Autism Solutions of Ontario
The Davis Autism Approach Program; why it works:
Elizabeth L. Currie Shier, B.Sc., Licensed Davis Autism Approach® Facilitator/Coach
1219 Winterbourne Drive, Oakville ON L6J 7G3, Canada
firstname.lastname@example.org www.autismsolutionontario.com 905 334-8740 or (905) 829-4084
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The Autism Solution
Like many of the concepts, change is something most of us take for granted, but can cause difficulty for those with Autism. Have you ever wondered why children (and adults) with Autism dislike change and transition? If they haven't learned that this basic concept is at work all the time, it can create fear and anxiety. By exploring it in a fun and creative way, the client can become familiar with it. Once they are feeling safe and confident with the new idea, the client and facilitator go exploring to find the concept at work in the real world.
This process is repeated for about 30 of these basic life concepts including consequence, time, emotion, behaviour, motivation and responsibility. The step-wise progression through the concepts allows for ideas to be built on each other in a safe and non-threatening way.
For a diagram of the concepts, click on this link to view this site: http://www.davisautism.com/how_does_itwork.html.
Once the identity development portion of the program has been completed, it's time to put the icing on the cake.
Step 3: Social Integration
When the client has developed a good sense of self, and mastered the concepts necessary to understand how "self" interacts with the world, it's time to have the client explore concepts necessary to navigate in society. This is very strong area of need for most people with Autism who find the motivation and behaviour of others baffling, confusing and overwhelming. The concepts explored and mastered include things like trust, rules, and right & wrong.
More traditional approaches to Autism do not always get to the root of the problem. When this happens, many skills that the individual learns and demonstrates "in session" with therapists do not transfer to other environments. Other therapies are great at managing one or two difficult characteristics, but do not provide the missing pieces the way this program does.
Ron Davis' understanding of neuro-typical human development as well as his own experience of being Autistic gave him the foundation to develop a program that is unique, innovative, gentle and medication-free. It begins with the premise that each individual is born with everything they need to develop into fully functioning individuals, able to make choices and lead happy and fulfilled lives. However, for whatever reason, the processes usually in place to make it happen either failed to happen at all or happened differently creating incredibly gifted and talented individuals that often have challenges with everyday things. We do not want to "cure" anything - we simply want to give our clients the tools and concepts that will allow them to become who and what they want.
By kick-starting this natural process, we begin to see the individual developing new skills and abilities that function along-side their neurodiverse traits allowing them to participate more fully in a life of their choosing. That, in a nutshell, is what this powerful program does.
Step 1 - Orientation and Individuation
Ron has said, "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 no sense of identity. Without a “me”, there was no basis for memory or knowledge."
Ron's description gives us true insight into Autism. He indicates that he was disoriented from the true facts and conditions of his environment - it is impossible that he was actually everything and nothing at the same time. As with many individuals with Autism, his senses were not perceiving the environment correctly and were not working in harmony, which gave rise to his Autistic challenges.
Somehow Ron started to become oriented to his environment and began to experience the world around him with his senses working in harmony. Although he doesn't know exactly how it happened for him, he has spent years developing simple mental and physical exercises that can guide Autistic individuals to this state of being oriented.
This first step in the program is done one-on-one with a licensed Davis Autism Approach Facilitator. Using the simple methods developed by Ron, the client begins to harmonize their senses and understand their environment more accurately. Once this has happened, the facilitator takes the client through a short series of concepts about the idea of "self" to allow them to develop a true sense of self - we call this individuation. Only then are they ready for the next step.
Step 2: Identity Development
Humans that have developed neurotypically have done so by coming to an understanding of the world through experience. They have, for the most part, figured out how the world works and how they fit into it. This is not the case for individuals with Autism. If an Autistic individual hasn't been perceiving their environment properly, they will have an incorrect or incomplete understanding of things the rest of us take for granted.
The second part of the program, also completed one-on-one with a facilitator (or by a loved one coached by the facilitator), provides the client with the concepts necessary to begin to make choices, predict outcomes, and interact with things and people in a way that allows them to be their true self - in essence to begin to more fully participate in life. Ron has engineered these concepts into a structure which is mastered step by step. We use the kinetic and creative media of clay and then explore each concept in the real world, testing and experiencing it in different environments. We start with the basic idea of change:
After the program
Once the client has become oriented to their environment, created a firm concept of who they are, and mastered the concepts in the program, they have been armed with what they need to participate fully in life. Then it is time to sit back and watch the client experience all that life has to offer; testing out the concepts to determine their validity, and beginning to display behaviours that demonstrate their new-found knowledge and confidence. This transition begins during the program, but continues long after as the client settles into using their new tools and naturally thinking with their new understanding of the world and how they fit into it. It is a truly miraculous transformation.
For More Information
To learn about this program in depth, explore the book Autism and the Seeds of Change which is easy to order online, or you can contact us to purchase a copy. Also check out the Ron Davis Autism Foundation here https://www.rdautismfoundation.org/