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At a glance: Daily Life Therapy
Type of therapy
The claim
Improves skills and helps children settle into ‘mainstream’ school
Suitable for
Children with ASD (note: this therapy is not available in Australia)
Research rating

Find out more about this rating system in our FAQs.

Not yet reviewed by our research sources.

Estimate of the total time for family in hours per week and duration.


Estimate of cost to family per session/item or week.

This program is not available in Australia in this form. It might be offered as part of a service within Australia or in a modified form. Your local autism advisor might be able to help you find out more.

About this intervention

What is it?
Daily Life Therapy is an educational program offered in some purpose-built schools overseas  to help children with autism develop living skills, self-esteem, physical strength, stamina and coordination. The program provides regular curricular teaching with an emphasis on stimulating learning through art, music and drama.

Who is it for?
Daily Life Therapy can be used for children with autism, especially those preparing to enter mainstream schools. Students taking medication are not permitted to join the program.

What is it used for?
To teach children with autism to focus their attention, control their movements and stabilise their moods.

Where does it come from?
Daily Life Therapy (also known as the Higashi School) was developed in the early 1960s by a Japanese educator as a method for teaching children with autism.

What is the idea behind it?
Daily Life Therapy takes a holistic view, looking at the relationship between the mind, body and spirit. By providing gentle, systematic guidance in a school setting, it helps children with autism develop confidence and self-esteem by increasing their independence in using daily living skills.

Physical exercise plays a key role in the program. The idea is that physical activity reduces anxiety, aggression, sleeplessness and self-stimulatory behaviours.

The theory also asserts that by gaining control over their bodies, children learn to cooperate and coordinate efforts with other students. This is a way for them to develop social and communication skills.

What does it involve?
Delivered as a residential or a day program, the curriculum is based on children’s age rather than developmental level. This is to help with integration into mainstream school. 

Children learn skills and are given responsibility for chores at a young age. When they’re older, they take part in various occupational training courses.

Daily Life Therapy focuses on arts, rigorous physical exercise, group-based instruction, learning through imitation and highly structured routine activities. There is also strict control of inappropriate and challenging behaviours.

Cost considerations
Daily Life Therapy is not offered in Australia, so no information about costs is available.

Does it work?
This therapy has not yet been rated.

Who practises this method?
There is no formal training for professionals to practise Daily Life Therapy.

Parent education, training, support and involvement
The program offers a family support service, which includes parent training and involvement in regularly scheduled meetings. Parents are expected to continue the program during holiday periods.

Where can I find a practitioner?
Daily Life Therapy is currently available only at the Boston Higashi School in Massachusetts, USA, the Horizon School, Rugeley, UK, and the Musashino Higashi Gakuen, Tokyo, Japan.

  • Last updated or reviewed 10-09-2012