Opinions on the Son-Rise Program

This is one person's opinion. A completely positive assessment of the program described is available from the single organization that provides "Son-Rise" training and consulting services.

Because this is a topic that some feel strongly about, I have added at the end most of the letters I have received over the years from parents and other interested persons.

This is copied from an Internet "bulletin board," I am not the author of the document below.


A&P's usual lengthy post on Son-Rise

From: A&P
Email:
Date: 8/1/00
Time: 12:21:03 PM
Remote Name: 194.112.53.82

Comments

Hi,

I don't know if this is of interest, but this is what I originally wrote when various parents doing Son-Rise/Options asked me why I wasn't a fan (after some memorable arguments with some of the Son-Rise staff on this board, on the Son-Rise bulletin board before it was made clear that I was definitely not welcome there (I asked too many questions), and via e-mail). I've revised and updated it since then.

I assume that the Options people will accuse me of being "judgmental" - when I first posted on the Son-Rise board on the issue of locked doors, somebody else posted about "how common it is for folks to be far, far away from a truly loving and non-judgmental place". To me, this labelling of anything critical of Son-Rise as a "judgement" seems to be a way of avoiding addressing the intellectual content of the criticism. Of course it's a judgement - anybody who has any sort of opinion (whether pro or con Son-Rise) is making a judgement. The question is whether it's an accurate and fair judgement!

I also appreciate that many parents run their programmes in different ways, and that different people seem to take different things from Options. So my comments are not intended to be a criticism of individual parents (who may be running their program in a very different way) but of the Son-Rise program as itís taught by the Institute.

To begin with, I'd like to mention the elements of Son-Rise that I think are valid and useful. I have a great belief, based on my own experience working with kids with severe autism, in the value of one-to-one work which follows the child's lead, using joining in with their preferred activities and drawing on moment-to-moment motivations to develop basic communication and interaction skills. I also like the Son-Rise position of not worrying about harmless "inappropriate behaviour" like hand-flapping. I agree with the emphasis on being aware of one's own feelings and attitudes in order not to let these cloud one's responsiveness to the child.

However, I would also point out that Son-Rise doesn't have a monopoly on any of these ideas, and certainly didn't invent them. Dave Nind and Melanie Hewett, Stanley Greenspan, the Koegels, Wendy Prevezer, etc. have all developed similar elements, and their work lacks many of the things which concern me in Son-Rise (they also lack the "hard sell" approach and the absurd price tags).

Here goes:

I am extremely bothered by the "hard sell" tactics that Options seem to be using (I'm not sure it can be a coincidence that Barry Kaufman used to work in advertising). A while back, they sent a leaflet to every member of the UK's National Autistic Society proclaiming the "highly effective" nature and "proven results" of the Son-Rise program. They've also been e-mailing sites connected to autism asking them to link to the Options site - I imagine they must be e-mailing pretty indiscriminately as they've e-mailed me three times (despite the fact that each time I've replied explaining politely why I don't link to sites for particular treatment programs as this is not relevant to my site and asking them not to e-mail me again). I've been in contact with one parent who's had the Options people "cold-calling" her, phoning her out of the blue (she's never contacted them and has no idea how they got her phone number) and trying to "sell" her on the program. She said it was as if they were selling double-glazing, and was left very upset and angry about it. I also think it's unethical for Options to keep on making dramatic claims about the "highly effective" nature and "proven results" of the Son-Rise program (they are now calling themselves "The Autism Treatment Center", by the way), while consistently refusing to produce any evidence to back up these claims. If they do any sort of follow-up on kids who go through the program, it should be incredibly easy and practically cost-free to collect the data and show how kids are progressing, but they won't do this.

The impressions I've of how they operate as an organization has bothered me, and I was interested to see that they are listed at http://www.freedomofmind.com/resourcecenter/groups/o/option/oi_statements.htm [broken - see http://www.freedomofmind.com/Info/infoDet.php?id=151] because of alleged cult-type behaviour, including exploitation of families and bullying of employees - I don't know how reliable this information is, but it wouldn't altogether surprise me if it was true. The "Options philosophy" was invented by a man named Bruce DiMarsico, and there are several groups of his other ex-students selling the "Options method" - the Options Institute is very hostile to any mention of them (I can't help feeling that this suggests that the method has failed to bring about harmony and tolerance between them ...).

