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Asked Questions about The Son-Rise Program®
We want to help you determine which treatment
is best for your child. The more information you have
about a program, the better you will understand how
it can impact your child's development and growth.
To support you, we offer a free
25-minute initial call with our Family Counselors
so that you can ask specific questions about our program,
your child and how The Son-Rise Program®
can work for you. Below are answers to some of the
most commonly asked questions about The
I have read states that my child has a permanent, lifelong
disability with little hope for substantial progress.
By telling parents that this is not always true, aren't
you giving them “false hope”?
Upon receiving a diagnosis of special needs for their child, many parents are told what their child cannot do and will never do.
Parents are given little guidance regarding what
treatment to pursue, where to turn for support and
few ways to help their child significantly develop
We have witnessed (and can certainly understand)
the despair that results from this experience. That's
why we offer a different perspective.
We do not put limits on the possibilities for your
child. At the most basic level, we offer a perspective
that invites parents to truly accept their children.
At the same time, we inspire parents to hope for
their children, to dream for their children and
to take meaningful action to help their children.
Then, we offer the specific tools, techniques and
methods that help their children learn, connect
with people and blossom. This means that parents
have the opportunity not only to hope, but to make
a substantial difference in the lives of their children.
Son-Rise Program® has had
many astounding results. While these results are
not a guarantee for any one specific child, does
that mean you should be discouraged from hoping
for your child? We have found that parents and professionals
who are consistently hopeful and optimistic are
powerful forces for their children. Though we cannot
know ahead of time what a given child will do, we
cannot know ahead of time what a given child will
With this in mind, we believe that having hope can
be an extraordinarily positive experience for you
and your child. Believing substantial change and
healing is possible can never be detrimental, but
rather is life-affirming and empowering, and the
beginning of an effective intervention program.
When hope is combined with action, there are no
2. I know that
your program has been very effective in increasing
social interaction, but can it also improve academic
and daily living skills?
The principles that have allowed us to achieve such
measurable gains in social interaction are applied
effectively in teaching academics and skill training.
The Son-Rise Program®
is based on creating a respectful, trusting and interactive
bond with the child and using that relationship as
a foundation for education, learning and language
development. We have found that children who are more
engaged in an activity learn more rapidly and interact
and communicate more frequently. We use the child's
areas of interest and a strong interactive relationship
to teach academics and daily living skills, such as
reading, using speech to communicate, following instructions,
using the toilet consistently, brushing teeth and
playing games by the rules. This method has proved
to be highly effective—many children have “graduated”
from their Son-Rise Programs®
to attend typical or mainstream schools where they
have demonstrated age-level or above academic skills.
Can we do The
Son-Rise Program® in conjunction with other types of Autism therapy?
Absolutely. Numerous interventions have been used
successfully in conjunction with The Son-Rise
Program®, including dietary changes
(gluten/casein-free), Auditory Integration Therapy,
vitamin therapy and sensory integration. This program
especially well with the biological interventions
cited in the DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) protocol.
At the same time, other approaches have been found
to undermine The
Son-Rise Program®'s effectiveness
and often hinder a child's growth because the contradictory
or conflicting approaches confuse the child. It
is very important to look at any other therapy being
considered to determine if it will be complementary
or potentially unsupportive. Our staff can help
you determine the most effective interventions for
4. I am intrigued by your
approach of "joining" my child's repetitious behaviors
("isms"), but I've been told this will just make
him do it more. Is this true?
The common misconception of this technique is that
by "joining" in repetitious and ritualistic behaviors
the child will be encouraged to "ism" even more.
