Parents Given Hope In Dealing With Autism

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Parents Given Hope…

By Lyndee Yamshon

It is one of the medical world’s most mysterious disorders, but Raun Kaufman is living proof that those stricken with autism can recover.

At the age of 18 months, Kaufman, 28, was diagnosed with the developmental disorder that affects some 400,000 families in the US alone.

Yet today, Raun is completely recovered and, as part of the April Autism Awareness Month campaign, he is touring the country telling his story. It is a story that has already received much attention after Raun’s father, Barry, wrote a book “Son-Rise, The Miracle Continues” tracking his son’s recovery. In 1979, the book was made into an NBC television-movie and hundreds of families began contacting the Kaufman’s, until the family created The Son-Rise Program® to help others dealing with the disorder.

When Raun was just 18 months, several doctors told his family that his condition was for life and recommended he be institutionalized.

“People felt sorry for my family,” Raun said in an interview with Town & Village this week. “I was doing bizarre obsessive behaviors that other kids just did not do. But my parents decided to adopt a new attitude about me – coming from a place of acceptance of where I was – with a hope for the future they believed in possibilities for me.”
NEW HOPE – for Thomas Bracco and his family.

Raun said that his parents began observing his every move by taking notes and pictures and following his habits. Eventually, the family began to work with him in a small bathroom, removing all distractions from the room except for a few toys high on shelves.

“This way,” said Raun, “by removing distractions where my parents could only say yes, they became the center of my universe. I used to spin plates all day long, and when my mother joined me in the activity, she said I looked at her for the first time.”

The family created The Son-Rise Program® located at the Autism Treatment Center of America™ in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Based on full acceptance and a joining mentality in dealing with autism a disorder that can impair communication, social interaction, sensory skills and spontaneous and imaginative play and general behaviors the program offers a three-pan educational series for parents who are willing to join the world of their autistic child.

The Son-Rise Program® Start-Up is a week-long course during which parents learn basic teaching tools to bring back to their homes; The Son-Rise Program® Maximum Impact, a more detailed course teaching parents a nurturing attitude to instill in the home; and the The Son-Rise Program® Intensive, which provides the child with one-on-one sessions with therapists and teachers eight hours a day, and further parental training.

“If I had to sum up The Son-Rise Program® in a sentence,” said Raun, “the children show us the way in and we show them the way out.”

Dr Philip and Deborah of New York took part in the initial The Son-Rise Program® Start-Up with their eight-year-old son Thomas.

“A friend of ours suggested we pick up the book, and I became fascinated with the loving techniques of how to treat an autistic child,” said Deborah. “That friend of ours lived next door to Raun’s grandparents and recalled that Ron had severe problems as a child My friend noted Raun’s recovery to me.

“I thought that the Son-Rise technique of acceptance and support would be the only way to reach our According to the Braccos, Thomas was in his own world and, before taking part in the program, seemed perfectly happy to remain that way.

“I don’t think he knew we were around, except when he got his basic needs met,” said Deborah. “He never made eye contact, he would stare at cracks in the walls, he never spoke and most of all, he didn’t show any emotion.

“As strange as it seemed, we used to fake heart-attacks and he would step right over us.”

Today, the couple say that Thomas asks for what he needs and will even say, ‘I love you.’ Although obsessive-compulsive traits such as shaking or making noises – still surface, the parents believe their son is “70 percent better.”

Philip said The Son-Rise Program® Start-Up made the couple more aware of different ways to help themselves with a new attitude of love and acceptance.

“I don’t think I really understood what my son had until I came home and started the program with him,” said Philip. “I would work with Thomas for two hours and Debbie would do another two in his bedroom. Then we found four or five volunteers who we taught the program so they can provide back up help, giving Thomas up to 10 hours of help a day.”

The first change Deborah noticed in her son was his attempt at communication. He tried to talk, looked at her more often, touched her face and “just seemed to connect. I felt like I was reaching him for the first time,” she said.

Thomas’ father said the goal remains to get Thomas in a school environment but, at this point, he feels his needs won’t be fully met.

“The school curriculum is based on teaching colors and numbers, which is acceptable for a normal child. But making connections is what Thomas needs – he’s very smart and can learn all the other things.”

The Braccos say that their son is improving every day and The Son-Rise Program® has allowed them to begin to live a normal life.

“We never went on vacations or even went to restaurants because Thomas would get over-stimulated by noise. Four years later, we can go anywhere with him. People don’t even realize he’s different. He’ll crack jokes and laugh,” said Philip.

Thomas has two twin bothers and volunteers who play with him on a daily basis. Deborah spends all day with her son. While she admitted that it can be difficult, she said, “Life is easier than it was, because Thomas can communicate.

“Before he used to just cry and moan and I never knew what he wanted. Now he tells me verbally found four or five volunteers who we taught the program so they can provide back up help, giving Thomas up to 10 hours of help a day.”

The first change Deborah noticed in her son was his attempt at communication. He tried to talk, looked at her more often, touched her face and “just seemed to connect. I felt like I was reaching him for the first time,” she said.

Thomas’ father said the goal remains to get Thomas in a school environment but, at this point, he feels his needs won’t be fully met.

“The school curriculum is based on teaching colors and numbers, which is acceptable for a normal child. But making connections is what Thomas needs – he’s very smart and can learn all the other things.”

The Braccos say that their son is improving every day and The Son-Rise Program® has allowed them to begin to live a normal life.

“We never went on vacations or even went to restaurants because Thomas would get over-stimulated by noise. Four years later, we can go anywhere with him. People don’t even realize he’s different. He’ll crack jokes and laugh,” said Philip.

Thomas has two twin bothers and volunteers who play with him on a daily basis. Deborah spends all day with her son. While she admitted that it can be difficult, she said, “Life is easier than it was, because Thomas can communicate.

“Before he used to just cry and moan and I never knew what he wanted. Now he tells me verbally what he wants – to go for a ride in the car, to eat salad. He’s even learned how to be fresh with me. Sometimes when I tell him to pick up his toys, he’ll respond, ‘no, no.

Philip said that because of the Son-Rise philosophy of acceptance without judgment, it’s allowed their world to be better”

“If everyone had that attitude, I think the world would be a better place,” he said.

Through The Son-Rise Program®, the Bracco’s have learned to incorporate Thomas and their twin boys into their lives, and most of all, they have found happiness.

“One day a parent of another autistic boy in my twin’s class came up to me and thanked me,” recalled Deborah. “She said my boys were the only kids who interacted and played with him. I think that’s because we instituted love and acceptance in our home and it’s coming out in their personalities.”

Meanwhile, Raun plans to continue spreading his message of hope throughout Autism Awareness Month with a nationwide speaking tour which included a date at New York University this week.

He said, “People have accused me of advocating false hope, but hope can never be bad or wrong or inappropriate.

“Hope leads to action and, without action, none of these children can be helped.”

If you would like to find out more about The Son-Rise Program, call 1-877-SONRISE .

Have any questions? Ask an Autism Expert

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

CONTACT US

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

 

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