Is The Behavioral Approach And The Style Approach The Same Daily Life Therapy (Higashi) for Autism

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Daily Life Therapy (Higashi) for Autism

The Everyday Life Therapy Method (DLT), also known as Higashi, was developed in the 1960s by Dr. Kiyo Kitahara at the Musashino Higashi Gakuen School in Tokyo, Japan. She developed the method based on what she learned teaching a child with autism in a mainstream kindergarten. Her main goal was to develop the self-esteem of children with autism and create emotional security for them.

Higashi is a Japanese word that means “hope” and is a holistic approach to bringing children with autism together with other normal children to learn together in the same group. There are several methods used in this approach, such as providing systematic education by involving group dynamics, modeling, physical activity, art, music, academic and vocational training.

How DLT (Higashi) works.

Behavior management in DLT does not measure neglect, punishment, time-out procedures, or medication. DLT is not intended to treat or cure autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but is believed to provide other important benefits such as improved skills, flexibility and proper functioning when in the home community and in activities related to family Activities are group-oriented and well-structured with an emphasis on learning that is passed from child to child through synchronization and imitation.

Higashi’s approach emphasizes group training in the context of a program that includes intense physical activity to develop both strength and concentration. Physical activity is part of the curriculum for children with autism and it challenges their ability level as well as increasing their interest in the activities being taught. Practitioners believe that with the help of exercises, children will be able to control the level of body coordination and at the same time control their behavior. Physical activity, such as exercise and play, has positive effects on the behavior, psychology, and physical characteristics of individuals with ASD. DLT programs typically use appropriate instruction, equipment, and daily motor activities such as walking, running, climbing, and jumping to improve gross motor skills, allowing children with autism to learn to adapt to the stimulating world around them.

Among the main principles of daily life therapy (Higashi) are the following:

i. The curriculum focuses on physical activity, music and art.

ii. Children engage in intense physical activity during the day.

iii. Instruction is group-oriented, for example, all children in a class learn the same thing.

iv. Children learn through imitation, for example, they imitate exactly what their teacher does.

v. Routines are very well structured.

DLT using the Higashi approach is an educational program for children with autism that is based on three interrelated principles: intensive physical exercise, emotional stability, and intellectual stimulation. Using these three basic principles of DLT, children with autism learn to naturally focus their attention, disperse their energy, and experience calmness and relaxation, allowing them to learn without the need for medication. DLT also provides other important benefits, such as improved coping skills, increased flexibility, and improved proper functioning in the home community and family events. The ultimate goal of DLT is to archive lifelong community inclusion and high quality of life.

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