Sheffield, MA, USA 01257

About Us

The Son-Rise Program® at the
Autism Treatment Center of America

The Son-Rise Program is a powerful and effective treatment for children and adults challenged by Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Asperger’s Syndrome, and other developmental difficulties. The Son-Rise Program is different than – even opposite to – almost everything you’ve been told to do to help your child. Our program shows how joining children in their own unique worlds before asking them to join us in ours makes it possible for these special children to reach new heights!

The Autism Treatment Center of America offers Online Training Courses in The Son-Rise Program methodology for parents, professionals and caregivers. Consultation and counseling sessions have been made available for those seeking individualized help. The Son-Rise Program was awarded “Best Autism Therapy” at The National AutismOne Conference and continues to be a leading innovative and successful treatment program. Over the past 40 years, more than 45,000 individuals, families and children from over 140 different countries have attended programs presented by the Autism treatment Center of America.

Founders Barry 'Bears' Neil Kaufman and Samahria Kaufman


The Son-Rise Program was created by authors and teachers Barry (“Bears”) Neil Kaufman and his wife Samahria Lyte Kaufman, when their son, Raun, was diagnosed with having a severe and incurable case of Autism and they were advised to put him in an institution. The Kaufmans instead, designed an innovative home-based, child-centered program (The Son-Rise Program) in an attempt to reach their little boy. Their unique program, which marked a complete departure from all existing methods of treatment, resulted in his Raun’s full recovery from autism. He transformed from a mute, withdrawn child with an IQ of less than 30 into a highly verbal, socially interactive youngster with a near-genius IQ. Raun went on to graduate from an Ivy League university, was a director of an educational center for school-aged children and eventually, for a period of time he taught and assumed directorial roles in The Son-Rise Program and in his parents teaching center.

Following the publication of Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues, which documents their journey with Raun, the Kaufmans wrote a screenplay of the book, that went on to became an award-winning NBC TV movie Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love seen in over 90 countries in the world. After this, the Kaufmans were flooded with requests for help. Responding to this demand, they established The Autism Treatment Center of America and The Option Institute®, where they have been offering The Son-Rise Program since 1983.

Mr. Kaufman additionally wrote many other books sharing stories of their work with other children, families and adults as well as books like Happiness Is A Choice which documents the underlying philosophy and educational perspective that underlies many of the programs they have created over the past 40 years. There are over three million copies of the Kaufman’s books in print in over 65 countries.

In addition to raising their three biological children, they chose to adopt three more children from circumstances of trauma, as a way to express their gratitude for what they had learned in their journey with Raun. One of their adopted sons had been seriously malnourished, resulting in physiological, motor and other challenges. Bears and Samahria worked with him and he thrived, demonstrating a keen mind and a wonderful ability to learn. Another son, whose mother had died and who had his throat slit by his birth father, found support, guidance and love in the expanding Kaufman family. Their adoption of an eleven-year-old girl from El Salvador, also a trauma survivor, completed their immediate family. The Kaufmans have passed this tradition on to their own children, some of who have adopted children from similar situations, further expanding their multi-racial, multi-cultural family.

Speak to a Program Advisor
Autism Games with The Son-Rise Program

We have seen that children
on the autism spectrum can:

  • Learn to speak, even if they’ve never spoken.
  • Experience real happiness, satisfaction, and love, even if they seem frustrated or combative right now.
  • Have deep, meaningful, caring relationships with others, even though they may have appeared disconnected for years.
  • Have fun, reciprocal conversations, even if they have a history of rigid communication.
  • Make close friends, even if they don’t start with the interest or the tools to do so.
  • Live a life that may include college, dates, sports, jobs, hobbies, travel, girlfriends/boyfriends – regardless of how many of these life experiences their parents have been told were simply not possible.



