We are the creators of the Autism Dialogue Approach®, a powerful, equity-based group conversation model for raising autistic voices, generating new knowledge, developing understanding, increasing acceptance, improving conditions for autistic people and encouraging better action for autism and neurodiversity altogether.
Our team are certified professionals with many years experience designing and developing programmes. We each have our own specialisms that drive the enterprise.
We are a Community Interest Company, a form of social enterprise. Since our humble beginnings with the University of Sheffield, followed by three years of local and national work running free Dialogues for autism communities, our activities now includes working with national organisations, while remaining directly in touch with our community members and networks around the world.
The Autism Dialogue Approach®
Autism is from a Greek word literally meaning ‘self’. Supported by set of easily learned skills, we facilitate a mindful enquiry to help restore wholeness and sense of self to individuals and their organisational, community and family systems. Dia-logue (Greek roots; ‘through’ and ‘relational’) aims to facilitate deep, collective communication, addressing fragmentation and ultimately the return to selfhood. In this new type of psycho-social group coaching, we are sensitive to the complexities of the oppressed minority stuck in fragmented systems. ADA aids mental recovery, reduces anxiety, improves personal wellbeing and restores harmony to the whole, to instil a sense of deeper potential and cohesion. Autism is a catalyst for profound concerns in all fields of communication and ADA provides a sustained, collective enquiry that ultimately aims to address the human crisis of communication and loss of selfhood.
To appreciate the true power of Dialogue, it is important to differentiate the word from other definitions. This special form of group conversation involves an agreement to engage in open and honest sharing of thinking, by free exchange, without agenda. It’s a place where everyone can experience everyone else’s point of view fully and equally and ‘unity in diversity’ can be reached. Skilled facilitators carefully and safely encourage a sense of equity and authenticity via the group’s dynamics, thinking and language. The Dialogue approach shifts stuck patterns, releases potential and generates new knowledge, allowing everyone to learn experientially and enable right action together. A range of easily learned skills, led by the Dialogue Practices help to deepen insight and trust for forging new solutions and action, both individually and collectively.
NEW – join our ongoing CPD Workshops for therapists at Online Events
Philosophical dialogue is a mutual inquiry based on the principle that the more points of view there are, the better we understand what there is to understand. Historically, Dialogue has much of its philosophical roots in Socrates. In the 1920’s in his work ‘Dialogue’, Martin Buber, seeks to highlight the spiritual dimension of the dialogic relation and inner ontological expression and discusses three different types of dialogues: a genuine dialogue, a technical dialogue and a monologue. Quantum scientist David Bohm has provided us with a dialogic model our of his Theory of Wholeness and the Implicate Order and the seminal ‘On Dialogue’. Recently up until the present day we are somewhat guided by the Enactive Theory led by Francisco Varela and from that tradition came the Theory of Participatory Sense-Making as proposed by Dr.Hanne De Jaegher et al.
“Contrary to traditional views, an enactive account sees both autistic and non-autistic sense-making as intrinsically valid and significant ways of dealing with the world. Autistic and non-autistic worlds may then be brought together, not by one-sided, normative adjustment of one to the other, but by understanding the differences and similarities between how they are constituted in perception and movement, and building bridges on this basis.” – Dr. Hanne De Jaegher
Our board of directors includes autistic people, a senior EMCC coach, a training expert and two associate professor of communication philosophy and autism therapy. See people page for more.
Dialogue is part of social science with existential, phenomenological and other philosophical underpinnings, and doesn’t share all of scientific ethos that mainstream cognitive science invites. Analogous to the equity design of Dialogue, research and evaluation is embedded into a fully participatory practice. Design, production and reporting are all carried out together with participants. We have a lot of anecdotal evidence drawn from our own co-produced evaluations, including use of the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS, Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988) and we are working tentatively with external researchers into scientific validity of different iterations and contexts of our Approach. We are always happy to hear from researchers with questions and proposal ideas.
Origins of Dialogue
The word dialogue is made from the Greek words dia, meaning across or between and legein, meaning to speak. In this way we can see words and meaning flowing across and between our ever-changing perceptions of our selves. Quantum Scientist Professor David Bohm advocated for a new mode of language he called the rheo-mode, which would give more emphasis to the verb instead of our noun-based language. Here at Dialogica, this approach to a more flowing, holistic language correlates with the fundamental experience of autism, a phenomena of our time (relating to the nature of self in its very name) and manifests as ‘the perception of the forming of experience’ (Manning, 2015). Read more about the Autism Dialogue Approach™ here.
David Bohm was concerned with the crisis of communication in society that he said leads to fragmentation of consciousness and society. He developed a primary technique of group dialogue, along with Peter Garrett and Donald Factor in the 1980’s. Our concerns delve beyond the ‘crisis of communication’ into addressing the fragmentation of ‘being’ and ‘interbeing’ and a perceived loss of selfhood, so prevalent in our world.
STATEMENT ON AUTISM BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH AND BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY
We are against rhetoric of tragedy, deficit and medicalised models and as such do not condone any type of behavioural therapy or purely biological autism sciences.