Despite Options' claims of "acceptance", they in fact seem to have a wholly negative view of autism. Their promotional material frequently refers to "loving a child back to life", which effectively implies that autistic children are "dead", or "rebirthing" them. In his introduction to "Son-Rise: A Miracle Continues", Raun Kaufman writes of the possibility of his remaining autistic "Sometimes it dawns on me how close I came to spending my life encapsulated inside my own head..." He describes himself as "lost behind a thick, hazy cloud," and later as having emerged "from the shell of my autism." The "acceptance" turns out to be based on the idea that you can choose to feel positive about anything (even cancer or the Holocaust, presumably), not the idea that actually autism might not be that horrible. They present a totally inaccurate picture of autism as a "shell", not part of the real child. This upsets me a lot, because what parents are being led to think is just "autistic behaviour" is actually their child, and itís ultimately incompatible with their accepting the child they have.

Their basic idea seems to be that any problem in the world can be solved by choosing to feel happy about it, and Barry Kaufman constantly makes a big deal of how important it is to love and accept and autistic child the way they are, autism and all - but then implies that if you just accept them enough, they'll miraculously be "rescued" from the autism (if a miracle doesn't occur, then presumably you had the wrong attitude, since Kaufman regards any suggestions that that autism might be an incurable disability as defeatist). Sorry, but that's not real acceptance. If you truly accept something, you stop hoping and praying that it'll go away.

The continual emphasis on the possibility of a "cure" - e.g. selling a tape called "Autism Can Be Cured", constantly referring to Raunís "having no trace of his original condition", etc. also seems to feed into this. By the way, if you look at the original "Son-Rise" book what you in fact have is a very young speech-delayed child with some autistic features (the clinicians who mentioned that he had autistic features didnít want to diagnose him with autism proper - he was never actually diagnosed with autism - as they felt that having it as part of his records might harm his school chances in later life; evidently they were expecting he'd go to a mainstream school) who goes on to become high-functioning and successful. This is nice, but not quite the "miracle" recovery from "severe autism" that is now being claimed.

The Options Institute seems to allow cruelly unrealistic beliefs and outright denial, while accusing anyone who disagrees with this of being "pessimistic" and worse. A few years ago, when an autistic spectrum person in a newsgroup discussion of Son-Rise suggested as a possibility that Raun might in fact be a very high-functioning autistic person, Raun responded in an extremely hostile and insulting manner saying "If my parents had listened to people like you, I would be sitting in an institution right now, rocking back and forth in my own feces". Frankly, if this is normality, I'm better off without it, and to be blunt, it is also complete rubbish. I personally know several people who as children displayed more severe signs of autism, and who didnít do Son-Rise or any special program, but who are now functioning just as well as he is.

I believe that however severe a given child's disabilities are, they can still learn and lead joyful and meaningful lives (and usually beat predictions about what they will "never" do ...). I just don't think that believing that a given child can learn, grow, flourish and generally have fun is incompatible with acknowledging the reality of the disabilities they have. There are real neurological limits to what someone is capable of. Some limits and differences are real; some children can't just "choose" to be normal; some disabilities don't go away, and true acceptance may mean learning to live and work with them. You can call that pessimism if you want.

I know of one boy (about 10 years old) with severe autism whose parents have removed him from school completely so they can put him in a full-time Son-Rise program for all his waking hours (he's been in a Son-Rise program outside school hours for the last two years, which hasn't produced any discernible changes). They've been led to believe that he will "choose to be normal" within a few years and not only be "cured" but become so intelligent that he could become a brain surgeon. When they removed him from the school, they announced to all the staff that they'd bring him back to visit in six months and he'd be talking fluently (it's over a year later and they haven't been back). For them, Son-Rise is just feeding into their denial of who their son really is and their refusal to plan for his future.

