AUTISM TREATMENT CENTER OF AMERICA®

Out of a Distant World

Search Knowledge Base by Keyword

Out of a Distant World

You are here:
< Back
By: Cynthia Pegram Printed in: The News & Advance Lynchburg, VA Friday, Feb 1st, 2008,
Raun Kaufman said he once lived in the world of autism. “No language, no eye contact, no social communication — I seemed like the only person alive in my world. I was not aware of other people, even my parents.” Now 35, Kaufman is the Director of Global Education for the Autism Treatment Center of America, and a nationally known speaker about autism. The disorder, once considered rare, now occurs in an estimated one in 150 U.S. children. Autism is a developmental disorder that has a spectrum of symptoms from mild to incapacitating. No general cause or cure can be pinpointed although intensive studies are under way, nationwide. In 2000, Congressional legislation authorized the National Institutes of Health to establish centers of excellence for research on autism, but none is in Virginia. Autism impairs the ability to communicate with or interact with others. In 2006, more than 6,700 Virginia school children had an autism diagnosis, including 163 in Central Virginia. Kaufman will talk about his experiences in a free community program at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Lynchburg College’s Sydnor Performance Hall. The Rimland Center for Integrative Medicine in Lynchburg, a specialty pediatric practice, is a co-sponsor. As a child, “I was diagnosed as a severe case. I would spend my days in repetitive behavior,” said Kaufman in a phone interview this week. His parents, Neil and Samahria, were told that his was lifelong autism and that he had an IQ of less than 30. Instead of listening to the doomsday diagnosis, Kaufman’s parents developed a method to help him. “What they saw, … and we still see, is that autism is a social relational disorder,” said Kaufman. So, instead of trying to correct autism as misbehavior needing force “to conform me to a world I didn’t understand, they started by joining my world first.” When he was sitting on the floor spinning plates, said Kaufman, they would join in, even though the experts were telling them it would just reinforce his autistic behaviors. Instead, “this was the first time I started looking at them and including them in my play. It created the relationship and connection and opened the door to teach.” Kaufman remembers bits and pieces of that time, like the playroom his parents set up for him, and having fun with them. He also remembers aberrations in his vision, like looking out of the wrong end of a telescope. Kaufman believes that, for the autistic child, repetitive behaviors can offer some predictability in a world that seems to them “incredibly unpredictable.” Autistic children can have severely disordered sensory input, and the world can seem to bombard them with information. “Every day is like being in the center of an airport,” said Kaufman. As for Kaufman, by the time he was in first grade, his steady progress meant, “I was a typical kid.” An excellent student, he went on to graduate from Brown University with a degree in biomedical ethics. Today, with ATCA (founded by his parents in 1983) and its Son-Rise Program, he travels internationally to work with children and enroll parents in training. Autism has physiological, biological and neurological components, he said. The cause of autism isn’t his focus. “We start where the child is.” Many autistic children are highly sensitive to foods, and have very high levels of stress hormones, which have implications for the immune system and for biomedical intervention, as well, he said. And with treatment “we have not seen anything that equals the power of the parent.” In January, ATCA announced collaborative scientific research at Northwestern University in Chicago and at Lancaster University in England. Investigators will look at current Son-Rise treatments, evaluate ongoing treatment and past results. Kaufman said the ATCA initiated the studies to get data and numbers on how to be most helpful to parents. “We have thousands of different experiences, but that is considered anecdotal evidence,” he said. He’s familiar with critics who say he wasn’t really autistic as a child and that’s why he was able to recover. Kaufman said he was diagnosed by a number of doctors and facilities, and that his diagnosis was severe autism, not borderline, and he recovered. “I was the first child. I’m not the only child,” he said. It is suspicious, said Kaufman, that when any autistic child recovers, people say it was a false diagnosis and the child wasn’t really autistic.“It is disrespectful to the parents and children, who cross the immense barriers,” said Kaufman. “We’ve worked with thousands of children, many recovered, and many did not recover.” He said he had a friend diagnosed with cancer, who underwent chemotherapy and radiation and recovered from a potentially fatal cancer. “No one said she must have been misdiagnosed.” Yet, he said, people will take a 5-year-old “and write him off for the rest of his life, because of autism … I’m trying to combat that.” In Virginia, the rate of autism is increasing at between 10 and 17 percent a year, said John Toscano, president of Commonwealth Autism Service, a nonprofit organization supported in part by state funding. Concern about services for autistic children is also rising.Right now, services vary by the child’s age and where the child lives in the state, said Toscano. “Impoverished areas and those with lots of geographic challenges, access to services is pretty poor.” Pre-school programs are under-funded, he said. Schools are responsible for school-age children.“Post-school is really where the issues come,” said Toscano. Right now, Virginia has no single agency responsible for providing services across the lifespan to people with autism, he said. Toscano said that Commonwealth Autism Service gets more than 1,000 calls a year from people looking for information about autism. CAS can give information about best practices, but decisions about which might work for any given child rests with the parents. The organization has an information and referral program, and can be contacted at (800) 649-8481. For more information •Visit www.autismtreatmentcenter.org •Visit www.rimlandcenter.com •Visit www.autismva.org

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,

Jackline

 

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

 

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.