What is a Dyad model and how does it work?

The Dyad model pairs two children together to encourage social awareness in a setting that is deliberately set up for success. This model is intended for children with significant sensory or regulatory challenges or those who have difficulty with transitions or changes in their routine. It is also excellent for children who are having difficulty separating from their parents and simply do not do well in noisy, large, or dynamic classroom environments. It is a one or two hour session that introduces the child to the typical classroom cues and introduces adult-directed transitions slowly and gently.

This model reduces the stress for the child of entering a novel environment in which social challenges confront them immediately. A dyad interaction supports the child to express social interest in their peers and encourages social interactions in a non-threatening and safe way. Motivating play activities are introduced by the therapist running the dyad using a child-directed floor-time approach. Parents are usually present for these sessions, at least initially, and it promotes a form of gentle separation initiated by the child.

The Three Stages of the Dyad Model

Stage 1 : Dyad Introduction

Stage 2 : Socialization w/ Peer

Stage 3 : Integration to Group


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