Q&A session 5 with the Director of The
Son-Rise Program®, Bryn N. Hogan.
Topic: Autism and Expectations
Q: Hi, I'm new to
this so please bear with me! I'm signed up to attend
the session in June, and I can't wait! My daughter is
8 years old, high functioning, but not making near the
progress I think she shoud have made by now. I know
your program and philosophy are the keys to this next
phase in her life! So given that, I just want to ask
you something...what type of expectations should I have
for her? I'm very realistic, but I also know she has
the potential to do very well, she just hasn't because
I've thrown so many obstacles in her path! But I (and
my helpers over the years) have always naturally used
the methods you espouse, so thank God, despite some
of our crummier efforts (coersion and compliance!) she's
risen above it all and responded great to playing, fun,
and our interest in her! Eventually, will she end up
in Harvard, or will she be in a group home? How do other
kids like her do when they start the intensive program
so late? What is the reality? I really would appreciate
an answer, because it's my number one worry, and I think
about it constantly. I'm coming to the training sessions
regardless, because I'm so sure this is the best method
for my daughter. I love it that you exist!!!
(By the way, I'm not sure if you post this to my e-mail
or not, but I hope so...I wouldn't know where to look
for the answer on your web site.)
A: Dear Carol,
What a wonderful note and delightful questions. I am
excited to know you will be coming this summer to our
Son-Rise Program® Start-Up.
I will be here and look forward to having the chance
to support you on your adventure with Lara (someone
will e-mail you instructions on how to use the site).
Your question: What should my expectations be? What
is the reality?
My response may seem funny to you, but here at The Option
Institute we focus not on what others call "reality,"
but rather we focus on what you want and what you want
for your children.
We had a family here recently at our Son-Rise
Program® Intensive - they were told
at the doctors office when their son was diagnosed at
3 years of age with autism: "He will never get married.
He will never make friends. He will never have a job,
or be able to meaningfully communicate. He will end
up in an institution." Is that reality? To look at a
child, at age 3, and decide what he will never achieve
or do later in life... is that reality?
We look at each child as having endless possibilities.
We look at each child and want everything for him or
her. We look at parents who are concerned, motivated
and full of love for their children and we say: Why
not? Why couldn't he get married? Why couldn't he have
a job? Make friends? Since neither we, nor the doctors
can know the future - why not focus on what we want
and imagine it is possible?
We have seen, again and again, that our thoughts, beliefs
and feelings affect every action we take. If I do not
think Lara can have a ten minute interactive conversation,
I will never ask her to do so. If I do not think she
can follow instructions, I will not encourage her in
that area. If I put limits, in my mind, on her - then
these limits will play themselves out in the actions
I take with her. It will effect the way I talk to her,
what I offer her, when I challenge her. So, what I believe
matters. What I think matters. I cannot know the future,
but I can know what I want and I can try. I can try...and
trying feels good. I work with my daughter, who has
autistic tendencies, using The Son-Rise Program®.
My husband and I have been working with her for 2.5
years, 45-55 hours per week. We work with her on Sundays
and holidays...we work with her when it's sunny outside,
when our neighbors are having picnics. And it feels
so good. It feels so good to believe in my child and
put action behind it. It feels so good to believe I
can help her and she can grow and together, we can make
We can never be diminished for trying. We can never
be diminished by loving our children and hoping for
them and dreaming for them and wanting for them. What
is the reality? I don't know if there is one, Carol.
Perhaps the question to ask is: What do you want? What
do you want for Lara?
And then go...dream...try.
Bryn N. Hogan
I hope that as the weeks
progress, I will have ample opportunity to answer all
the questions from everyone who is wanting support.
For me, this is another rare and unique opportunity
to offer our support and guidance to those who want
help. Thank you all for making this exciting exchange
possible through your participation. Please know you
can contact us by telephone to speak to a staff member
if you have more questions. Call us at: (413) 229-2100
Intro to Q&A Session 5
Program® and Down Syndrome
Autism and Expectations