Various members of the school staff went to observe the program, in the hope of learning from it, and came back incredibly distressed, reporting that this boy was spending all of the sessions literally clawing at the locked door of the playroom, trying to get out. Later, they found out that he was screaming so loudly and continuously that the neighbours called the police as they thought he must be being abused. I only posted on the Son-Rise bulletin board in the first place because I was so disturbed by this use of locks, and was hoping someone would tell me this was just this family's aberration. Instead, it seems to be pretty much standard and encouraged by the Institute.

I actually think that creating a playroom where everything is safe (as one teacher said, a place where you never have to say "don't touch that") and which is free from distracting or overloading stimuli is a great idea - but the child has to *want* to be there, or it's a prison. If a child is totally overloaded by the outside world, then they'll react to a low-stimulus place as a refuge, and certainly won't have to be locked in - if they have to be locked in, then it clearly isn't a refuge or a fun place for them at that particular moment. The only effective guide to where a child feels safe, is not overloaded, etc. is where they *choose* to be. Some autistic children prefer to be in low-stimuli environments and will find a playroom a haven - others need open space to run around in. Many kids need one at one moment and one at the other. In addition, many autistic people have a particular horror of being confined, particularly in close proximity to other people. Many of us will only choose to stay somewhere if we know we can get out if we need to. From my personal perspective, I can safely say that being locked in a small playroom with someone else for all my waking hours is my personal idea of hell. To put it bluntly, I think that locking a child in a small room for all their waking hours even if they are screaming to get out is pretty close to being abuse.

I also disagree with the idea that you can only have effective interactions within the artificial environment of the playroom (and that this "justifies" forcing the child to stay there). Some of the best interactions with severely autistic children that I've ever had have been in a multi-sensory room, in a zoo, in a cathedral, in a playground, and on the side of a swimming pool.

I totally agree with Nind and Hewett, who argue that you begin a relationship not by forcing the child to go where you want them to be, which may be unfamiliar and objectionable to them, but by going to wherever they feel comfortable, wherever they choose to be, literally as well as figuratively. One largely non-verbal teenager I work with has very high levels of anxiety, can't tolerate change and so initially wouldn't leave the classroom with me; for most of a term, I spent all my scheduled sessions sitting next to her in the classroom, sometimes bringing in interesting toys and objects to look at, developing interactions very gradually and gently, until she felt I was safe to leave the classroom with. The first time she did, it was only for a few minutes before she wanted to go back to the classroom again. She now feels that I am familiar enough to be safe and that the room where we work is OK, so she's happy to come, and it's really helped her feel that she is in control in our sessions and can initiate things (she's usually incredibly passive). I couldn't have done that if I'd tried insisting she had to leave the classroom and stay in this room with me when she didn't want to. Another child only felt comfortable staying in the room once she'd checked that she could leave whenever she wanted to - once she'd established this, she started making me bolt the door to prevent anyone getting in!

In addition, Options seem to encourage a continual emotional dishonesty and about the lock that I canít stand. One parent includes amid their praise of Options the lines: " In the beginning he cried a lot about staying in the room. One big 'no' that he could not accept at all. I was very impressed, when I saw him undertake a serious attempt once to climb against the wall to get the key. We paid a lot of attention to that during the volunteer evening and with the message 'crying means healing', we all supported his crying until he was done crying."

Now, whatís going on here? You are doing something that distresses a child until they cry, then claiming to "support their crying" (what does that mean, by the way?) and that this is "healing".

Another parent wrote: 'Rachel wanted to leave the room but she couldn't because the door was locked. Stan: "Rachel let's take turns in finding a way to open the door. Tell each other the solution in each others' eyes."'

Again, this is dishonest Ė itís lying about the fact that thereís a very simple way of opening the door, which is for the parent to unlock it. All this cutesy "letís take turns in finding a way" simply obscures that fact, although probably not very effectively: since a child sees that the door opens when the parents wants it too, they know damn well whatís going on. As one proud parent once wrote, "our kids may be retarded, but theyíre not stupid". In the room where I work at school, thereís a locked storage cupboard, and one of the kids I work with is dying to get in there ( he knows there are interesting things in there!). He has autism and severe learning difficulties (UK-speak for severe mental retardation), but if I try to protest innocently that the cupboard door is looked, he looks pityingly at me and tells me "key!" [since I wrote this, he's now shifted to saying, "I want key, door key!" - and he gets the key too, as he now doesn't break stuff in there]

Another parent posted on the board recently Ďyou can be honest at the same time and say, "Maggie we canít get out the door, we are going to play, playing in here is lots of fun!"í

No, this is not honest, because the truth is that the door can be opened at any time the parent chooses. If I ever have to lock a door or stop a child from doing something (which I donít do if I can avoid it), I think itís more honest and fair to say "No, I am not going to let you do this, because itís dangerous" (or whatever), and be willing to accept their anger and blaming me, than to lie to them by pretending itís nothing to do with me.

