What is the Son-Rise Program?

There are so many things one has to know about the Son-Rise Program, I can write pages and pages of it. To start with, the Autism Treatment Center of America has a lot of information on their web page:

What is the son-rise program:
It is a one-on-one, parent-led therapy in a distraction-free environment. It is based on the foundation of love and acceptance.

How can you start immediately?
1. Start with an attitude of love and acceptance. Love your child as a whole, including his/her “isms”-autistic, repetitive behavior.

2. Join your child’s “isms.” Be a happy detective, find out why they do it. While other therapies disregard or even try to stop “isms” and classifies them as “unwanted behavior,” Son-Rise recognizes the importance of “isms.” Kids (autistic or not) “ism” for different reasons: 1) it has a calming effect, 2) It has a therapeutic nature (eg. waking up unresponsive nerves), 3) it can be their coping mechanism, 4) they simply enjoy it, etc.

3. Work on eye-contact. Encourage, don’t force it. Whenever your child attempt to look at you, celebrate! Say something like, “thank you for looking at me”, “I love your eyes”, etc.

4. Allow yourself to be a “yes” parent. If there is anything in the room that causes you to constantly say, “No! Stop doing that! That’s too dangerous!,” toss it out of the room. If a child is always told “no” (I know a lot of autistic kids do) then why bother doing anything at all? But whenever a child is answered “yes” (eg. go ahead climb), they are encouraged to explore more. If every time they attempt to ask you for something and you run to get it (yes), they are taught that their words are powerful. Soon they will use it more to communicate their needs.

5. Celebrate achievements big or small, partial or complete. Even we like being praised for what we do and it encourages us to do better next time. Also, don’t have a disapproving attitude. Never scold or use fear to stop them from doing things you don’t want.

6. Play using the 3 Es, Energy, Excitement and Enthusiasm.

7. Believe in your child. His/her potential is limitless.

Things you will want to do later on:

Learn when to challenge. When a child is “isming,” join. When a child gives you eye contact for a few seconds or is holding you or looking at what you’re holding, challenge. Offer to play with the toy in your hand, ask him/her to copy your actions, etc. Build your child’s skills a block at a time.

Find your child’s motivations and work from there. Children learn more and faster when they are doing things they enjoy.

Prioritize targeting social skills over academic skills. Would you rather have a super smart child that is autistic (and autistic kids really are geniuses) or a child that is just ok academically but can make friends and build relationships?

Put in as much hours as possible. Note: an hour of son-rise a day, is more productive than 3 hours of conventional therapy. I attest to that!

Get volunteers and train them on son-rise. It takes a village to raise a child. To my experience, volunteers have also given my whole family a great support system. They in turn also grow through the attitude of love, acceptance and perseverance.

Good luck! I’ll be around if you have questions.