Here are some of our most frequently asked questions
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What is the aim of the Davis Autism Approach program?
The overall purpose of the Davis Autism Approach program is to allow the autistic individual to participate more fully in life. In doing this, the program aims to:
empower people with autism, and their families, to better navigate their way through life
draw out the potential within the autistic individual
empower the autistic individual to be responsible for self
to enable the autistic individual to interact appropriately and successfully with others.
The program aims to 'plant the seeds' that will enable change, but the resulting growth is natural and nurtured by the unique capacity and inclinations of each person.
What is involved in the Davis Autism Approach program? There are three main parts (in order) to this program: helping the person with autism to individuate by building a stronger sense of self; helping them to develop their identity in the world by exploring fundamental life concepts and, thirdly, enhancing the person's ability to integrate socially by looking at different types of relationships and how they operate.
What is the underlying philosophy behind the Davis Autism Approach program? We see the cause of the symptoms of autism as the result of an atypical developmental path. Autism is not an impairment of intellect or cognition, but a problem with 'integration'. The person has not been able to integrate new information and experiences into their life in the same way as non-Autists. Whilst totally respecting what it is to be autistic and with no desire to change the person, we offer the opportunity for an individual gain missing knowledge and understanding so that they are able to begin to integrate experiences and transfer knowledge across situations, giving them control over their behaviour, so that it can be a choice rather than a reaction.
What changes will I see and how long will they take in a Davis Autism Approach program? Everyone is different with different, needs and expectations; the program has been designed by an autistic individual, for autistic individuals, to enable them to participate more fully in life. We have seen:
changes in communication, both socially and verbally,
a greater tolerance to confusion,
an increased awareness of the immediate environment.
changes in the understanding of ‘change’ and ‘consequence’, resulting in reduced stress, due to the individual being more able to predict outcomes of varying situations.
individuals being more confident, more independent, enjoying and understanding social situations, and being able to take on responsibilities.
The most common change that has been noted is the individual and their families report they are much happier and less stressed.
As for how long it takes, some changes are obvious and immediately apparent, whereas others will take time. The program is designed to create life long change through building a foundation upon which all future growth and development can be built.
Do I have to do any work during or after the program? No matter which program is being completed, we would encourage the family to be involved as much as possible and get to know the concepts for themselves during the program; this way they can be integrated faster and more effectively into the home environment. There are no drilling or repetitive exercises to be completed at home; we only ask that the concepts are discussed and integrated in a fun, interactive way.
Can anyone do a program, and at what age do you start? Davis Stepping Stones Program If an individual is between the ages of 3 and 8 or had low/no verbal ability, they are likely to be able to access the Davis Stepping Stones program.
DavisAutism Approach Program For those over 8 and with verbal ability, they may be able to access the Davis Autism Approach if:
they have the ability to understand and comply with instructions from the Facilitator or support person.
They can make something (a clay model) that can represent ”self”.
If the individual is not able to meet the above criteria for the full Davis Life Concepts for Autism program, then the Davis Stepping Stones program may be an option. DavisConcepts for Life Program This is designed for those who are not on the autism spectrum, and can be accessed by anyone over the age of 8, who has the motivation to compete the program.
Is there a possibility that my child will regress? Because the concepts are designed to set a foundation for future learning, we find that individuals continue to progress building more understanding of the world through life’s experiences. We have had only one case where, due to ‘mental retardation’, the individual’s progress after the program was minimal.
My child is on medication, will this affect how you work with him/her? We ask that you disclose any medications to your Facilitator, who will discuss how they could affect the effectiveness of the program. We have found that some medications prolong the time taken for individuation to occur and to grasp some of the concepts. In such cases, the program may take a little longer.
My child has very limited language; can you still work with him/her? Our Davis Stepping Stones program can be used with individuals with limited language. As long as there is sufficient understanding in order to comply with instructions, we can begin. We have found that language can improve during individuation; also, in these situations, we have found the Facilitator coaching the parent to be an effective option.
How does the Davis Autism Approach differ from other autism programs? The Davis Autism Approach is the only program developed by an autistic for autistics. This developmental program is unique in its approach as its focus is on enabling individuals to gain a strong sense of self (through Individuation) and then developing an identity through mastering fundamental life concepts that can be transferred into any situation. Social integration is the final piece to the program, as it is essential that social integration is built upon the foundation of individuation and a strong core identity. Learning is holistic and multi sensory. The pace of the programme is dictated by the client - they are never coerced or forced into participating.
What evidence is there for the Davis Autism Approach? Personal accounts of the Davis Autism Approach can be found on this website. We are currently gathering data in relation to the Davis Autism Approach Program. The participants in this study are age from 8 years to adult. Results so far are showing that changes are seen in social skills; a person's ability to manage change and transitions; their self awareness and their awareness of others. Changes in our autistic clients are monitored by use of well-established questionnaires completed by parents/carers before and after the program. The two questionnaires that research team are using are:
The Autism Quotient devised by Simon Baron- Cohen et.al as a screening test for autism.
Social Communication Disorder Checklist devised by Skuse.
We are also very keen for independent research to explore various aspects of the Davis Autism approach. If you are interested in formulating some independent research, please contact us. For more information on our research or an update on interim results, please contact our research team.
"He has more self-esteem; he is strong in conversations now.' Comment from his grandmum: “He used to walk with his back bent, as if he carried a heavy weight. Now he stands straight and proud. He looks at you into your eyes, with very clear eyes. He changed a lot!" Mum of 17-year-old male – Nederland