Every time the issue comes up, people (parents and Son-Rise staff) seem to assume that the problem is that that the parent or volunteer (or person questioning this practice, like me) is "uncomfortable" with it, and if only they "suspended the belief that locking the door was "restrictive" and "abusive"" everything would be fine and the child would "choose to be happy" about it.

This idea that the parentís attitude determines everything is positively solipsistic. Yes, attitude is very important, as it can affect to what extent you are truly responsive to the child as opposed to being absorbed in your own emotions. But the idea that "attitude is everything" and that as long as youíre happy about something then the child will be (they canít have opinions or feelings of their own?) seems to be an example of the latter state. The Options position seems to be used to justify completely ignoring the child's feelings and attempts to communicate whenever they conflict with what the program dictates.

When I first posted on the issue of locks, there were lots of replies from parents just explaining how they felt comfortable and happy about this, saying "I don't see our playroom as being something I force on my child, but rather a huge gift I am giving him", or "By locking our playroom door, I'm showing Charlotte in the most loving & giving way I can, that I know this is a great place for her to be". To be honest, I donít really care how great parents feel about it. What I care about is what the *child* feels about it and whether *they* are happy about it (by the way, this is not the same as whether they give up and stop screaming after it becomes clear that theyíre not going to be let out). Imagine if you posted on a board criticizing a practice that you objected to, like spanking kids, and people replied saying that they felt really happy and comfortable about spanking their kids, that the kids only cried for a short while and then gave up, and urged you to suspend your "judgement" that spanking kids was wrong. Wouldnít you feel they were missing the point?

Several people (including Options staff) said that locking the door wasnít restrictive because it allowed the child to be in total control in the room, whereas in the rest of the house someone might have to say "no" to them. This is illogical. Why canít the child be in control in the room *and* have the choice of going into the rest of the house where they may not be allowed to do everything they want? Locking a child into a room so that you never have to say "no" to them is crazy Ė a lock is a very very big NO.

In addition, Son-Rise seems to have nothing to fall back upon if a miracle fails to occur: the idea seems to be that you just stay locked with the child in the playroom until they are cured (for the rest of their lives?). No help is offered on how to live with, or educate outside the playroom, the child or adult who stays autistic. I was shocked recently to see one parent posting on the Son-Rise board about how to introduce his son to new experiences and help him be more independent outside the playroom - he seems to be thinking about this for the first time and his son is *17* years old. I think that totally closing off the outside world so that the child only learns to cope with the artificial environment within the playroom, instead of finding them ways to navigate through the outside world, is actually doing them a great disservice.

I know I seem to be spending a lot of time ranting about the locks issue, but it seems to exhibit a degree of hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness about highly dubious practices which seems to be endemic in the Options organization.

Options seems to promote a dangerously simplistic approach to challenging behaviour, reacting to any challenging behaviour by saying that the child's "using crying to get what they want" or "wanting to provoke a reaction". Some children certainly do use challenging behaviour as a way to communicate, but the need is to teach them a more effective way to communicate - not to ignore it by labelling the child as somehow manipulative or trying to "push peopleís buttons". Often, crying is a real sign of distress (meaning this hurts, I'm unhappy, I want to get out), and ignoring that message of distress until the child stops it just seems like an effective way of suppressing it.

I'm also worried that so many of the parents who post on the Son-Rise board and have been through the extremely expensive Son-Rise training don't seem to have been taught about any of the techniques and tools which might be useful, such as PECS, visual schedules, sign language, how to use music and singing, etc. These are pretty standard and not difficult to learn, so it worries me that parents are being "trained" without even being told that these things exist. I was appalled to see one parent on the board discourage signing on the grounds that "if you sign to a child, then they never have to talk" (actually, every piece of research on the subject shows that using visual means such as signing or PECS actually *increases* the likelihood that a child will also develop speech).