We can help you to bring your child as far across the bridge from Autism to recovery as possible. For some, this means complete recovery. For others, this means improvements in their child’s development, human connection, communication, skill acquisition and quality of life far beyond what most would have ever predicted


  • Establish a warm, interactive rapport with your child.
  • Implement effective educational techniques.
  • Enable your child to move beyond repetitive “stimming” behaviors.
  • Move through challenging behaviors (such as tantrums or hitting).
  • Become a confident teacher and advocate for your child.
  • Motivate your child to learn–and to enjoy learning.
  • Optimize your child’s learning environment.
  • Jump-start speech and language development.
  • Relax and have fun–without giving up what you want for yourself and your child.
  • Recruit and train a team of volunteers and helpers.
  • Find a sense of peace and comfort with your child’s present challenges.
  • Create and sustain an attitude of hope and optimism about your child’s future.



Call 1-877-766-7473 to book a FREE 25-minute Initial Call with one of our Program Advisors.
Alternatively, use our contact form for more options to get in touch with us.


Son-Rise Program Testimonials from Doctors and Professionals

I highly recommend The Son-Rise Program to all parents, to family members, and to practitioners of persons on the autism spectrum. It combines validated therapies with an easy-to-use approach. I frequently refer our patients to The Son-Rise Program, and I have seen the objective improvements in my patients with my own eyes. It has also helped my own son and our family tremendously. The Son-Rise Program will help make a huge impact in the lives of persons of all ages with ASDs, and it will provide great benefit and comfort to families and to practitioners.

Phillip C. DeMio, M.D.

Executive Director of the American Medical Autism Board and Chief Medical Officer of the US Autism and Asperger Association

The Son-Rise Program changed my life and the life of my daughter, who showed all the signs of early stage autism. Today she thrives because I knew exactly what to do: ignore all the dire predictions and immerse her in precisely the principles and techniques described in The Son-Rise Program. I couldn’t recommend this program more enthusiastically—not only for those who love a child or an adult with challenges, but for all parents and professionals. The Son-Rise Program turns the all-powerful principles of unconditional love into a practical blueprint that anyone can follow.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Author, I Can See Clearly Now (and many other books)

Long before medical science understood that the brain is fluid and can be changed, The Son-Rise Program was treating children and adults with autism using this principle to guide them. Our children are not “stuck” with neurological problems. Autism is not hard-wired. I know this as fact, for my own son fully recovered from autism to become the president of his 6th grade class today (in a regular, mainstream school) thanks to my family’s adoption of The Son-Rise Program. As a medical professional, I know that medicine today offers little to these children other than a dismal prognosis. It doesn’t have to be that way! Not only do many children completely recover using this program, but whole families change and grow and thrive.

Wendy Edwards, M.D.

Pediatrician, B.Sc.N., F.R.C. P. (C)., Canada

In my practice of psychiatry in a teaching hospital over several decades, I have never been introduced to a set of clinical principles as powerful, elegant and effective as those of The Son-Rise Program. By joining children in their world, practitioners of The Son-Rise Program endeavor to eliminate the sense of isolation so often experienced by children on the autism spectrum. The outcomes are truly stunning: children make concrete and sweeping progress, often far outstripping their original prognosis, and parents overcome feelings of devastation and learn to accept, enjoy, and meaningfully help their children.

Ted McCarthy, M.D.

Former Chief of Psychiatry, Mercy Hospital, Maine

The Son-Rise Program is remarkable. The Kaufmans have done a stellar job of weaving together sensibility, science and meticulous learning from their own life experience with autism. Their approach is accessible to all parents; in a way of being that empowers them to become the “expert” for their child. Building on parents’ innate desire and ability, they provide an easy to understand framework and practical exercises that help nurture and nourish children’s minds and bodies—things you can do with your children at home. They share an eye opening perspective that has helped countless children around the world.

Julie Matthews, B.S., N.C.

Leading autism diet and nutrition specialist, cofounder of Nourishing Hope and author of Nourishing Hope for Autism, Nutrition & Diet Guide for Healing our Children.

As a physician trained in pediatrics and adult medicine, I have felt utterly hopeless in my quest to help my son. My profession generally offers little in traditional medicine. I took my son to see many doctors and he has received many hours of ABA, Speech, PT, Aquatic, Music, hypnotherapy and other therapies. I am sure that he received some particular benefit from these therapies, but nothing substantial. The Son-Rise Program Start-Up was the first time that I learned that my relationship with my son is the foundation to his recovery. He is reachable, he can be helped. We will have a new journey and a new world. My attitude and life have changed forever.

