Davis Autism Approach® Program
There are three phases to the Davis Autism Approach®
Individuation, Identity Development, and Social Integration.
The client becomes aware of them self as an individual, a separate entity. Consisting of their own individual mind, body and life force. They begin the process by which ‘neurotypical’ individuals gain a sense of self. Often noted during the ‘terrible-twos’ when a child forms their own opinion and challenges the wishes of their parents and those around them. This stage appears to have been missed or is incomplete with those on the autism spectrum. The individual, due to a lack of orientation, is unable to coherently align their senses in coordination with the world they live in. The Davis tools become important for them to acquire this orientation.
Through a series of sequential exercises the client is taken through a process of self discovery. Once the person has individuated and now has a true sense of their own person and understands where they fit within their own body and within their environment they are then able to move on to the next stage of their development.
“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.” – Ron Davis
The concept of being an individual is attained. Once this happens, the client needs to add understanding, knowledge, wisdom and experiences to their particular self to create their individual identity.
This occurs once a person has a sense of self, and is then able to ‘attach’ their ideas, opinions, likes and dislikes on. It is the core of who they are as a person – the personality that they will have and develop. Without the core then there is no place for the person’s experiences, knowledge and memories of life to be stored.
“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.” – Ron Davis, when speaking of his childhood years.
Through clay modelling of the Life Concepts (change, consequence, time, sequence, order, continue, survive, emotion – to name a few), and through experiencing them in their surroundings the individual is able to gain new knowledge about their environment and what role they can have in the world. Their identity development will then continue to grow with each new experience that they encounter; similar to ‘neurotypical’ development. Once this foundation is laid then the individual is ready for the final stages of the program.
Through the mastery of relationship concepts, the client comes to understand ‘another’, ‘others’ and the bases of a relationship with other people. At this point, individuals are ready to develop social skills and interpersonal relationships. Once again clay modelling is used to present these new ideas to the individual so that they become aware of the ‘rules’ of social interaction. During this stage, we explore models such as ‘others’, ‘trust,’ and ‘relationship’ as well many other concepts relevant to social interaction.