Our Teachers & Staff

Son-Rise Program Teachers

Barry 'Bears' Neil Kaufman

Barry Neil Kaufman

Co-Founder/Co-Originator
Senior Teacher/Trainer

Samahria Lyte Kaufman

Samahria Lyte Kaufman

Co-Founder/Co-Originator
Senior Teacher/Trainer

Raun Kaufman

Raun K. Kaufman

Director of Global Education
and Group Facilitator

Kate Wilde

Kate Wilde

Director of Global Outreach

Becky Damgaard

Becky Damgaard

Son-Rise Program Teacher

Camila Frauendorf-Titone

Camila Frauendorf-Titone

Son-Rise Program Teacher

Son-Rise Program Enrollment Department

Amanda Louison

Program Advisor Manager &
Senior Program Advisor

Lori Pete

Program Advisor

Emily Aronow

Program Advisor

Wendy LaRocque

PED Administrative Support Trainer

Dane Griffith

PED Manager

Suzanne Pruss

Mentor Advisor & Teacher

World Wide Communications

Dominic Fanelli

On-Site Webmaster/Developer

Lauren Astor

Video Creation/Editor

Philanthropy & Finance

Clyde Haberman

Director of Philanthropy

Kathy Gogel

Philanthropy Coordinator

Tim Siebert

Chief Financial Officer

Kelly Healey

Accounting Supervisor

Lori-Ann Kueblbeck

Accounting Clerk

Executive Assistant & IT

Monica Gereda

Executive Assistant to the CEO

Kevin Gittelman

IT Director

David Rogers-Thieriot

Systems Administrator

Facilities

Yvette Hitchcock Duval

Head Chef

Jason Ouellette

Kitchen & Property Assistant

Kevin Curtis

Mail Room Clerk

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.

 

Camila Frauendorf Titone


  • Son-Rise Program Teacher

Personal Statement

"I have been working at the Autism Treatment Center of America since 2004. I have been extremely fortunate to meet and work directly with well over 600 families and their children touched by Autism. I believe I have the best job in the world and I am incredibly passionate and grateful for working and helping special children and their families. Originally from Brazil and with a background in arts, I find I can be my most creative and fun self when playing with and helping our children on the spectrum and teaching parents how to be comfortable, creative and awesomely capable in supporting and helping their children to grow."

Fun Facts

Camila is married and has 2 daughters and some of their favorite things to do as a family are: skiing, hiking, swimming in the ocean and on lakes, growing delicious vegetables and cooking together. They often have “Talent Shows” at their house on Friday nights.

Becky Damgaard


  • Son-Rise Program Teacher

Personal Statement

“With a deep desire to make a difference in the lives of children with Autism, I packed my world into a suitcase and travelled to The Autism Treatment Center of America from the United Kingdom in 2004. I have never looked back. The Son-Rise Program has brought such meaning to my life, and practicing this amazing work, has allowed me to love, bigger than I ever had before. Inspiring hope in parents, and encouraging children to reach out and connect with their loved ones is such a great joy to me. I have worked with over 700 children and families, and I look forward to meeting you."

Fun Facts

  • Loves spending quality time with her daughter, exploring, playing, growing together
  • Enjoys singing/songwriting/performing, playing guitar, piano, and Ukulele. Has her own band!
  • Currently learning to Hoop Dance

Samahria Lyte Kaufman


  • Co-Founder/Co-Creator of The Son-Rise Program (1974)
  • Has taught The Son-Rise Program to parents and professionals for over 40 years
  • Has presented The Son-Rise Program in Europe, North and South America
  • Co-Authored the screen play for Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love based on the best-selling book, Son-Rise, The Miracle Continues, written by her husband, “Bears”, Barry Neil Kaufman, about the inspiring and transformative journey she, along with Bears, created and shared with their once-autistic son, Raun.
  • Co-Founded The Option Institute International Learning and Training Center and the Autism Treatment Center of America in 1983

Personal Statement

"In 1974, as a young mother, I sat on the floor in a small bathroom with my son, Raun, who had been diagnosed with Autism. In a decision born out of love and the passion to know my son, I had decided to join my son’s bizarre world of flapping and rocking to connect with him, instead of forcing him to conform to my world or putting him in an institution as we had been advised to do. That leap of faith combined with self-trust and respect for this child in my midst, we began an adventure, together with a team of volunteers we had trained, and worked tirelessly with Raun twelve hours per day, seven days per week, spanning three-and-a-half years. Raun emerged from a severe state of Autism with a tested score of under 30 I.Q., into a highly verbal, socially interactive youngster with a near-genius IQ who no longer exhibited any signs of Autism.

My desire to help others paved a road to the creation of the Autism Treatment Center of America, the home of The Son-Rise Program... and my husband, Bears, and I have devoted our lives to helping others know and manifest the infinite possibilities they possess. From beginning to end, this has been a journey of love, no matter how grand the challenges have been, how many people have tried to stop us, or how emphatically others have expressed their beliefs of the impossibility of the power to change we each possess. This is a continuous adventure we take within ourselves and, as long as my heart is beating, Bears and I will never stop helping others to achieve their dreams."