Often techniques seem to be being applied in a very simplistic and "one-size-fits-all" way. For example; take imitation: for some kids, imitating their vocalizations or movements can be a great way to start off an interactive game. But some kids are oblivious to it or are only interested in it sometimes, and some kids actually find it distressing. You also have to *think* about what you're imitating - it's only useful as a way of joining in with something that the child finds fun or interesting, yet Son-Rise people seem to use it for almost anything - I've seen several parents describe imitating their children when they are crying, screaming or tantrumming (ever have a sibling taunt you by repeating everything you said, as you got more and more upset? Remember how that feels!).

The same thing is true for things like "enthusiasm" - for some kids, making everything very "big" is a great way of attracting their attention, but for others it's overwhelming and distressing. Similarly, "spontaneity" may mean a chaotic lack of structure which may be upsetting and unhelpful for many autistic kids. I've noticed that adults tend to be "spontaneous" by continually introducing their own ideas, constantly rushing ahead, because theyíre bored, and are not in fact responding to the child at all.

The obsession with eye contact is another problem Ė Bryn Hogan (head of the Son-Rise program) writes: "Eye contact is vital because it means your child is interacting and connecting with you" and one volunteer writes "we feel that John is more "connected" and "present" when he looks at us". This seems to be a classic example of imposing what eye contact means to non-autistic people, and ignoring what it means to people with autism. For many people with autism, eye contact is distressing and uncomfortable. If pushed, many of us learn to "make eye contact" as a rote trick and numbing oneself to the sensations, or fake it by looking at someoneís forehead or between their eyes. But it never has anything to do with being "connected" or "present". In fact, if Iím making eye contact, itís a sure sign that at that moment I will not be able to be "present" Ė to do that, Iíd have to look away.

The constant claims about the gentle and "accepting" nature of Options obscure the fact that for many children, being trapped in a room all day with a constant succession of people trying to interact socially and "bond" with them, and, for example, seize every opportunity to make eye contact, may in fact be highly aversive and stressful. It's supposed to be gentle but actually, looked at from an autistic point of view, seems very intrusive. All children, especially autistic children, need respect for their space and a chance to have solitude when they want it, not to be "working" all the time.

Autistic and Proud


I have a completely different experience. I have been running a program with my son for several years and he has been making very good progress.
 
I am involved in 2 other programs, one with a 7 year old girl and one with a 16 year old. Both doing great progress in several areas in their first 6-12 months doing son-rise. It is a privelege to see a 16 year old in a short period of time starting to use her language. Not only as repeted sentences over and over again, but as sentences containing real information about herself and what she wants.
 
I have during the years met a lot of other parents running son-rise programs. All of them reports progress, more social behaviours, more flexibility, less problem behaviors and even more importen happier children. The degree of progress is ofcourse very different from individual to individual.
 
It is fantastic to se how the younger girl went from beeing almost non verbal at six, starting the program, to using 3 word sentences.
 
I DO hope you realise that most of the criticism in the document you are linking to applies even more to an ABA program.
 
Bears used to talk about a cure - that is true, I dont like that expression myself. There is however another way of putting it: "There is no limit for the development of a child with autism". It has the same meaning but no one can deny that this is true. We dont know in what areas and how much any given child can develop.
It is however very important that we belive in the possibilities of development for every single child. Our expectations is a very important factor, read about the pygmalion-effect.
 
Doing  son-rise the attitude of the teacher/parent/volonteer is very important and we work a lot with this issue. In reasearch on different teaching methods in general there is a factor that is always the most important no matter how the teaching is done and that is "the teacher". Most important is working on the acceptance of the child. As long as you dont accept the child you are working with your reactns to "problematic" beaviours is going top be a big problem. If you accept the child you can start taking the childs perspective and understand what in the environement that causes problems instead of given the child responsibility for
 
Doing son-rise we work, just like in ABA, with positive reeinforcement. The difference is that we create teaching situations where the task for the child and the reeinforcment is related to the situation. A situation that is important, interesting, understandable and most of all meeningful to the child. Teaching this way, we dont have a problem with generalising and we have children that are motivated.
 
