Daily life therapy is a form of specialised education for children and young people on the autism spectrum attending one of two special schools located in Tokyo, Japan and Boston, USA.
Daily life therapy consists of an intensive and highly structured educational programme based around three key areas: 1) Physical stamina building; 2) Emotional stability; 3) Intellectual stimulation.
Pupils are encouraged to learn through an active approach with the focus on developing physical fitness, body co-ordination and emotional stability. The academic curriculum includes maths, science, social studies, technology and the arts.
Most of the teaching is delivered via direct instruction in groups, with an emphasis on reciting and repeating words or copying the behaviours of the other students or teachers.
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 almost no research (one very small case study) to suggest that daily life therapy is an effective intervention for children and young people on the autism spectrum.
However, we believe that some elements of the approach (such as the emphasis on physical activity, structures and routines) may be beneficial to some children and young people on the autism spectrum.
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?
We believe that further research into daily life therapy might be justified particularly if that research compares daily life therapy with other educational interventions which are commonly used to help children and young people on the autism spectrum.
Please read our Disclaimer on Autism Interventions