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 The Son‑Rise Program and Group Facilitator

Becky Damgaard

Becky Damgaard

Son-Rise Program Teacher

Camila Frauendorf-Titone

Camila Frauendorf-Titone

Son-Rise Program Teacher

Off-Site Licensed Provider

Jack Mason-Goodall

Jack Mason-Goodall

Licensed Son-Rise Program Provider

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

Cassandra Barrett

Marketing Manager

Wendi Hauck

Art Director/Production Supervisor

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

Human Resources, Executive Assistant & IT

Elizabeth Thomas

Human Resources Manager

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

Jack Mason-Goodall


  • Licensed Son-Rise Program Provider

Personal Statement

“I have been passionate about working with special children and adults since I was 14, when I started volunteering with a local charity providing Art, Music, Drama and Dance therapy for adults with special needs. Having trained in Musical Theatre since I was 8, I loved being able to bring all my experience acting, singing, and dancing to be able to help people connect and communicate in new and meaningful ways.

While studying for my degree in Psychology, I began volunteering in my first Son-Rise Program with an amazing boy called Tom. This was a life-changing experience - I was profoundly touched by the respect and love of The Son-Rise Program and was amazed to see Tom's incredible progress. After I graduated, I spent another two years volunteering in nine different Son-Rise Programs, and in 2007 I was given the life-changing opportunity to live with a family for a year, helping them to run their Son-Rise Program.

In 2008, I moved to the USA to complete my professional Child Facilitator training and have been based back in the UK since 2010 where it is my delight to work with and support so many incredible families. I regularly return to the Autism Treatment Center of America® to continue developing my own skills, and to deepen my ability to hold a loving, non-judgmental attitude. I also participate in long-distance training to add to the services I provide for families around the world.

This work truly is my passion. To see children reach out and connect joyfully for the first time; to see families open up and find new, powerful ways to love and interact with each other; to be part of a child’s journey towards communication and friendship - I can’t think of a better way to be spending my life.”

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 The Son-Rise Program
  • Certified Son-Rise Program Teacher and Teacher Trainer
  • Author of Autistic Logistics

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.