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Strengths and Weaknesses of Autism

I'm currently working with a girl through the Davis Approach to Autism program.

While in dyslexia and ADHD we talk about problems managing focus, in autism the state of focus is not fully developed. And with the help of Davis tools, we begin to develop it - this happens at the stage of preparation for the program.

That is, a completely new internal state appears in a person with autism - a state of focus... And in order to learn how to manage it during the program, we, Davis facilitators, ask our clients to call it something, give it a name. And my current girl called him “HAPPINESS” - causing me a wave of emotion! :-) And she is absolutely right... Now I will explain to you why. I'm sure you won't be able to disagree with her...

When I first met a child on the autism spectrum, I had the feeling that he was very far from me, all in his own thoughts, and there were incredibly many of them... And when I call him and ask questions, he simply does not know where I am search for thoughts in this chaos...

To understand how a person with autism feels, imagine a MARKET with many traders and a crowd of people... And you walk among them, each trader tells you something, people want your advice, someone shouts in the distance, someone is singing nearby, someone is crying, someone is pulling you by the sleeve, somewhere nearby a train is rumbling, the smells of sweets, fish and incense are mixed, the colors are rippling in your eyes, and all this is moving, drawing you into its flow... In it’s difficult for this crowd to navigate and it’s not at all clear where to go... Suddenly you hear your name somewhere, and you need to answer the question, but who and where is calling you? Where to look and where should you go?

Then the child’s mother gently patted him on the shoulder and repeated the question. The child was glad for the “clue”: the direction where the sound came from suddenly opened up in front of him, so he began to listen in that direction, trying to find and examine the face of the questioner through the crowd of people...

And imagine that this market is with you all your life, without the possibility of leaving it!.. The scenery around the market changes, but everything inside it always remains with you. People, of course, adapt over time, but can you imagine how much this overloads the brain?

And this is where the fun begins! Davis' trainer appears and says, "To prepare for the program, listen to the audio focus orientation sound." You put on your headphones (you only need to listen to the sound setting with headphones) and suddenly the outline of a bridge appears in front of you, opening the road from this crowded place for the first time! At first it is faintly visible, but after a while the object becomes perfectly visible and one fine day you understand that it is necessary and possible to go there! And off you go. You get onto the bridge, go down and suddenly... you find yourself on a completely EMPTY, quiet, and DESERT street literally around the corner... Still not believing your eyes, ears, nose and sensations, you exclaim: “Oh God, what HAPPINESS!” What a joy it is to just be in peace and quiet!..

Now do you understand why the girl called the state of focus “happiness”?

From that day on she has two states:

  • focus, for a calm and relaxed contemplation of the physical reality around her

  • and autistic, for the work of extremely creative imagination

Now let’s further imagine how the problematic condition of autism becomes its STRENGTH.

This bridge between two states remains with a person forever. And when a problem needs to be solved, he simply runs onto the bridge and loudly shouts to the market: “Hey, people, what do you think about this?” And this whole motley crowd begins to prompt and advise him from various angles on various aspects different opinions... This is how thousands of details appear... And this is the POWER of autism: scrupulous thinking about details. Now do you understand who makes scientific discoveries and how?...

But here’s a task for you to think about: what if this market is filled with fears? Can you imagine what kind of nightmare you could find yourself in, because fears will creep in from all sides!.. This is how anxiety arises, but more on that next time.

© Copyright 2024

Elena Nikulina, licensed specialist DDAI (Davis Dyslexia Association International) for the correction of dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, Attention Deficit Syndrome with or without Hypo/Hyperactivity, and other problems in training according to the author's method of Ronald Davis, methodologist RDAF (Ronald Davis Autism Foundation ) to help people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Director of Dyslexia Correction and Support Centre, London, UK.

For more information on how to treat dyslexia, ADD(D) and other learning difficulties, see Ronald Davis' books The Gift of Dyslexia, The Gift of Learning, and Autism and the Seeds of Change: Achieving Full Participation in Life Using the Davis Approach to autism." — Abigail Marshall (author), Ronald Dell Davis (author).​

Link to the RDAF website and full description of the programs:

Painting by Rustam Bazarov “The whole world is a MARKET”, from the Internet.

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