You have stated that there is hope for every autistic child.
Isn’t that offering 'false hope'?
We have found that parents and professionals who are consistently hopeful and optimistic are powerful forces for their children. Though we cannot know ahead of time what a given child will do, we also cannot know ahead of time what a given child will never do. Hope is defined as 'The belief that what is wanted, can be had.' Believing substantial change and healing is possible can never be detrimental, but rather is life-affirming and empowering, and the beginning of an effective intervention program. When hope is combined with action, there are no drawbacks — only benefits. Hope and believing in possibilities for our children will always serve us.
My child has High Functioning Autism and/or Asperger's Syndrome.
Would the program be helpful?
We have seen amazing responses to the program by children and adults who are diagnosed with either High Functioning Autism or Asperger's Syndrome! The Son-Rise Program® attitudinal foundation is based upon truly accepting a child/adult where they are, and offering them loving guidance and encouragement.
The program opens possibilities for improving communication and allowing greater understanding and growth, especially in the area of social interaction and learning to connect in a meaningful way with others.
The Son-Rise Program® Start-Up has ‘breakout’ materials/sessions designed to specifically address the unique questions and concerns many parents have when trying to help their child with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's Syndrome. Main areas addressed in these sessions are:
Developing communication outside of their main area of interest. Does your child only talk about one favourite topic? Is your child only interested in asking specific questions with a desire to receive a specific answer?
EXPANDING AREAS OF INTEREST
Does your child only want to play one game or activity? Do you find it challenging to inspire your child to participate in new activities or interact with new people?
ENHANCING FRIENDSHIP SKILLS
Does your child do well in math or academics but lacks the ability to create friendships with peers? Does your child speak or behave in a unique way that inhibits their ability to create relationships with others?
Is your program effective with older children, teenagers and adults?
Yes, absolutely! We have used the program, and supported parents using this program, for over 35 years with ‘children’ that are aged 18, 27, 35 right up to 60! Certainly, the attitudinal principles of love, respect and enthusiasm can be applied at any age and the educational techniques that you will learn are based much more on addressing a child or person where they are, their current skills and abilities, than their chronological age. Unlike most other programs and professional guidance, we do not believe that there is any age at which a human being is no longer able to grow and learn and change. We have witnessed this again and again as parents continue to dream for their adult children and are so excited to see the benefits of this program at any age.
I know that your program has been very effective in increasing social interaction, but can it also improve academic and daily living skills?
The same principles that have allowed us to achieve such measurable gains in social interaction are also applied effectively in teaching academics and daily living skills. The Son-Rise Program is based on creating a respectful, trusting and interactive bond with the child. We then use that relationship as a foundation for education, learning and language development. We have found that children who are more engaged in an activity learn more rapidly and interact and communicate more frequently.
For many of our children, the roadblock to learning is not a matter of intellect or capacity, but rather a lack of motivation, interest and the ability to stay attentive long enough to learn certain things. We have seen over and over again that when a child can increase his capacity to stay connected with another person, then they can demonstrate great abilities to learn and retain what they learn. We have seen this affect all areas of a child’s life including academics, daily living skills, reading, using speech to communicate, following instructions, using the toilet consistently, brushing teeth and playing games by the rules, to name a few.
Many, many children have “graduated” from their Son-Rise programs to attend typical or mainstream schools where they demonstrated age-level or above academic skills.
I am intrigued by your approach of “joining” my child’s repetitious behaviours (“isms”) but I’ve been told this will just make him do it more. Is this true?
The common misconception of this technique is that by “joining” in repetitious and ritualistic behaviours the child will be encouraged to “ism” even more. Since 1984, we have been implementing this technique, a cornerstone strategy of the Son-Rise Program® and our experience and results prove just the opposite. We have found that when children are “joined” in their repetitious behaviours, they actually become more engaged, more socially available, and more motivated to be with others. Rather than increasing their self-stimulating behaviours and rituals, they reach out more and connect more fully to the world around them.
Although the “joining” aspect of our program has been the subject of much speculation and misconception, and has received criticism over the years, recent studies are now supporting the perspective and techniques that we have been applying for over three decades. Click below to see the 2 peer reviewed studies on the Son-Rise Program and additional supportive research:
Supporting research & studies
How can I get help with my child’s tantrums and aggressive behaviours?
The techniques and strategies that we teach in relation to these types of behaviours are very effective. You can learn more about this in Raun K. Kaufman’s book Autism Breakthrough which has an entire chapter titled “Tantrums and other challenging behaviours.”
If this is a daily and meaningful challenge, we would strongly recommend that you plan to attend our
Son-Rise Program® Start-Up, so that you can interact with our teachers personally and receive guidance directly related to this.
NB Only those who attend our in-person programs can schedule individual consultations with our teachers, which many have found life-changing regarding issues of tantrums and aggressive behaviours.
Everything I have read states that my child has a permanent, lifelong disability with minimal hope for substantial progress. Is this true?
