I had just about given up hope on finding help for my family by the time I scheduled my 25 minute call with the Option Institute for consultation on The Son-Rise Program. The minute I found out that the training involved me traveling to Massachussetts for a week made me doubt that this program was possible for my son. The numerous hurtles that I would have to overcome made the trip seem impossible. That all changed after talking to Brian Nelson. After that initial call with him I knew that no matter what it took, I was going to do this; I never once looked back.
There are too many reasons why I feel I owe my peace of mind to the Son-Rise Program to list, but to all you families out there wondering if this program is even worth looking into, I want to share a few. First of all, Brian was the first person in 18 months who told me that he believed my son could be helped. If you, like me, have been literally beaten down by all the negative medical jargon thrown your way like "lifelong disability", "mental retardation" and "profound developmental delay" you will know how much that meant to me. Also, he shared the story of his personal journey through the Son-Rise program with his son Jake. Not only did this make him better able to explain the ins and outs of initiating this home based, parent directed program but also gave him an insight on where I was emotionally that only someone who has been there could have. Finally, he and his support staff were there to not only provide me information about the program, but to help with travel plans, questions and concerns, as well as suggestions on how to prepare for the upcoming training. I was sent a start-up kit which included loads of literature, books, dvds, audio cds, everything I needed to be fully aware of the history of how the program came to be and what I could expect from my training at the Institute.
When I arrived at the Institute, Brian was there to welcome me and all the other very anxious and nervous parents. It was very comforting to have someone who I felt I knew there to greet me with an encouraging smile. He was available to all of us throughout the entire week along with many other wonderful people to ensure that our time on campus exceeded all our expectations from our classroom time to our comfort level in our rooms. The week I spent there was absolutely one of the best experiences of my life.
Since my initial contact with Brian and the folks involved with the Autism Treatment Center of America, I have had ongoing support and encouragement. There has never been a time that I have called on Brian for help that he has not been there for me. My journey thus far has not been an easy one. Although you cannot expect a guarantee for recovery for your child you can absolutely expect an improvement in your child's life as well as anyone who is involved in this wonderful program. I can honestly say that the principles of the Son-Rise program have had a positive impact on me and my entire family.
Thanks to The Son-Rise Program I now have a little boy who wears a smile where there was once no expression, who now allows hugs instead of shying away from physical contact, who uses non-verbal gestures where there was once no established communication, and who is starting to respond appropriately to verbal requests in the playroom. We also are starting to here consistent word-like sounds that we believe are the beginning of verbal language.
I think I can best sum up my life as a Son-Rise mom thus far by quoting a line from a letter I wrote my son on the last day of my start-up program: "I came to The Son-Rise Program looking for a way to cure you but what I found was that it is okay to love you just the way you are." In a world where society looks at our children as if they are tragic and hopeless, finding a program that gives you permission to see your child as they are, a special gift, has been for me a light in the dark. Please take the time to thoroughly research this program before you decide it is too difficult for you. Whatever the cost, you will never regret it.