Davis Dyslexia and Autism Facilitators' Association of Canada

Davis Autism Approach ®

The most well-known and evident manifestation of autism spectrum disorder is failure to develop “neurotypical” social relationships. It may be severe, as in children who spend most of their time rocking, twirling objects, or seemingly locked in their own world. It may be mild, as in individuals whose social behavior is seen as “odd”, usually resulting in the individual being shunned or ignored by peers. The degree of difficulty with verbal and social abilities will help to determine where the individual sits on the autism spectrum, and what intervention may be appropriate.

All individuals on the spectrum will display many of the following characteristics to a greater or lesser degree. No individual will have all of the characteristics. If you have a loved one that seems to have many of these characteristics, we can help.

Common Behaviours and Traits of
Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Not interested in social activities of peers
  • Does not seem to understand social situations
  • Often gets along better with older or younger children
  • Has a high level of interest in one or more areas, but limited interest in topics of interests to peers
  • Has problems with motor coordination
  • Over-reacts to some stimuli, such as specific sounds, smells, tastes, or textures
  • Is comfortable with routines, and anxious when routines are changed
  • Has problems with attention regulation and learning at age-appropriate pace
  • Is often hyperactive
  • Delayed in development of speech and/or has problems using language in socially appropriate ways
  • Has difficulty with abstract language, figures of speech, or similes
  • Often seems to be on a high level of alertness or anxiety
  • Has a strong sense of justice and may refuse to follow rules that seem unfair to him/her
  • Obsesses on one idea and cannot seem to let it go or change activity or topic
  • Has significant problems with adaptive behaviour, especially with regard to anger management, anxiety and depression

Copyright© 2014 by Cathy Dodge Smith, Ed. D., RP, used with permission

A pathway to full participation in life

The Program

Davis Autism Approach consists of three parts, each one addressing the fundamental challenges experienced by individuals with autism as they develop the ability to participate fully in life.

Me clay model
self: representing all of the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding that ‘me’ has ever had

Part I – Individuation

The first step in opening doors for individuals with autism is to help them be more fully present in the real world. We do this through a process called orientation. With orientation, perception of the world becomes accurate, individuation begins to take place, and the client can then start sorting out where s/he ends off and the rest of the world begins. We assist the client to create a model of ‘self’, which will represent the client throughout the next parts of the program process.

Change clay model

change: something becoming something else

Part II – Identity Development

Typical children begin a developmental journey at birth, and meet what are known as ‘developmental milestones’ in a more-or-less organized and predictable trajectory and within a generally predictable time-frame. Because an individual with autism is disoriented much, or even most, of the time, development does not follow the typical pattern. Once individuation takes place, the individual is able to move through those developmental steps. The identity development phase of Davis Autism Approach speeds up the process and makes sure that it takes place in a logical, sequential, and thorough manner.

We accomplish this by leading the individual with autism through a concept mastery program which instills core concepts, necessary for functioning effectively in this world, into his identity.  We do this by using clay for creating models to represent the concepts, and then exploring the real world to see how these concepts actually work. There are over forty concepts that are mastered in this way, leading finally to the concepts of motivation and responsibility. Each concept builds on the ones that came before, so knowledge is constantly being built.

Others clay model

others: you represent others meaning individuals separate from “me”

Part III – Social Integration

This segment of Davis Autism Approach leads the individual into the world of other people. This is accomplished through the same process of concept mastery: using clay to show the meanings of ideas regarding how relationships work. It is here that empathy can begin to develop, as we explore how other people think, why they think differently, and how relationships work.

This one-on-one program can be delivered by a Davis Autism Approach Facilitator/Coach. This is usually done in one-week blocks, and can take from three to six weeks. Alternatively, a parent or loved one can be trained and mentored by a Davis Autism Facilitator/Coach to deliver the program, or can attend 2 to 5 day workshops to learn the skills necessary to complete the program at home.

Davis Autism Approach® is a trademark of Ronald D. Davis. Commercial use of this trademark to identify educational, instructional, or therapeutic services requires licensing by the trademark owner. For more information go to www.davisautism.com

NOIT – Cutting Edge Assistive Technology for Those with Non-verbal Autism

Ronald D. Davis has rounded out his 35 years of helping individuals with non-verbal autism by developing a unique assistive technology called the NOIT™. For whatever reason, individuals with non-verbal autism didn’t create their own natural orientation. Because it didn’t fully occur,  the individual is left unable to control their perception of the environment.

The result is that the individual lives in a constant state of sensory overload or devises strategies to manage this overload themselves. This gives rise to many of the common characteristics we see in nonverbal autistic individuals. By learning to achieve an oriented state, they are able to perceive their environment much like the rest of us. This naturally leads to a lessening of behaviors characteristic of autism and allows the individual to spend more time learning how to interact appropriately.

The function of the NOIT is to support an individual while they learn to establish a stable orientation. It cannot cause this directly, but by putting an auditory stimulus in the exact same place at frequent intervals (every eight seconds) for long periods of time, the person learns to keep their attention in one place. By keeping their attention in one place, they are able to accurately perceive the world around them from this place and their senses can work in harmony. When they can do this, we say that the person is “oriented”.

Families of children who have used the NOIT unit have reported the following changes: fewer repetitive or ritualistic behaviors, less self-injury, improved focus and attention, improved social interaction, and improved language skills.

NOIT Research LLC

NOIT Use for Non-autistic Individuals

Although originally developed for non-verbal individuals, field trials have demonstrated that the NOIT offers children and adults the opportunity to master the art of focusing whenever they choose. The NOIT has been found to be very useful for people with diagnoses of ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorder during and after a program. However, this unique learning tool is useful for anyone who wishes to improve their ability to be present and attentive in any situation. Many Davis Facilitators are using the NOIT in their offices during programs or suggesting that clients purchase their own for home use.

Benefits of the NOIT include:

  • maintaining focus and attention
  • following instructions
  • social skills
  • receptive and expressive language skills
  • balance and hand/eye coordination

Please visit www.noitresearch.org for more information.
NOIT™ is a trademark of Ronald D. Davis.

NOIT Research LLC
NOIT Research LLC
Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones

Davis Autism International has developed a program for young or verbally-limited individuals with autism who are not ready for the full Davis Autism Approach Program. The program has similar content to the first piece of the full program, but concentrates on helping the individual learn the basic concepts of self, another/others, change and consequence. This program can be provided by a Licensed Davis Autism Approach Facilitator, or by a parent or caregiver who can be coached by a Facilitator or attend a two-day workshop to learn how to do the steps with their own loved one.

For more information see http://www.davisautism.com/events.html

We welcome your questions or inquiries. Please contact us at [email protected] or fill-in and submit the form.

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