Barry ("Bears") Neil Kaufman


  • Co-Founder of the Son-Rise Program and Autism Treatment Center of America (1983)
  • Has taught The Son-Rise Program to parents and professionals for over 40 years
  • Best-selling author of 12 books including Happiness Is A Choice, Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues, and A Miracle to Believe In.
  • Noted international speaker, Group Facilitator and teacher

Personal Statement

"Raun, our third child, developed autism during a time when autism was diagnosed as part of infantile childhood schizophrenia….and behavioral techniques, including reward/punishment and electric shocks were the commonplace treatments. Irreversible and incurable were terms used to describe his condition. Samahria and I decided that we would not want our son, or any child for that matter, to be exposed to such methods and, thus decided, to find a way ourselves to reach Raun. Never did we see his situation as a behavior problem but a difficulty in relating to and participating in the world of people.

We adopted some major perspectives; attitude was beyond important – to love him with judging his unusual behavior if he couldn’t join us in our world, we would join him in his and establishing a bonded relationship and helping him to be motivated would be the best pathway to help him one day join our world. Raun went from a severely autistic, mute, self-stimulating, under 30 I.Q. child to becoming a precious, highly verbal, extroverted youngster, ultimately graduating high school with honors and then gaining a degree in biomedical ethics from an Ivy League university. Today, he is Director of Global Education at the Autism Treatment Center of America (a division of The Option Institute), which Samahria and I founded almost 30 years ago.

Samahria and I, with a highly trained and professional staff, have had the blessing to have not only worked with individuals and parents and children from all over the world (124 different countries), but to share The Son-Rise Program (for children with autism and other developmental challenges) with tens of thousands of people through our many courses, seminars, family intensives, videos, books, CDs and DVDs and now through the Son-Rise Program Online. My first book, Son-Rise (now Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues), became a best-seller and an award-winning NBC-TV Network movie. Since then, I have written eleven other books (many translated into over 20 languages), including Happiness Is A Choice.

I don’t just get up every morning, I jump up. I feel extraordinarily grateful to spend each day either teaching in our programs, training our staff or professionals, working one-on-one with individuals and families, and dreaming up more effective ways to make our methods easier to learn and implement. When I look into the eyes of a mute child who learned to talk or even just allowed himself to be hugged, when I hear a mom report that her depression or despair is gone and now feels hopeful, when I see a dad open his heart to his family and address his concerns and fears and when I witness the transformative impact our Son-Rise Program teachers and child-facilitators have families every week and every month, I know that we (all of us working here at the Autism Treatment Center of America) are among those who most richly blessed. What an honor for all of us to do this work and embrace all those who reach out to us."

Raun K. Kaufman


  • Director of Global Education for the Autism Treatment Center of America®
  • Author of Autism Breakthrough
  • Degree in Biomedical Ethics, Brown University
  • Advisory Board Member, United States Autism & Asperger Association (USAAA)
  • Certified Son-Rise Program® Teacher and Teacher Trainer

Personal Statement

"I have had the privilege of connecting with so many parents during my lectures internationally and throughout the U.S., all of whom deeply love and want to help their children. In this work with families and professionals, I also bring my own very personal experience.

As a young boy, I was diagnosed as severely autistic, with no language and a tested I.Q. under 30. Although advised to institutionalize me, my parents, Barry Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman, instead developed The Son-Rise Program and worked with me for over three years, enabling me to recover completely with no trace of my former condition. Our story was recounted by my father in the best-selling book Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues, and was later the subject of an award-winning NBC television movie Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love. I went on to graduate from the Ivy League’s Brown University with a degree in Biomedical Ethics, something that was never supposed to be in the cards for me. In fact, it still astounds me that everything has come full circle - that I can now help other children to step across the bridge I once crossed myself.

I am so grateful to have the opportunity to reach out to people who are not yet aware of the principles of The Son-Rise Program through the articles I have written, as well as through my discussions of autism in radio, television, internet, print interviews and now in the online course.

As the future unfolds, I will continue to lecture and teach at universities, conferences, and, of course, in many of the Autism Treatment Center of America’s on-site programs. My cheers go out to all of the families working with such love and diligence to help their special children."

Kate C. Wilde


  • Director of Global Outreach
  • Certified Son-Rise Program Teacher and Teacher Trainer
  • Author of Autistic Logistics
  • Author of The Autism Language Launcher

Personal Statement

"I have spent my whole working life playing with children and helping families using The Son-Rise Program. My journey to the Autism Treatment Center of America began when I just 13 years old. When I watched the TV movie, Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love. This movie is the real-life story of The Founders of The Autism Treatment Center of America and how they recovered their severely autistic son from Autism. It was that movie that inspired me to want to work with children on the autism spectrum.

It is now more than 35 years later, and my passion for our children and the Son-Rise Program continues to grow. I have had the amazing honor to have worked with well over 1,500 children of different ages and diagnosis. I have had the privilege of helping families from all over the world, who continue to amaze me with their love and dedication for their beautiful children. I look forward to meeting you and helping you and your family thrive."

Fun Facts

Kate has an identical twin sister. She is British and loves to dance Argentine tango.