The Son-Rise Program® was pioneered by parents Bears and Samahria Kaufman whose son Raun successfully emerged from his autism. In the late 1970's, they worked with Raun, not yet two years of age, intensely one-on-one in their bathroom after being dissatisfied with the behavioral approaches being used to help children with autism at that time. After four months, Raun no longer showed any trace of his autism. His parents continued to run his program for a total of three years and Raun Kaufman developed into a bright, intelligent and loving man. The Son-Rise Program® was officially named and taught at the Option Institute® (a non-profit organization located in Sheffield, MA) beginning in 1983. The Option Institute® is also known as the Autism Treatment Center of America. Parents can attend conferences to learn how to develop their own Son-Rise Program® for their special child. The Option Institute® also offers other life-empowering courses, as well as follow-up consultation and services for parents who choose Son-Rise®.
Below is a picture of the first Son-Rise® child, Raun, and his mother, Samahria, busy at play!
The Son-Rise Program® Fundamental Principles
- Joining children in their repetitive "stimming" behaviors (the very same behaviors that most people are trying to stop) as the key way to bond with them. We call them 'ism's' in a way to show non-judgement.
- Empowering parents to direct their child's program without apology
- The creation of meaningful relationship with each child instead of merely behavior change. Change a way a child thinks about interacting, verses just changing the way a child behaves.
- Utilizing each child's motivations - rather than repetitive tasks - as the doorway to learning
- A non-judgmental, loving and optimistic attitude as the critical element to reaching children
Some critics claim Son-Rise® is not backed by enough publish research. However, over the last two decades Son-Rise® techniques have been supported by much published research. Countless success stories are also available through the Option Institute's® website. Parents are also encouraged to complete follow-up surveys every six months to help the Option Institute® present the effectiveness of the Son-Rise Program® as a valid and powerful choice in the treatment of autism!
To read or download a copy of the paper Empirical Research Supporting the Son-Rise Program®, please go to http://autismtreatmentcenter.org/contents/reviews_and_articles/research.php
We began Liam's Son-Rise® program on August 29, 2010 when we were living in Seaman, OH. At that time, Liam began spending 2-4 hours a day in his playroom (a basement room) one-on-one with his mom or dad. When not in the playroom, we were still using the Son-Rise® techniques in every day life around the house with Liam and his older, neurotypical sister Mycah. Liam's first playroom had various versatile (non-electronic) toys on its shelves and one table. Because Liam is the boss of his playroom, we made everything safe and Liam was allowed to use any object in any way he desired. We joined in with his running back and forth, train-rolling and babbles.We celebrated eye contact, modeled nouns and verbs and requested his participation when he was motivated.
We moved to Coal City, IL in February 2011 and created a basement playroom once again. This time we added a one-way observational window and a foam floor. We painted the walls a neutral color and installed three shelves for toys. We also added several mirrors to encourage eye contact!