You are talking about the prognosis which tends to be given when a child is diagnosed with Autism or other diagnosis. We believe that no one can say what your child can never do, or will never do. We believe that every child and individual is capable of growth, change and transformation.
We know parents are given little guidance regarding what treatment to pursue, where to turn for support, and few ways to help their child significantly develop and grow. We have witnessed (and can certainly understand) the despair that results from this experience. That’s why we offer a different perspective.
We do not put limits on the possibilities for your child. We inspire parents to hope for their children, to dream for their children, and to take meaningful action to help their children. Then, we offer the specific tools, techniques and methods that help your children learn, connect with people, and blossom. This means that parents have the opportunity not only to hope, but to make a substantial difference in the lives of their children.
Does my child need a diagnosis in order for me to do the Son-Rise Program®?
It is not necessary to have a specific diagnosis prior to using the program. If you, as a parent, believe that your child has developmental, social, physical or other issues that are of concern, we trust your assessment. We truly believe that a parent is their child’s best resource, and it is very common for parents to ‘know’ there is something different about their child long before any professional or any testing suggests this. We would recommend that you trust your instincts and get support and help as soon as you have a concern.
Do you have research and studies that support the efficacy of the
Yes, we do! Click below for information about two peer-reviewed research studies published in medical journals as well other empirical research supporting the efficacy and principles of the Son-Rise Program®:
Can the Son-Rise Program be used in conjunction with other therapies?
Yes, certainly! A number of complementary interventions have been used successfully in conjunction with the Son-Rise Program®. Many parents include these interventions in their Son-Rise Program®, which we wholeheartedly support. Since many children on the spectrum have biological, sensory and other challenges, we advocate helping these children with any area of difficulty. In fact, doing so can accelerate and enhance the progress occurring within a Son-Rise Program®.
Here is a list of some of the therapies which we have seen to be complementary and supportive of a child’s growth when using the Son-Rise Program®:
Supplemental interventions: vitamins, minerals, probiotics, essential fatty acids, etc.
Auditory training programs
Sensory integration interventions
Cranio sacral therapy
The HANDLE Program®
The Listening Program®
The Fast ForWord® Program
Therapeutic horseback riding
The Alert Program
At the same time, some other approaches have been found to undermine the Son-Rise Program’s effectiveness and often impede a child’s growth because of the contradictory or conflicting approaches.
It is very important to research any other therapy being considered to determine if it will be complementary or potentially unsupportive.
More specifically, when other therapies containing techniques that conflict directly with the principles of the Son-Rise Program® are used, this hinders the program’s effectiveness and confuses the child. Applied Behavioural Analysis, for instance, utilises techniques which are almost universally in opposition to those of the Son-Rise Program, such as attempting to extinguish repetitive behaviours, prioritising behaviour change over relationship-building, and teaching new behaviours through repetition and rewards.
Even relationship-based treatment programs, such as DIRFloortime which some have claimed is very similar to the Son-Rise Program, run counter to the basic principles of the Son-Rise Program®. For example, DIRFloortime utilises a principle called being 'playfully obstructive', where the facilitator playfully gets in the way or interferes with a child’s repetitive behaviour so that the child must interact in order to get the facilitator out of the way. As you can imagine, if we sometimes "join" a child in his or her repetitive behaviours (as prescribed in the Son-Rise Program®) but at other times stop the child (ABA) or attempt to obstruct the child from doing those behaviours (DIRFloortime), we are not only confusing the child, but also undermining the most fundamental rapport-building centrepiece of The Son-Rise Program®. This means that we are taking a child with a social relational disorder and further undercutting that child’s ability to feel safe enough, trusting enough, relaxed enough, accepted enough, and interested enough to reach out and relate to us more.
As an additional note, the Son-Rise Program providers have in-depth attitudinal training as a key part of their training so that our methods will be utilised with the utmost love, respect and celebration of the child. We support including complementary therapies in any Son-Rise Program®, but we do not support adding pieces of other therapies which undercut the basis of the Program, its goals and the child’s sense of safety, trust, and motivation.
Can I come to the five day Son-Rise Program Start-Up if I have autism?
If you are an independent adult, yes! Please know, however, that the program is aimed at helping parents or carers to help another person, and not specifically designed to help people help themselves. That said, we believe you will absolutely benefit from this program.
Will The Son-Rise Program work for me? I have limited time because...(I am a single parent, working family, have more than one child, etc.)?
Due to the nature of our program, any amount of time you can devote to your child’s development and education will have an impact. Obviously, the more time you can spend implementing the techniques and principles, the greater opportunity you will be offering your child to grow. Consistency is key. Many families have started by planning to do 10 hours per week of focused 1:1 Son-Rise Program Playroom/Focus Room time with their child and then have built slowly from there. The idea is to take some action. Even if you have a goal towards implementing the program 20 hours per week (which we recommend as an important initial goal), you can begin with 5 hours per week and work your way towards your goal. We have found that the more hours of this intensive 1:1 intervention that a child can experience, the greater benefit to the child and the family. The key being, begin something now...