Doing son-rise we let the child have control over thir situation. When to relax, when to interact. We dont stop the things that the child wants to do and likes to do just because we see it as "unwanted behavior" that is an obstacle for learning. Instead we do what the child does. This leads to more interaction and more eye contact. There is also reasearch indicating the increase in eye contact. It is no magic. Put yourself in a situation where people around you keeps stoping you from doing what you want. After a few days you would be very unhappy and probably a bit aggressive just about the fact that you se these people.


Dear Richard Saffran,

I encountered your "Another long posting from A & P" on a message board when I was looking for some critical thinking on the Son-Rise Program. Most of your posting was on the locked doors, and your assessment of locked doors made a lot of sense to me. [I did not write that posting - see note at the beginning of this document]

Because I work as a classroom aide with an autistic girl of 9, I've been looking up things on the web about autism. Hoping to learn more about the Son-Rise program, I sent for the Options Institute video, despite some gut sense that there was something wrong with that place. I decided to reserve final judgment until I learned more than the Options web site had told me.

The video was appalling. My impression was similar to your observations, that they insist that just deciding to be happy about a problem was sufficient to overcome it, and that any "failures to be healed" were a failure of attitude only.

The program had all the earmarks of a slick advertising scheme to attract hurting people desparate enough to believe almost anything to find relief.

The people on the video were beaming with expressions of mindless joy typical of people who have relieved themselves of all critical thought and have agreed to cooperate with the program without asking questions.

When I saw that the program was endorsed by the ultimate guru of emotion-dismissal, Wayne Dyer, author of "Your Erroneous Zones," I let out a final groan and declared the Options Institute video fit for the trash.

Since little was said of the Son-Rise program itself, I still looked for some information on it. That's when I found your comments.

What attracted me to the Son-Rise program in the first place was the emphasis on taking cues from the child herself and participating in avenues that seem comfortable for or meaningful to or delightful to the child, and using such things as possible springboards to help her learn ways to navigate in an often overwhelming world.

I instinctively do such things with this little girl. For example, she got a kick out of the word pistacchios in a book. She loves saying it. I bought pistacchios to use as counting and multiplication objects in math lessons that would otherwise be a strain for her. So we have fun with these props. I also cooperate with her wish to arrange objects certain ways between math problems rather than trying to prevent her from "wasting time." Not interfering with her wish to arrange objects in particular ways actually allows us more time. When she finishes, she says, "Ok, what's next?" or she'll start on the next problem on her own. We'd really waste time if we got into a tug-of-war over arranging objects. Besides, I certainly have lots of things in my life I like to have arranged in certain ways, so why can't she?

I think I'll abandon the Son-Rise search, although I may read the initial book, "Son-Rise," to see what their experience was. I'm willing to allow that they may have some valid insights to share based on that. But like so many contemporary how-to-heal-yourself writers, I think that they have gone beyond their original and true basis of insight and have become egotistic, self-appointed gurus on how everyone should live. Their catalogue even has an obnixous-looking offering on one's relationship with money.

I truly do not understand how they have come to fancy themselves experts on such a broad range of topics just because they had some inspired and successful insights on how to work with their child who, apparently, was not as "severely autistic" as they claim.


I read your post [I did not write that posting - see note at the beginning of this document] on Son-Rise with great interest and you are correct with most of your observations. I had the unique experience of working there in a senior role about 5 years ago and came away concerned with the marketing aspects overwhelming any results oriented results. Interesting place and very organized in a cult like environment. The enire family has a role in keeping things going and Bears is very clever in the packaging. It is unfortunate how many families are mislead and deceived.


