Daily life therapy (also known as the Higashi method) is a form of specialised education delivered to children with autism attending one of two special schools located in Tokyo, Japan and Boston, USA.
Daily life therapy is based on a holistic view of the mind, body and spirit and consists of five main elements: instruction in groups; instruction based on imitation of others; highly structured routine activities; rigorous physical exercise; and a curriculum that focuses on movement, music and art.
Daily life therapy is designed to 'help children form bonds, relate to others, communicate and control their anxieties so as to master tasks and learn skills for doing and thinking which will allow them to relate to others at the same time as they develop independence.'
Some other schools, such as the Rugeley Horizon School in the UK, have incorporated some of the principles of daily life therapy into their day to day practice.
There is a very limited amount of research evidence for daily life therapy i.e. one small case study.
Our overall view is that elements of the approach, such as the emphasis on physical activity, do appear to be beneficial to children with autism.
The structures and organisation are known to reduce anxiety in children with autism but this aspect also applies to TEACCH and any other approaches in which structure is the foundation.
Our major reservation is the question of whether those who graduate through the schools are able to maintain and sustain any progress made away from the school environment and programme. Can they transfer any skills they have learnt into new environments, such as their daily lives?
Please read our Disclaimer on Autism Interventions