers, enriching to their relationship, and that help remediate any developmental gaps and sensory difficulties while recognizing each child’s individual differences, needs and talents.
- We believe that children are humanity’s most valuable asset.
- We believe that all children have unique needs as well as unique strengths to be nurtured and developed.
- We believe that children depend on us to guide them and help them grow, therefore it is our duty not only as parents but as a society to provide all children with the opportunity to reach their full potential. It is our responsibility to do what is best for each and every child so that they will grow up to be happy and contributing adults.
- We believe and have seen the wonderful outcomes of appropriate early intervention.
- We believe that a child’s family or caregiver is their best advocate. We believe in empowering and training families and caregivers to be the best advocate they can be for their children.
- We believe that families can provide the best quality of intervention for their child through therapy that is individualized, nurturing and relationship-enriching.
- We believe that treating symptoms is not enough, that we must remediate developmental gaps.
- We believe that a “label” is nothing more than a name for a specific set of symptoms and that it does not necessarily lead to a specific outcome.
Young children learn through play and through emotionally meaningful interactions, therefore we specialize in a framework that uses play as a learning and relationship-building tool and that is based on the key principle that by harnessing a child’s affect (emotions) they can experience meaningful learning.
In addition, DIR® and The PLAY Project aim to build healthy foundations for social, emotional, and intellectual capacities rather than focusing on skills and isolated behaviors.
DIR stands for Developmental Individual-differences and Relationship based. It is a framework that guides clinicians, educators and parents to tailor programs to the unique strengths and challenges of each child.
More specifically, it guides us in understanding the development of a child and their unique way of processing and interacting with the world around them so that we may build supportive emotional connections and help uncover their true potential.
This framework helps us to understand typical human development, this knowledge can then be applied to help any person who has educational, social-emotional, developmental or mental-health challenges and at any age.
Relate & Grow is a verified DIRFloortime Program.
DIRFloortime or “Floortime” is one application of DIR in which we get down to the child’s developmental level in order to build a relationship that allows us to expand their developmental capacities. This is often done through play and may often occur on the floor.
For more information about DIR click here.
The PLAY Project is another more structured application of the DIR model. It was developed as an early autism intervention and just as DIRFloortime, it has been proven effective with this population. The PLAY Project provides a systematic model for training caregivers, such as parents, clinicians and teachers, to provide developmental individualized and relationship-based intensive intervention to the child.
PLAY Project and Teaching PLAY Consultants train parents and other caregivers to implement methods and techniques with the child through emotionally meaningful play sessions and daily activities. This allows the child to receive approximately 20 hours of intervention per week in a cost-effective way.
Learn more about the PLAY Project.
Is there evidence behind these interventions?
The PLAY Project and DIRFloortime are evidence-based. They are considered Developmental Social Pragmatic Approaches that have been deemed “Probably Efficacious” in a recent (2015) systematic review titled Evidence Base Update for Autism Spectrum Disorder (Tristram Smith & Suzannah Iadarola (2015) Evidence Base Update for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 44:6, 897-922) This qualification was given based on 10 Randomized Controlled Trials of Developmental Social Pragmatic Approaches. Randomized Controlled trials are the highest quality of research possible.
For More Information: PLAY Project RCT Article and York Article | DIR Evidence Base
Relate & Grow programs are available to all families with concerns about the development of their children regardless of whether the child has a specific diagnosis or not. Intensive intervention can change the course of development for children with developmental challenges, setting them up for a successful school experience and a fulfilling life. Early is best, but it is never too late to start an intervention program.
We work with children ages 0 to 12 who are developing atypically, have sensory processing difficulties, educational needs or difficulties with relating and communicating. Although a diagnosis is not required (and sometimes not available before age 3), we often work with families of children with diagnosis such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, Social Communication Disorder, Sensory Processing Disorder, ADD and ADHD
By providing developmental, individualized relationship-based (DIR) intervention and education services, consultation and training; our Consultants show you practical ways of making every interaction with your child a growing and learning experience. You then provide targeted play intervention sessions and also deliver intervention through daily family practices such as bath time, meals, outdoor play and even car rides.
Home or school visits allow the Consultant to see your child in the place where he/she acts most naturally. The consultant will videotape segments of the visits, to monitor your child’s progress and give suggestions for more effective techniques. This allows the consultant and your family to design and implement an individual plan for your child.
We consider you to be the expert on your child. Our consultants are experts in their field and on our developmental approach, they have been trained to guide you and teach you techniques so that you can be fully empowered to effectively assist the child’s development. Therefore, you must be ready to learn and to become your child’s main therapist.
Caregivers are expected to provide the intensive “dose” of intervention in-between visits from the consultant by spending two to three hours a day putting the DIR and PLAY project model into practice through play-based or semi-structured interactions. This typically occurs in multiple, 20 minute sessions. But this is not only intervention time for your child, this can be fun bonding time for both of you. Many parents express that even though there’s targeted intervention going on at these sessions, it never feels like work because it is so fun.
The first visit is a little different, the Relate & Grow consultant meets with the family, teacher or other caregiver and gets to know the child, their needs and the family’s or caregiver’s preferences and priorities. This includes completing a variety of checklists and assessments by interviewing the caregiver and observing the child, and recording video of 15 minutes of a natural play interaction between them.
Once the consultant returns to the office, they will combine all the information they have gathered into the child’s first “PLAY Plan”; a report that includes a child profile and the initial recommendations for beginning intervention. The caregiver will also receive a copy of the video and a “video review” that will describe important aspects of the recorded interaction that can be used as reflection and teaching tools for expanding learning opportunities within play using specific methods and techniques.
Once the child has been assessed, at subsequent visits the consultant will train the caregiver and will provide intervention through modeling, coaching and discussion of principles, methods and techniques that are most relevant and effective for the child. We will continue to collect 15 minutes of video at each visit, which will be reviewed and sent back to the caregiver with an updated PLAY Plan after each visit. On average, families receive recommendations and guidance every 2 weeks alternating between live visits, and video reviews and reports.
Cost varies by service. A year of school or home PLAY Project services generally costs under $5000
We strongly value meeting the unique needs of each child and family whether through our standard services or through a customized program. We are able to build a custom program that meets your learning style and fits within your budget.