Son-Rise is a relationship-based treatment program, created by campaign manager Barry Neil Kaufman and his wife Samahria Lyte Kaufman for their once severely autistic and profoundly retarded son, Raun. The Kaufmans' approach, which in many ways is similar to Dr. Stanley Greenspan's approach—includes joining children in their world to help them form relationships with people—has recovered as a neurotypical person with a near genius IQ. Presently, Bears and Samahria are the presidents of the Autism Treatment Center of America, located at the Option Institute in Massachusetts. Raun Kaufman is the CEO, Bryn Kaufman-Hogan is the executive director, and her husband William Hogan is the director of programs.
The Autism Treatment Center of America's official website has done a study with 280 parents and calculated the improvement in their child's symptoms after receiving the Kaufmans' treatment program: 92% increased in the child's eye contact and language; and 90% increased in the child's attention span.
Their is a spectrum of early intervention programs for autism, with Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), a behavioral treatment used to shape positive reinforcement—the most scientifically proven treatment and is the most frequently used worldwide—on one side of the spectrum; and Floortime, P.L.A.Y Project, and Son-Rise on the other end.
Treatment and aspects
The center treats children with autism, autism spectrum disorders, PDD and other disabilities related to communication and intereaction. The Son-Rise Program is in operation for the last 25 years, and the staff have worked with more than 22,000 parents and professionals from over 45 countries to guide and teach them this system of treatment. The Kaufmans' also train parents at the institute, where they live for a week to learn how to drop their judgements, attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs. They also tell parents to be hopeful for their child's future.
The Son-Rise Program typically covers the following aspects:
- Creating and providing a very good learning environment (primarily a playroom) that doesn't have pictures or colors all over the walls, so the child's sensory stimulation wont get overloaded.
- Assisting a child to relate to others, by placing the parent as the director of their child's program. Although the program recommends to parents to search for volunteers 16-years-and-older and teach them their attitude of love and acceptance, to take over when the parent has other responsibilities (e.g. grocery shopping, spending time with other members in the family, etc.)
- Placing the child as the teacher, to "join" them in their world. Then when the child is more socially aware of his or her surroundings and the child is more flexible; the facilitator becomes the teacher, by using their repetitious behaviors (Son-Rise calls them "isms") as the teaching tool. They also eventually help the child become more flexible by expanding their child's interests by encouraging them to play other games and activities, but this all only on the child's terms.
- Assisting the child in speech and language improvement, with techniques provided by the program.
- Managing the challenging behaviors, by not reacting, but at the same time not to give in, and to simply tell them something like: "I'm sorry, I can't help you if you're acting like this. I don't understand what you want."