To Richard: I read your comments [I did not write that posting - see note at the beginning of this document] on the Son-Rise programs. I do not agree with a lot of what you wrote. I attended a Son-Rise Start-Up and Advanced program for my son and I didn't pay the institute a dime for all the information they gave me. Most of the parents and professionals that attend the programs are fully aware of all the other programs out there for children with Autism. When my son was diagnosed with Autism, I researched every program out there and dealt with the crappy public school system full of people who only care about their job security and not my child. The people at Son-Rise helped me accept my child the way he is. But accepting him doesn't mean that I do nothing. I can take action to help my child because I know my child the best. It is not about just being happy about everything, its about putting your love and hopes for your child into action. I do have to say that I do run my own version of the Son-Rise program. I do not lock the playroom door. My son loves to go into his playroom. Not everyone that learns the Son-Rise program run the program correctly. You are not suppose to encourage or join in with any type of crying or screaming. You are suppose to teach that crying and screaming is not an effective way of communcating but to teach language instead. Maybe you should attend a Start-Up program at the institute so you have a first hand account of what the program is about rather than second hand info. Loving MY child


I've just read your long posting [I did not write that posting - see note at the beginning of this document] on the son-rise program. Many of the good things you talk about I learnt in doing the son-rise program...i don't think they nicked it from you however...as they were writing the same sort of thing when raun was a little boy...I think they have the same ideas that you do...I am very surprised that you think they are worthy of critism and reproach...their marketing is the sign of enterprise and desire to reach out and spread the good news..not money sucking or callous...

Because your attitude is distrustful, no wonder they don't want to talk to you...its a real shame because I think you are all on the same wavelength in terms of what helps autistic children to develop. I helped my child using son-rise and aba, (all free approaches with charitable funding) and I found it totally complementary, so please don't spread distrust when it all helps.

Whether my daughter is proud of any lables that might be heaped on her head when she is older is up to her...I just needed to help her develop so that when she grows up she has the choice...and parents aren't around forever...

* (Son-Rise and ABA Mom)


Dear Richard,

Hello, my name is *. I spoke with you about 5 years ago when our family resided in Kansas and I let you know of Rainbows United there. Our family now lives in WI and the services here are incredible. We do full time in home ABA and are pleased with our provider, Dr. Eric Lund. 

The reason for my letter to you today is I have a few friends who told me that a Raun Kaufman came to their town in Ohio. I listened as my friends told me that this Raun claims to have been cured from Autism. This is always a huge warning flag for me as there is no cure for Autism, improvement yes, cure no. I decided to research the Son Rise program. The more I researched them the more livid i became. I came across a letter you wrote [I did not - see note at the beginning of this ducument] about their program it was titled A&P A long post about Son Rise. You provided so much information and I forwarded it on. The one thing you did not mention and it may not have been on their site when you wrote this post was that Son Rise compares their program to ABA. They seemed to know much about ABA and degraded it. The kicker is we know A LOT about ABA and have trained with the best in this nation. I contacted Son Rise about this and the young lady named Lori became very angry with me on the phone. I asked her if they had former therapist there with their BCBA or BCABA because they seemed to know an awful lot about it.
All this young lady could do was refer me to their links that never addressed any questions I had.

After this I began to receive letters from supposed Seniors and I received a letter from a supervisor. None of my questions were ever answered and they were valid and any Autism Provider would answer, but Son Rise never did. I asked them the cost of their program and what supports they offer families once returning home. I asked about Raun supposed cure from Autism because 30 years ago Autism was a rare DX and few Doctors gave that DX. MRDD was what was given most of the time. To suddenly emerge, what a farce I told them. I asked for the staff's educational backgrounds and I addressed their training for parents. I asked why a family could not bring their child with them because that is what families need help with. 

Like I said my questions were never answered and Son Rise is not forthcoming about anything including their relationship with Autism One that is run by DAN doctors.

I appreciate your time in reading this and just wanted you to know that I found your letter about Son Rise of great value.

Thank you for always looking out for the Autism Community.

May God BLess You


Back to ABA Resources

This document is rsaffran.tripod.com/sonrise.html, updated Tuesday, 19-Jun-2012 06:43:12 EDT

Copy? right! 1998-2098  . All content written by me may be redistributed provided (1) my text is not substantially altered and (2) my authorship is clearly attributed. Copyright otherwise remains with original authors. How to link to this site

This is a resource guide only, not therapeutic, diagnostic, medical, or legal advice. I am not endorsing any individual, organization, product, or service mentioned here, nor do my opinions represent their views. The information provided is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her physician or other service providers. Site privacy practices