Jan-Marie Gundacker came to The Son-Rise Program at the Autism Treatment Center of America at a crossroads in her life. A single mother of two, she twice triumphed over breast cancer, has faced other challenging health issues and needed to help her daughter through serious life-challenging events.
Jan-Marie says of her past: "No matter what life threw at me, I would put one foot in front of the other and move forward to accomplish things." When trying to help her daughter she often felt "unheard" and "invalidated" by the experts, schools and others in "the system". She finally found help for herself and her daughter through programs she attended at our center.
Over the past ten years, Jan-Marie has made profound and lasting changes. She completed the rigorous training program to become an Option Process® Mentor-Counselor. This is the same process that our Son-Rise Program Teachers use to help parents dealing with the emotional stress of their children's challenges.
For the last nine years as a Son-Rise Program Family Counselor and Option Process Mentor-Counselor, she has spoken with thousands of parents from across the globe listening, supporting and guiding them in the many ways she would have like to have been helped herself. Jan-Marie not only offers parents a caring and accepting environment within which to voice their concerns and challenges, but is also able to inspire and guide them towards creating new directions for themselves and their children.
Jan-Marie says of herself: "Two generations of my family have now benefited from the concepts and tools we teach. My gratitude is endless."
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"...When I think of you I remember one busy lunch time in the dining room when I really, really wanted to talk with you and you had several people in front of me and I was very persistent and then you were so gracious about explaining to the waiting individuals that you would just be a moment and that you really wanted to be present for them but that I also needed your attention. You did all this with such grace and style and commitment to the process that I was in awe. I thank you for caring about all of us. I hope you extend this graceful caring to yourself as well. With much love..."
Right on, Jan-Marie, Kevin and Erin! For me, going to The Son-Rise Program Start-Up WITH my wife, Jennifer, was crucial to the success of Eidan's Son-Rise Program. I call it a success, not because Eidan is recovered, though he is doing beautifully, but because our journey (as our wonderful Senior Family Counselor, Jan-Marie called it) is easy and fun. Really! Especially relative to what it was before The Son-Rise Program! And I know it wouldn't be as easy if my wife and I hadn’t been "on the same page" from the very beginning. It's just AWESOME to go off together to the beautiful grounds of the Autism Treatment Center of America™, sleep well for a whole week, eat delicious meals that you don't cook or clean up after, no phones ringing, and so on. You might even get to talk to each other... or even… ☺
When we returned from The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, so pumped and excited to be with our boys, we established weekly nights out for each other, as well as together, having just had the shared experience of giving to ourselves and each other, as well as our children. Our family has been transformed. Nothing less! Not just from The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, but from The Son-Rise Program Maximum Impact and New Frontiers …a visit to the Autism Treatment Center of America and The Option Institute is our annual vacation. Going to The Son-Rise Program Start-Up is not just about getting information and taking that and sharing your notes with your lovely partner, or even sharing recordings of every word spoken at the program. It's about YOU! It's about having an experience of love and acceptance for your child first-hand! It's an opportunity to FEEL that love, tangibly, to adopt it as a part of you, to bring it forward and show your child that you - not just your partner - understand that YOU ARE a useful, loving, enticing and fun person to be with!
If you're on the fence, just know that you are in good hands with Jan-Marie - trust her, and if you are feeling like I used to, you'll be psyched to feel useful, loving, enticing and fun to yourself too! With love, D
David Borishansky, Web Developer & Son-Rise Dad, Virginia
Child's Name: Eidan / Age: 7 / Diagnosis: Autism