Scientific Research Verifies The Son-Rise Program Works!

"Findings support the efficacy of parent-delivered SRP intervention for promoting social-communicative behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders."

Training Parents to Promote Communication and Social Behavior in Children with Autism: The Son-Rise Program

Theodore Jenkins, Julia Schuchard, & Cynthia K. Thompson
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Abstract: The Son-Rise Program (SRP) is an intensive, child-centered approach for autism intervention, incorporating strategies to promote child-initiated social interactions. Parent training is an important element of SRP, which is intended to be implemented in home-based programs. In the present study, parents of autistic children, who participated in two five-day parent-training courses in SRP intervention (separated by several months), completed questionnaires and the Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) prior to each course. Changes in ATEC scores were examined for parents who reported implementing (1) no SRP, (2) low intensity SRP or (3) high intensity SRP in their homes in the interval between courses. Parents who administered SRP intervention reported significant improvements in communication, sociability, and sensory and cognitive awareness in their children, with greater gains associated with high intensity as compared to low intensity interventions. These findings support the efficacy of parent-delivered SRP intervention for promoting social-communicative behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders.

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The Autism Treatment Center of America is committed to research examining the effects of The Son-Rise ProgramĀ® on children's social and communication skills. Although numerous case studies have shown that The Son-Rise Program is effective for many children with autism, as discussed in books by Barry Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman (Kaufman & Kaufman, 1976; Kaufman, 1982; 1995), a current goal is to document, in controlled research studies, the impact of the program.

We are pleased to present the results of this recent study, completed in collaboration with researchers at Northwestern University - Ted Jenkins, Julia Schuchard, and Cynthia Thompson. The research team is well known for their studies examining the effects of treatment for language impairments resulting from brain injury. The research team's analysis of the data showed significantly improved Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC) scores in communication, sociability, and sensory and cognitive awareness, for those children whose parents were running a Son-Rise Program (low intensity and high intensity) compared with those who were not.

An additional study that is currently in the publication process was also recently completed again by the research team at Northwestern University (USA) and the University of Lancaster (UK). This study examines the effects of the Intensive Son-Rise Program (SRP). Twelve children with autism, between the ages of 47 and 78 months, participated in the study. Half of the children received a one-week Intensive Son-Rise Program, whereas, the other half did not. Then the social and communicative abilities of the two groups of children were compared over time. Results showed an increase in the frequency of spontaneous social orienting and gestural communication for the six children who participated in the intensive SRP. In addition, the duration of social interactions and total time spent engaged in social interaction increased. However, no change in the abilities of the untreated children was noted. These findings indicate that intensive intervention focused on fostering child-initiated interaction may increase social-communicative behaviors in children with autism. Importantly, self-initiated social-communicative behaviors and dyadic social interaction are considered to be pivotal skills for child development and learning and are, therefore, precursors for continued cognitive growth.

We very much appreciate the work of the research teams at Northwestern University and Lancaster University in creating these scientific studies showing the impact of the Son-Rise Program.