Autism? – Davis Can Help

A Davis Autism Provider can help people on the ASD spectrum participate more fully in life.

We can help people on the ASD spectrum participate more fully in life.

Autism

Autism is defined as a lifelong developmental condition. It is part of a spectrum and is sometimes referred to as an autistic spectrum disorder, or an ASD. The word ‘spectrum’ is used because, while all people with autism share the three main areas of difficulty, it will affect them in a multitude of ways.
The Davis Autism Approach enables the autistic person to interact more effectively with the world.

A person recognised as having an autistic spectrum disorder is likely to have problems in three areas:

  • social interaction
  • communication
  • behaviours and interests

However not all autistic people will display the same difficulties or to the same extent. They will often exhibit symptoms of other disorders which may lead to innaccurate diagnoses. The psychiatrists’ manual that outlines the specific behaviours and problems associated with ASD is currently being refined to enable more accurate diagnoses (DSM V).

Particular challenges arise in identifying those who have Aspergers or are High Functioning Autistics (HFA) because they often have average or above average intelligence and do not appear to have obvious communication problems. 70% of all autistics fall into this category. Sometimes they are labelled as ADD, ADHD or OCD rather than ASD.

The features that commonly unite all people on the ASD spectrum are limitations in their ability to interact with other human beings in an effective and appropriate way and the fact that they may show unusual patterns of development in childhood.

What is the Davis Autism Approach?

The Davis Autism Approach addresses the three problem areas so that autistics can make more sense of the world around them. The highly structured and carefully sequenced activities, that may take several months to complete, develop the knowledge and understanding that will allow the autistic to participate in life more fully.

Summary of the three phases:

The Davis Autism Approach leads the autistic person through three developmental phases.

  • Individuation – the programme mimics the normal process a person experiences to become aware of themself.
  • Identity Development – the programme imitates normal development and helps the autistic create a cognitive structure for learning.
  • Social Integration – the third phase of the programme addresses difficulties with forming relationships.

The Davis Autism Approach has been constructed to enable the autistic person to learn from experiences they haven’t previously learnt from. The highly structured and carefully sequenced activities fill in the missing parts of development. At the end of the programme, which may take many months, the autistic person will be able to participate more fully in life.

The Davis Autism Approach leads the autistic person through the three phases:

  1. Individuation is the first phase. It is the normal process that neurotypical children go through to become aware of themselves. This process is incomplete or missing in the autistic person. The programme uses a combination of focussing techniques and modelling to establish the concept of self.
    Ronald Davis has described his own childhood experiences as follows:
    Way before I started working with autism or had any understanding of it, I referred to myself as having come from a void. My sense of the void was not as existing as an individual, but as existing as both nothing and everything at the same time. There was no sense of being an individual, so there was no “me”. There was nothing to have a sense of identity. Without a “me”, there was no basis for memory or knowledge.
  2. Identity Development is the second phase. A person’s identity is recognised as a product of their thoughts, actions and behaviours. A person’s identity develops continuously all through their life as new experiences become knowledge and modify their behaviour and way of thinking. It is widely accepted by psychologists and educationalists that there are stages of natural cognitive development . The way an autistic person thinks and behaves suggests that some of the concepts involved in this process are missing or not developed. This leaves autistic behaviour often appearing inflexible, situation specific and inappropriate. Therefore it appears that they are unable to learn from life’s lessons.The Davis Identity Development programme has identified all the necessary concepts that allow a person to learn from their experiences and so develop more sophisticated and mature ways of behaving. The programme gives autistics a cognitive structure for learning that will allow them to mimic the normal process of developing a real understanding of life’s everyday events. In turn, this will lead to their having more control and responsibility for their own actions and behaviour.
  3. Social Integration is the final phase. It is the most natural part of development for neurotypical children and is the most problematic for autistics. An inability to form successful and effective relationships is the defining characteristic of autism. Social integration of the autistic person begins with the recognition that others exist and are separate from themselves. Once established the programme then explores the concepts that form the basis of any relationship, be it with an individual or with society. Having completed individuation and the identity development parts of the programme the autistic person will be able to successfully learn and apply the relationship concepts and so participate more fully in life.

Here  is a gorgeous video of Ron Davis talking about red dirt and water and how he came to understand the concepts: those concepts mastered to such effect in the identity development stage of the Autism Approach, using clay.

Please contact an Autism Provider near you if you would like more information on the Davis Autism Approach.

Get in Touch – We Can Help

Contact a Davis Autism provider to find out how we can help you transform your life.

Davis Dyslexia Facilitators Association including Davis Autism Approach
Autism
Autism
Autism Help
Autism in Teenagers
Autism in Children