The Son-Rise Program is based upon this simple idea: The children show us the way in, and then we show them the way out. This means that, rather than trying to force our children to conform to world they do not yet understand, we begin by joining them in their world first. Instead of focusing on changing behavior, we focus on creating a relationship. With this approach, remarkable progress is possible.
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, Illinois
Autism Treatment Center of America®, have seen that children on the Autism spectrum can:
- Learn to speak, even if they’ve never spoken.
- Experience real happiness, satisfaction, and love, even if they seem frustrated or combative right now.
- Have deep, meaningful, caring relationships with others, even though they may have appeared disconnected for years.
- Have fun, reciprocal conversations, even if they have a history of rigid communication.
- Make close friends, even if they don’t start with the interest or the tools to do so.
- Live a life that may include college, dates, sports, jobs, hobbies, travel, girlfriends/boyfriends – regardless of how many of these life experiences their parents have been told were simply not possible.
The Son-Rise Program does not put limits on the possibilities for your child We can help you to bring your child as far across the bridge from Autism to recovery as possible. For some, this means complete recovery. For others, this means improvements in their child’s development, human connection, communication, skill acquisition and quality of life far beyond what most would have ever predicted.
The Son-Rise Program can provide help for Autism and teach you to:
- Establish a warm, interactive rapport with your child.
- Implement effective educational techniques.
- Enable your child to move beyond repetitive “stimming” behaviors.
- Move through challenging behaviors (such as tantrums or hitting).
- Become a confident teacher and advocate for your child.
- Motivate your child to learn–and to enjoy learning.
- Optimize your child’s learning environment.
- Jump-start speech and language development.
- Relax and have fun–without giving up what you want for yourself and your child.
- Recruit and train a team of volunteers and helpers.
- Find a sense of peace and comfort with your child’s present challenges.
- Create and sustain an attitude of hope and optimism about your child’s future.
We Can Help You! To receive FREE information about the Autism Treatment Center of America AND a Free Initial Call with a Son-Rise Program Family Counselor, please complete the following form:
What Makes The Son-Rise Program Different?
Joining The crucial starting point for The Son-Rise Program and one of the first principles taught to parents in the Start-Up course is called joining. In fact, this marks the crucial starting point for The Son-Rise Program and is one of the first principles we teach parents in the Start-Up program (our introductory course). Instead of stopping a child’s repetitive “stimming” behaviors, we join in with these behaviors. Our children are performing their behaviors for reasons that are important to them (and, as an increasing body of research shows, these behaviors often serve a physiological purpose, as well). When we show interest in what they are doing, we establish a powerful bond around this common interest. This is so important, because we find repeatedly that children begin to display an interest in us when we have an abiding interest in them. What’s more, this interest is spontaneous, not forced. These children interact because they want to. Joining establishes a real connection between a child and his or her parent or facilitator. We have seen, over and over again with the thousands of families with whom we’ve worked, that when children on the autism spectrum are joined, they become less interested in their activity and begin to look at us more, pay more attention to us, and even initiate interaction with us. Motivation Once we have a child’s willing engagement, the door is open to help that child to learn and grow. One of our key teaching principles is to capitalize on each child’s own motivation. With children on the autism spectrum, traditional learning modalities will rarely be motivating. Therefore, we customize the presentation of any curriculum to match each child’s highest areas of interest. Instead of pushing a child repeat a task (and receive rewards) over and over again as a way to facilitate mastery, we build games and activities around the interests the child already has (such as Thomas the Tank engine, dinosaurs, or physical play). This way, we work with each child instead of trying to teach “against the grain.” Thus, learning is exponentially increased – with a unique and startling benefit: we have the child’s willing and excited cooperation. And when a child has learned something – not memorized it, but learned it – it becomes a generalized skill that he/she can use spontaneously (rather than in a more robotic manner). Socialization When it comes to creating child-specific goals, helping children to achieve them, and tracking how far along each child is, we use The Son-Rise Program Social Developmental Model. This enables parents and professionals to teach social goals (eye contact & nonverbal communication, verbal communication, interactive attention span, and flexibility – what we call The Four Fundamentals) before academic goals. Academic goals, while important, will do nothing to help our children overcome their central challenge of connecting with others socially. As first priority, do we want our children do have more math or more friends? Do we want our children to compensate for their socialization challenges or overcome them? Attitude The single most overlooked area of autism treatment is attitude. Having a non-judgmental, welcoming, and optimistic attitude toward our child determines whether he/she feels safe and relaxed enough to interact with us and learn. We see time and time again that children with autism tend to move away from people they perceive as uncomfortable, agitated, or judging and towards people they see as comfortable, easy, fun and non-judgmental. Thus, our attitude can provide the impetus for a challenged child to reach out to us, or it can unwittingly act to drive that child away. We spend time in our programs helping parents with their emotional and attitudinal challenges because it really matters.