The Desorgher Method is a holistic approach to bringing about emotional, spiritual, mental and physical well-being in people suffering under the condition of autism.
It grew out of the Professional Parenting model known as ‘the Magic of the Family’, and has been most successfully used for those exhibiting the stresses and conflicts of adapting to a world where their condition is poorly understood and their survival has depended on developing coping strategies which have come to be labelled as ‘problem behaviors’.
It can be adapted for uses in many settings and for a wide range of problems and age groups, wherever struggle and survival strategies are standing in the way of relationship, growth, fulfilment, health and happiness.
The Desorgher Method uses the following tools:
- Unconditional Love
- Ethnomethodology – Teaching individuals with autism how to ‘join the tribe’ by joining theirs
- Functional Behavioral Analysis and method of application
- Setting the child up for success
- Symptom or behavior?
- Breaking down behavioral complexes
- Meeting the child’s needs (re. Maslow)
- Keep it simple – identify what the child likes and dislikes
- Re-framing (replacing negative experiences and associations with positive experiences and associations)
- Identify problem behavior(s) to be targeted – not working on too many things at once
- Limiting unnecessary verbalization to focus on what is important
- Role modeling
- Describing behaviors
- Coping skills for the carer – Don’t take it personally
- Dealing with guilt overload
- Peer Role Models
- Increasing participation
- How to achieve compliance – Pre-teaching, rewards and consequences
- Goals and objectives – Short term, long term
The combined approach
The combination approach of dietary and behavioral therapies are designed to effect powerful changes, and we have to watch intensely, 24 hours a day. As they experience changes to their eyes, ears, sensory experience, physical bodies they may be frightened. Some may feel more capable and able to assume control of their environment and others less capable. As they are ‘waking up’ from the most deeply withdrawn state of autism, how any one individual reacts depends on their circumstances, their attitude, what they experience and how others are responding also to the change. Of course having carers in place who have been through the process themselves or seen others go through the transformation is invaluable. Family members, especially siblings of autists who have experienced this process will be a tremendous asset to us in the future, as well as those who have experience of other transformational therapeutic programs.