Individuation is what takes place during early childhood development when a child becomes aware that he is a separate individual, with opinions and feelings that are different from those held by others. We usually see this taking place by the time a child is two, and has developed a sense of himself as an individual, has a mind of his own, and thus, rejects suggestions or requests made by others. We refer to this as the “terrible twos”, even though we know it is a healthy and desired developmental step!
Children with autism either fail to complete this step in development, or regress after beginning down the path. This can be seen in many ways – including lack of verbal ability; the inability to use pronouns correctly; sensory sensitivities; and a lack of a sense of self, to name a few.
Ron Davis developed a simple, effective method to enable individuation to be completed for autistic individuals. In the Davis Autism Approach, we assist the individuals to become oriented to the world. They need to have brought all of their senses into alignment so they are aware of their environment, their perceptions of the world are accurate and they begin to experience themselves as separate from others. We use a variety of orientation methods, auditory, visual or kinesthetic, depending upon the individual's strengths.
Then we assist the individual to create a clay model, which can represent them self, right throughout the program so that the individual can begin to integrate the fundamental life concepts into their identity, as the concepts relate to themselves in the world.