Audrey Powell, M.D.

Pediatric Physician, Texas | Child’s name: Mitchell, Age: 5, Diagnosis: Autism

I am a physician who treats thousands of children & adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and I have seen Raun K. Kaufman and The Son-Rise Program in action both for my own son and for countless others. The Program is sensible and useful for affected persons with ASD’s of all ages, and I refer patients to The Son-Rise Program frequently. The results have been scientifically validated and are excellent both for the family and the patient, and I’ve seen the objective improvements in my patients with my own eyes.

Phillip C. DeMio, M.D.

Executive Director: American Medical Autism Board, Chief Medical Officer: U.S. Autism and Asperger’s Association, Ohio

Because I have integrated the Kaufmans’ work into my own treatment program, my clients consistently achieve lasting changes in speech and their lives that many in my profession have deemed impossible. It has profoundly influenced both my work and my personal life.

Catherine S. Otto, M.S., CCC-SLP

Speech Pathologist/International Stuttering Specialist, Director, Total Immersion Fluency Training, New York

If only more professionals could experience The Son-Rise Program, I know they too would remember why they became teachers in the first place and would then know how they could help both students and parents find what their child is capable of.

Juliette Zaiser, M.Ed.

RDT, LCAT, Oregon

I am amazed at the simplicity and beauty of the techniques taught by the Kaufmans. It is such an effective system because it places what I believe to be the most valuable therapeutic component—loving attention—at the center of the process. As both a therapist and client I have found these techniques to be extremely helpful in changing feelings and behaviors.

Bert Voerman

Psychologist, The Netherlands

The techniques taught by the Kaufmans have increased my effectiveness in every area of my profession a thousand fold! It has enabled me to deepen and solidify my loving, respectful and nonjudgmental attitude toward the very special children and families with whom I work. With the knowledge that each of us is doing the best we can, and that we all have our own answers to the challenges we face, I am able to help my clients find their own way of maximizing their potential and live happy, fulfilling lives.

Ellen Stanley, Bachelor of Applied Science Early Childhood and Elementary Education

Developmental Therapist

As a Distinguished Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Neurology at Northwestern University and a leading researcher in the brain and language processing, I strongly endorse the Son-Rise Program. The program, shown to greatly improve the communication and social skills of children and adults on the autism spectrum, uses a unique and rich set of treatment procedures grounded in scientific principles. Recent experimental research examining the short-term and long-term effects of this method, in which I participated, attests to its efficacy. Indeed, if I had a child with autism, this is absolutely the program I’d select to help him/her.

Cynthia K. Thompson, Ph.D.

Leading Researcher, Distinguished Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders, and Neurology, Northwestern University, Illinois


Please note, this is a per-person registration

This is only available as an add-on course for active subscribers to The Son-Rise Program Online. Please make sure you are subscribed before registering for this mini-course.



Please note, this is a per-person registration

This is a Parent Training Program designed for adults/parents only.


NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration



NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration

Pre-Requisites for this course are:

  • You have completed one of the following: The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, The Son-Rise Program Online Course, or you have done Son-Rise Program Consultations.



NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration

Pre-Requisites for this course are:

  • You have completed one of the following: The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, The Son-Rise Program Online Course, or you have done Son-Rise Program Consultations.



NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration

Pre-Requisites for this course are:

  • Your child is 7 years or older.
  • Your child uses sentences, asks and answers questions and might even be able to have back and forth conversations with other people.
  • You have completed one of the following: The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, The Son-Rise Program Online Course, or you have done Son-Rise Program Consultations.


NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration


NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration

Pre-Requisites for this course are:



NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration


NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration


NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration


NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course. Please note, this is a per-person registration

Please make sure you understand the following pre-requisites for this course before registering.

Pre-requisites for this course are:

  • Your child is currently using babbling sounds or unclear words, or
  • Your child has a vocabulary of less than 20 words and is not yet speaking in phrases.
  • You have completed one of the following: The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, The Son-Rise Program Online Course, or you have done Son-Rise Program Consultations.


NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.
Please note, this is a per-person registration

Please make sure you understand the following pre-requisites for this course before registering.

Pre-requisites for this course are:

  • For parents or care-givers who have attended The Start-Up course or who have done The Son-Rise Program Online course.
  • For families who have already started running a Son-Rise Program for their children.


Amanda Louison

  • CEO
  • Director of Operations
  • Senior Son-Rise Program Advisor
  • Former Son-Rise Program Child Facilitator

Personal Statement

"I came to the Autism Treatment Center of America in October of 2008 where I took the position as the Intensive Coordinator. Before coming to the Autism Treatment Center of America, I worked with special children for 13 years, and upon my arrival fell in-love with the Son-Rise Program®. The modality of “Bonding through acceptance” opened my eyes to a world of love and acceptance for my own son, who has ADHD, and inspired me to want to live a happier, more loving life. I soon set the intention of doing the Son-Rise Program® Child Facilitator Training so I could share my love with children on a much deeper level. I spent six months observing and learning the Son-Rise Program, and in April of 2009 was accepted into the Son-Rise Program® Child Facilitator Training Program and in July of 2010, I became a Son-Rise Program® Child Facilitator staff member and cherished my time in the playroom as a facilitator.

I continued my training at The Autism Treatment Center of America to become a Senior Son-Rise Program® Advisor. My love of Son-Rise Program® inspired me to talk with parents who are just beginning their journey and who are continuing journey with their children using the Son-Rise Program® principals and techniques.

Through the years, I found myself wanting to help our staff grow and the organization flourish, so I have now moved into a managerial role while still working as a Senior Program Advisor. I am currently the Director of Operations and Deputy CEO of the Autism Treatment Center of America and the Option Institute and look forward to working with our staff and with parents of children on the Autism Spectrum for many years to come."

Fun Facts:

Amanda has been married for 24 years and has two amazing children, a son age 22 and daughter who is 18. Some of her favorite hobbies are hiking, reading, finding tag sales, traveling and spending time with her family.

Dear Donor,

Jeannie Reid was searching for answers to the challenges she and her family were facing. Jeannie and her husband Stuart’s son, Carson, had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the Autism spectrum. For Carson that meant being completely involved in obsessive behaviors and only using minimal words to identify objects, as well as frequently and completely melting down.

Soon after, Jeannie found the book, “Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues” and when she read it, she KNEW she had found what she was looking for. She began using some of the Son-Rise techniques described in the book on her own until she was able to come to The Autism Treatment Center of America for the Son-Rise Program Start-Up. As she put into practice what she learned there, Carson’s world was opening up. Today Carson is attending a Montessori school as a 'typical' student and functioning at or above typical grade level, being fully verbal and conversational, and very interested in learning about the world and interacting as much as possible with other people. He is even taking swim lessons at the local YMCA and doing great!

“It has been wonderful to get, and stay connected with other people and Son-Rise parents from all over the world. My son’s progress had already come very far, but now I truly believe we can go all the way!”

Jeannie wrote.

Stuart Reid then attended the Empower Yourself course and brought home a new sense of clarity, balance and personal power. He shared his new empowerment with Jeannie and she in turn gained in confidence, strength and enthusiasm. Their own relationship began to flourish anew, as well. Life-altering changes were happening for Jeannie and her family.

Jeannie journeyed again to Sheffield, this time for the Fearless course at The Option Institute to help her recognize and overcome her personal obstacles. Jeannie wanted to continue her amazing journey as she had found using the techniques she learned in The Son-Rise Program and in Fearless had absolutely changed the lives of everyone in her family.

But, because the Reids’ finances had been seriously stretched by then, their next steps were put on hold. Then an amazing event changed everything. Jeannie’s college roommate and lifelong friend decided to start a Son-Rise Program scholarship fund for people from the Cleveland area. Since then Jeannie has been able to move ahead with her courses, taking Radical Authenticity, Son-Rise Maximum Impact and Son-Rise Wide Awake ... and eventually she became a Certified Group Facilitator.

