A Child Lured Out By An Emotional Connection

Search Knowledge Base by Keyword

A Child Lured Out By An Emotional Connection

You are here:
< Back
Reprinted from South China Post, Canada

The unsuspecting dinner guest simply did not get it when Kilee’s parents praised her for hurling a toy at him. My niece laughed, spun around and hurled another, then stared at him intently, albeit briefly.

Kilee, aged 3.5, is autistic and her family is more accustomed to her avoiding eye contact and seeming oblivious to visitors. A year ago, Kilee was completely withdrawn and obviously unhappy, but things are changing. During the past 12 months, she has been involved in The Son-Rise Program, an Autism Treatment programme designed to help her become a willing participant in life.

Kilee’s introduction to the world begins with guests entering her playroom and her world, meeting her on her terms.

During the 10 to 12 hours of daily playtime, Kilee is in charge of the activities. There are no orders or reprimands and whatever Kilee chooses to do is fine. The goals of her ‘guests’ or ‘facilitators’ include developing eye contact, word or word approximation and extending the length of appropriate play, even if this means joining Kilee in body-painting or spitting juice on the floor. Kilee’s mother, Tammy

Patchell-Evans, said that before starting the Son-Rise programme, Kilee never responded to her name; now she responds 80 per cent of the time. ‘She’s gone from only noticing family faces to being intrigued by new faces. She’s just started to use words instead of just saying them. She’s expanded her eating habits, she’s potty-trained, and she’s 100 per cent happier,’ Ms Patchell-Evans said.

Parents and professionals helping children with special needs often have specific agendas: teach the child to talk, use the toilet, eat with utensils, read or perform practical skills.

The aim of the Son-Rise programme is to have every child realise those capabilities. But, rather than trying to control the agenda to teach a child specific skills, the goal is to encourage them to become a fully participating and motivated person on the precept that this has the greatest impact in the long term.

The programme’s power lies in the attitude of the ‘facilitators’ (who may include parents, friends, volunteer and paid workers): loving and non-judgmental.

Behaviour is not labelled as good or bad, right or wrong. The perspective is that each child is doing the best he or she can. Instead of pushing them to conform, the goal is to understand their world and encourage them to want to learn more and join ‘our’ world.

When Kilee was diagnosed with autism, her parents bought every book they could and logged on to the Internet. They also checked out what was available where they lived – in London in Ontario, Canada – which turned out to be behavioural modification therapy.

Ms Patchell-Evans participates in a support group of about 12 women, 10 of whom are using behavioural therapy and two following the Son-Rise programme.

Ms Patchell-Evans said: ‘Most [children in behavioural therapy] are verbal, with language skills ranging from ‘yes’ or ‘no’ only to a huge vocabulary, but they seem to have very little comprehension. They have knowledge of ‘appropriate’ information but are unable to apply what they have learned to daily living. They know that the fire truck on the flash card is red but they would not recognise a real fire truck.

‘It has been my experience that these kids are like well-trained animals and their responses are unnatural, almost Pavlovian. ‘Our thinking is that autism is an emotion-based disease that has some physical components but is largely to do with a lack of understanding relationships. We feel the Son-Rise programme is emotional in nature and therefore goes to the root of the problem.’ The Son-Rise programme is not available in Hong Kong; nor was it available where Kilee’s family live. They went to the

Option Institute, a non-profit centre in Sheffield, Massachusetts, in the United States, which runs Son-Rise.

They completed the one-week residential programme and returned to London where they started their own programme, keeping in contact with the Option Institute staff.

The institute was established following the successful experience of founders Barry and Samahria Kaufman with their son, Raun, who at 18 months was mute and totally withdrawn. Doctors and specialists told the Kaufmans that with an IQ of less than 30, Raun eventually would have to be institutionalised.

Defying the experts, the Kaufmans designed and implemented their unique, child-centred, home-based programme, working with Raun 12 hours every day, for more than three years. When they finished, Raun had evolved into a highly verbal, extroverted, loving and intelligent young boy with a high IQ. They say he bore no traces of his original condition and went on to graduate from an Ivy League university with a degree in biomedical ethics.

When Ms Patchell-Evans asked how many children are ‘cured’, the response was a little fuzzy. The Option Institute does not formally track the results of the programme because many parents do not want toparticipate in this data collection. They do not want their child stigmatised by the word autism or submitted for testing and re-testing. She was told that hundreds of children have been ‘cured or gone into remission’, but also that there is no guarantee.

Have any questions? Ask an Autism Expert

Contact us for a complimentary priority call with a Son‑Rise Program Advisor & free Autism resources.


Our Commitment to Privacy

The Autism Treatment Center of America® (a division of The Option Institute & Fellowship®) are committed to your privacy. This notice serves to help you better understand what information we collect, how we use that information, and with whom we may share a limited portion of that information. If you have questions or concerns regarding this policy, you should contact Customer Support by email psupport@option.org.

