Davis Autism Approach® Program
The Davis Autism Approach Program was created by an autistic man for autistic individuals. It is a deeply respectful and non-intrusive approach that empowers individuals to participate more fully in a life they choose, while retaining and further developing the essence of who they are as an autistic individual.
Highly trained, caring Davis Autism Facilitators work individually with each client, so the program is delivered at their pace and according to their needs. A support person also receives in-depth training from the Facilitator so they can support the individual in using the new tools in daily life. If an individual is not able to work directly with a Facilitator, the Facilitator can coach the support person to work with their loved one at home.
Who would benefit from a Davis Autism Approach program?
Any autistic individual aged eight years or over, who has receptive language (i.e. they can understand what is being said) can benefit from this life-changing program.
If an individual does not yet have receptive language, we can still help. However, their Davis Autism journey will take a different path, starting with the Davis Stepping Stones Program beginning steps to the Davis Autism Approach.
What is involved in a Davis Autism Approach program?
Davis Autism Approach is a three-step program.
Step 1: Self-Regulation
Our Facilitator will begin by assisting the individual to become more present in the world, develop accurate perception, gain an awareness of self, and develop the ability to regulate their focus, stress and energy levels. This process includes:
Auditory Orientation – the participant listens to a specifically engineered sound through headphones leading up to and, if necessary, during program sessions. This auditory stimulus – affectionately referred to as the ‘Davis ting’ was designed by Ron Davis to help each participant to develop accurate, stable perceptions and an awareness of being separate from others. This technique can greatly enhance a person’s ability to maintain a calm state of focus.
Release – a simple, effective technique to empower the individual to manage their stress and anxiety levels.
Dial – a visualization technique that enables the individual to monitor and regulate their energy levels according to any situation.
Self-awareness – using plastilina clay, the individual creates a model that represents themselves (Self). This model of Self is used in every part of the program that follows, to allow true understanding of how Self can be involved in all of the fundamental life concepts.
Step 2: New Foundations
Once the individual has developed a greater awareness of Self, established more accurate perception and is becoming more present in the world, we can help them to learn fundamental life concepts that they may not have picked up previously.
The focus of the New Foundations life concepts is to facilitate solid understanding of the following fundamental ideas:
change, consequence, cause and effect, before and after, time, sequence, order and disorder
continue, survive, perception, thought, experience
energy, force, emotion, want, need, intention
motivation, ability, control, responsibility.
Each concept is taught and ‘mastered’ using a highly effective, multisensory hands-on approach, which heightens each participant’s engagement and ability to learn.
First, the individual is guided to create their own clay model of the concept in order to assimilate the idea accurately. The individual is then encouraged to find and examine the concept in the real world. These exploratory experiences are essential for enabling the individual to consolidate and integrate the concept for themselves.
New Foundations also includes a set of simple, powerful exercises that empowers the individual to:
Establish order in the physical environment
They learn how to use the concepts to establish order, determine order, and create and maintain order.
Creating new behaviors
They explore behaviors that have had negative consequences and, using the concepts above, create new, positive outcomes and strategies.
They learn how to increase their personal sense of responsibility by applying the New Foundation life concepts in real-world situations.
Step 3: Building Bridges
Once fundamental life concepts have been consolidated for an individual, they have the foundations on which to start building a bridge into the world of other people.
The Building Bridges stage of the program focuses on facilitating social awareness by exploring the different types of relationships and behaviors we engage in with others.
Rather than having the individual learn a set of social skills, we work with them to explore different categories of relationships and associated behaviors that can be applied across any social situation they may encounter.
Once again, the visual, hands-on technique of plastilina clay is used by the individual to create models of Self and others within these different types of relationships.
To read the Davis Program Delivery Standards click here.
What kind of results do people see with the Davis Autism Approach program?
Clients who have completed the program have experienced many positive changes. These are some of the most common results Davis Autism Facilitators see in their clients, which have been confirmed through independent research:
increased ability to be able to take part in daily activities and create order in their life
a willingness to try new things
greater capacity to cope with change
greater ability to cause a change in their life
a reduction in sensory overload symptoms
reductions in meltdowns
a greater sense of self , and
being better equipped in relationships
What are the options for accessing this program?
Every individual has unique needs. We have developed a variety of delivery options to choose from, so you can find the best solution to suit your needs.
Option #1 -
A Davis Autism Approach Facilitator will take the individual through the full program, while coaching a support person (if needed) on how to reinforce the learning at home, school, work, or in a therapy setting.
Option #2 -
Facilitated and Coached
A Davis Autism Approach Facilitator will take the individual through the initial part of the program, and coach their support person to take them through the remainder of the program at home, school, work, or in a therapy setting.
Option #3 -
The support person – a parent, educator or therapist – can attend a 5-day Davis Life Concepts for Autism Workshop to learn how to take the individual through the program at home, school, work, or in a therapy setting.
“As a parent the biggest gift you can receive is the support to do the very best for your children. The Davis Autism Approach is the biggest and best gift I have ever received, and through this I know my son will be the absolute best he can be.”
Dannette Moriaty, mother
Autism and the Seeds of Change
by Abigail Marshall with Ronald Dell Davis
An in-depth look the Davis Autism Approach: its history, underlying theory, and the remarkable and heart warming stories of Davis Autism facilitators and the children and adults who they have worked with.
ISBN 13: 9781479373345 ISBN 10: 1479373346
Out of Autism
by Cathy Dodge-Smith
As a Davis Autism Facilitator, as well as parent and grandparent of individuals with ASD, Dodge Smith takes the reader on the journey Out of Autism with her clients, bringing it to life so that the reader gets a clear picture of what actually happens through the Davis Autism Approach. Without ignoring or minimizing the difficulties experienced by individuals with ASD and their families, she provides a positive perspective on how things can be different.