Jeannie Reid’s story is about wanting BIG and making it happen. She is about to embark on her renewed private practice as an art therapist, and plans to be a super advocate for The Son-Rise Program in her area. Her wonderful new life is a product of her persistence and belief, and of the wheels she helped set in motion for others when her friends learned of how she and her family had been impacted by The Son-Rise Program.

“I know I will be able to give back by helping others, and that will be the top of my personal mountain! Thank you to everyone who donates! You are making a big difference in the world!

Jeannie Reid


Dear Donor

Two years ago, Antonio's kindergarten teacher told us something was not quite right with our little boy. He was not socializing, he somersaulted all the time and hardly spoke at all. At the time I was working for a municipality close to Florence, Italy and basically I had nothing left after seeing to basic necessities.

In the meantime, I looked up Autism with Google and as I was also looking for happiness and personal growth, I was guided to The Option Institute, thence the Autism Treatment Center of America. I read up as much as I could and started trying to apply the “Happiness is a Choice” suggestions. I'm not quite good at it but it has helped me with attitude, and everything else that seemed trying is really different after all this.

When I decided to come for The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, I really had little or no money to pay for it. I spoke to my friends, old and new. My mother helped me, friends I thought couldn't [help] tried their very best and the scholarship did the rest.

What the scholarship did was give a HUGE boost to my fundraising. About six friends contributed the rest, at the travel agency a very kind lady who I may now call a friend helped me some more. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Here I am, happy to have attended the Start-Up program and looking forward to learning more and praying to God for guidance.

So the gist of the matter is, I am a happy mum who hopes to implement a wonderful relationship with her child and is riding a not so easy moment with lots of hope in her heart and THANK YOU is not enough for what I feel. I still remember William's words, “If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got.” Now I'm trying to do different, bit by bit, day by day. I feel the difference already.

About Antonio ... we are going on with the Italian program and I play with Antonio after school in a quiet room in the house. Knowing what the little guy is exposed to (he's always putting his fingers in his ears and he seems to have problems with too much light in his eyes), I find him very brave as he bears it tolerably. Drums a lot to digest it all.

When we went to the doctor, just weeks after starting the program at home, she told me that she found him more attentive. His attention span has increased. He is also tagging or pulling at one's arm when looking for attention. The child psychologist last Saturday reported the same thing and what's more, my son has always required that I enter the room, hence assisting in every session. Well, this time he went in along with the doctor and told me, “See you later.”

At school, his teacher who speaks English as well, read up and watched my DVD (Kyle’s Journey, Jade and “I want my little boy back”). Now she's changing, bit by bit and I do appreciate that very much. He seems to be OK with her and actually sent me away from class this morning, again telling me, “See you later.”

He is now ONE HUGE GREENLIGHT and I'm hoping to be able to really have volunteers (still looking), raise funds and settle down to business.

God bless,



Dear Donor,

I am the mother of three children, all on the Autism Spectrum. Before I heard of the Son-Rise Program and the Option Institute, I was a desperate, angry and depressed person…. I was on Anti-depressants, sleeping multiple hours of the day, and for a period of time, using alcohol to run away from my pain.

Then I heard of the Son-Rise Program. I called to find out more about it and thought “this if for me!” But I could not afford it. You see raising one child with Autism is very expensive but raising three is just outrageously expensive with all the therapies and dietary interventions that we were doing.

But I was offered a full scholarship to the SRSU program. I have since attended all of the Son-Rise Programs and many of the Personal Growth programs offered by the Option Institute.  Each time I have been given a scholarship and each time I go I learn more about who I am and I change for the better each and every time.  Because of your most generous support, my children are recovering from Autism, I have found happiness in my life!  I am no longer on anti-depressants and I have so much more energy.

YOU are the reason that my family is in recovery. It is because of YOU that my oldest son now is enjoying school.  YOU are the reason my second son is speaking. YOU are the reason my daughter is no longer as rigid and controlling as she once was.  Thank you does not even begin to cover how much gratitude I have for you.  I thank God every day for you and I do not even know you.

Please know that you are changing lives with your donation to ATCA and the OI.  It is because of you that every day people are getting the help that they need. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

With so much love,

Kerry Rihtar


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