After 25 years of implementing this technique, a
cornerstone strategy of The
Son-Rise Program®, our experience
and results prove just the opposite. We have found
that when children are "joined" in their repetitious
behaviors, they actually become more engaged, more
socially available and more motivated to be with
others. Rather than increasing their exclusivity
and self-stimulating behaviors and rituals, they
reach out more and connect more fully to the world
Although the "joining" aspect of our program has
been the subject of much speculation and misperception
and has received criticism over the years, it is
significant to note that recent studies are now
supporting the perspective and techniques that we
have been applying for over 2 decades. For instance,
Gerard J. Nijhof and colleagues presented the results
of their study at the 10th World Congress of the
International Association for the Scientific Study
of Intellectual Disabilities. The study showed that
a child's repetitious behaviors are purposeful,
and therefore, it is not in the child's best interest
to stop these behaviors. They further noted that,
"it is doubtful whether a decrease of repetitive
behaviors stimulates the appearance of desirable
behaviors." A study by Baker, Koegel and Koegel
at the University of California, Santa Barbara used
the "obsessions" of autistic children to design
creative play activities. They found that repetitious
behaviors were not increased, but rather the students
became more participatory and social in these circumstances.
These and other studies support the use of "joining"
as a beneficial treatment tool and clearly show
that participating in these behaviors does not increase
them, but in fact can lead to greater interactivity.
Note: This does not mean we "join" all behaviors
that might occur, such as hitting, pinching, smearing,
etc. We have many specific techniques that are consistently
effective for handling "challenging" behaviors.
"Joining" is not the approach we use in these circumstances.
5. I have 3 children, and
I work as well. Will The Son-Rise Program®
be effective if I can't provide a full-time program
for my child?
Due to the nature of our program, any amount of
time you can devote to your child's development
and education will have an impact. It stands to
reason that the more time spent, the greater the
impact. Studies have shown that children who have
challenges with learning show the most dramatic
growth when worked with one-on-one as intensively
as possible. With this in mind, we highly recommend
that your program run at least 20 hours per week
to start (40+ hours per week being optimal). This
will give your child the opportunity to receive
significant input and stimulation, while giving
you ample time to observe the program's effectiveness.
We will teach you to recruit and train a support
team of relatives, friends and volunteers to aid
you with your program and help you maximize the
time spent with your child. Many parents who believed
they were unable to work with their child full time
initially have been so excited by the changes they
have seen in their children, that they have used
creative planning, solid support and effective time
management to expand their program to the optimal
6. Is your program
effective in working with children who are older or
adults? What about those who are considered “higher
Although we are best known for our work with children
who are nonverbal or young, this is only one of our
areas of expertise. We have worked with countless
children over the age of 7 and with adults up to age
Obviously, it is most effective to begin intervention
with your child as soon as you become aware that
they have challenges, but we have found that it
is never too late to achieve impressive results.
See the stories of Dar Louise, Eileen Davis and
Walter Jansz. Additionally, we have worked with
a significant number of children who have been considered
"higher functioning," and we have seen these children
learn and grow at an incredibly rapid rate. Since
these children are already verbal and can be somewhat
socially involved, we have found that they respond
especially well to our program .
After your free 25-minute initial call , our Family
Counselors can put you in contact with other parents
who have worked with their "higher functioning"
children, so you can hear firsthand how effective
The Son-Rise Program®
has been for their children.
7. What type of training
has your staff received?
Each staff person completes a rigorous and comprehensive
educational curriculum in Autism training (up to 3 years for Son-Rise Program® Teachers and one year
for Son-Rise Program®
which includes extensive work
with children of varying ages and diagnoses, classroom
education, group instruction, comprehensive ideological
and attitudinal training, and continual observation
and feedback by experienced Son-Rise
Teachers. Many of our
senior staff members and teachers have worked in
The Son-Rise Program®
for 5-10 years. Our Teachers and Child Facilitators
work with hundreds of families and children each
year, giving them intensive experience across a
broad spectrum of diagnoses, behaviors, family dynamics
and living situations, thus ensuring that every
person working with your child has the highest level
of experience and expertise available.
Our staff has a wide range of backgrounds and degrees
in areas of study such as psychology, education,
sociology, physical therapy and special education.
However, the Autism Treatment Center of America™
is currently the only institution offering professional
training in Son-Rise Program®
techniques and methodology.
And while prior professional
training and degrees are certainly helpful, all
of our Child Facilitators and Teachers have been
trained and certified by the Autism Treatment Center
of America™'s Son-Rise