We know that you value your personal information, and we strive to protect your privacy as if it were our own. The Autism Treatment Center of America (a division of The Option Institute & Fellowship) uses of your information is limited to the ways outlined in this notice, except as required by law and/or to comply with a judicial proceeding, court order, or legal process served on us.

Information We Collect From You

  1. Online Contact and Info Requests: If you submit an online request for Option Institute products such as free brochures, or submit a question through a “Contact Us” or “Call-Me” form, we may have to gather additional information from you to respond to your request. Such information will include name, shipping address, telephone number, and email address.
  2. Non-Personal Information We Receive Automatically: Like most websites, we utilize cookies. Cookies are a mechanism to remember information about you when you navigate from one web page to another. Our website uses cookies to hold a user’s unique session identifiers, allowing us to serve correct information back to the user. Such information may include your language and currency. Our website cookies do not hold any personally identifiable information. We may use other similar technologies that allow us to collect non-personally identifiable information about your visit to help us better your experience.

Lawful Basis For Processing Your Data

  1. Consent: We will not process any personal information unless you agree to our Privacy policy and freely give consent to process your information for the purpose of your request.
  2. Fulfillment of Requests: We only store and process your information for the purpose of your request. Your information is removed and no longer processed after the request has been fulfilled. If you have also freely consented to receive marketing or promotional communications via a request form or registration form, we will retain your information until you revoke your consent or unsubscribe from receiving those communications via the instructions located at the bottom of all our emails.

Sharing of Your Data

  1. If we are required by law: we will disclose information about you in response to a subpoena, court order, or other legitimate governmental request.
  2. We will only share your data with third party service providers such as email services to facilitate fulfilment of your information or contact request. None of your information will be processed or stored by any third party if you choose to revoke your consent or submit a request to be forgotten.
  3. We do not share or distribute your information with any other third parties for any purposes other than the purposes you freely consent to.

Use Of Information Collected From You

  1. Information Requests and Customer Service: After submitting information to us via our online forms, your contact information including your email address will be used to respond to that request. After you submit online information requests to us, you may, from time to time, receive email or other communications from us or our service providers with information including information about our upcoming programs or products if you choose to agree to receive those communications. If you do not wish to receive these communications, you are able to opt out of at any time by following the unsubscribe link found in the email.
  2. Third-Party Service Providers: We work closely with other companies and individuals to facilitate transactions and better your experience. Examples of third-party service provider services include shipping orders, analyzing data, providing accurate search results and links, affiliate marketing, and newsletters. Any information that we share with a third-party service provider is done so safely, securely, and under a contractual relationship with that provider to protect your data.
  3. Promotional events: From time to time, we or a service provider acting on our behalf may use your name, email address, telephone number and/or mailing address to send you information or offers for a program, product or other service we believe to be of interest to you. If you do not wish to receive these communications, you are able to opt out of at any time by following the unsubscribe link found in the email.

Data Retention Policy

We maintain a data retention policy to protect your data. Information collected on our website will be retained for as long as necessary to fulfill the purpose for which it was collected.

How We Secure Your Information

We are committed to protecting the security of your personal information and to honoring your choices for its intended use. To prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and ensure the correct use of information, we strive to maintain physical, electronic, and administrative safeguards. We use industry standard security protocol such as encryption and https security protocol to protect your information.
Any time we share your information with a third party consistent with this Privacy Policy, we utilize technological or contractual safeguards in an effort to keep your information safe.
While we are confident ordering online is safe and secure, if for any reason you cannot access the secure server or feel uncomfortable ordering online, please feel free to place your order with us by phone at 877-766-7473 or +001-413-229-2100.
At any time you wish to opt out of receiving promotional mailings, you may call or email Customer Service (psupport@option.org).

Your Rights

At any time, you can use the following request form https://gdpr.autismtreatmentcenter.org/ to request any of the following:

  1. Confirm whether or not personal data about you is being processed.
  2. Provide you with further details about how we process your personal data.
  3. Provide you with a copy of any data which we hold about you.
  4. Withdraw your consent to using your personal information, where we rely on your consent as a legal basis to justify using your personal data.
  5. Consider any valid objection to the processing of your personal information (including the right to object to processing on grounds related to your particular situation where we are relying on our legitimate interests as a legal basis for processing).
  6. Request to update or delete personal data which we hold about you.
  7. Restrict the way that we process your personal data.
  8. Consider any valid request to transfer your personal data to a third party provider of services (data portability).

We will consider all requests. However, certain personal information may be exempt from those requests in certain circumstances, which include a need to keep processing information for our legitimate interests or to comply with a legal obligation. If such an exception applies, we will notify you when responding to your request. Please note that we may ask you to provide us with information necessary to confirm your identity before responding.

Policy Updates

We reserve the right to update the above policy at any time. If we decide to change our Privacy Policy, we will post the updates to this Privacy Policy here and on any other place we deem appropriate, so that you are aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it.