Sharing my Son-Rise journey in Singapore

I have always been excited about telling people the good things that The Son-Rise Program has brought for my son with autism, and most of all for me, a parent who used to be so worried about my child’s future.

Our son-rise journey has made life with autism a blessing worth sharing.

If you live in Singapore and want to know more about The Son-Rise Program, come to our talk on Sept. 1, 2013. See attached photos for details.

To register go to:


The magic of son-rise

A friend told me she just started some son-rise for her daughter in the autism spectrum.

It had only been a week and few minutes a day of son-rise, when her daughter called her attention as she was about to leave the house. Her daughter told her, “Don’t go!”

Prior to that her daughter had never showed that much longing to be with her 🙂

When I heard her story, I was jumping up and down celebrating with my friend.

Loving the magic of the son-rise program!

Short Cut to Happiness

When providing therapy for a child with special needs, you have to be happy and fully attentive because a he/she can sense your feelings. Kids with autism have better emotional radars precisely because they have limited verbal ability and depend more on the tone and emotion of your voice (how you say it) rather than what you say.

Here is a short cut to happiness. This is posted just outside our son-rise door.

If you really want to achieve happiness, google Power Dialogues by Barry Neil “Bears” Kaufman. This tool helps parents with kids with autism tackle their personal issues first (and having special needs kids usually means having LOTS of personal issues) then empowers them to tackle autism and run and Son-Rise Program effectively.


Raun Kaufman, The first Son-Rise Child

Raun Kaufman, was once extremely autistic and would only spin plates all day. Doctors recommended institutionalization. Instead, his parents choose to accept that he was different and they could simply be happy with it and make him live a happy life. It wasn’t their intention to help Raun fully recover from autism…but he did after only 3 years. Raun now runs the Autism Treatment Center of America, home of the Son-Rise Program, which as since then helped thousands of parents choose to be happy with their children, most of whom have even recovered or have come a long way from autism!

Many are skeptical about Raun’s story, but as I read the book and immediately applied son-rise techniques to my son, Nathan, he immediately gave me eye-contact, smiles and laughs.

Strong eye-contact, intentional speech, using gestures like pointing were established for the first time after only one month of our son-rise program! Raun’s story is doable!

We’re loving our son-rise journey!


Full Control

One of the most controversial topics in today’s meeting with my twins teachers and therapists was the son-rise principle of giving the child FULL CONTROL.

But think about it. Even as adults, we attend management seminars that teach us about our circle of influence and CIRCLE OF CONTROL. Focus on that and we become better managers. We are taught to be IN CONTROL or CEOs of our life. When we are IN CONTROL of our life, we become more effective. Don’t we love it when everything goes our way? And when things get out of CONTROL in one aspect of our life (like we lose our job, break up, fail in school, etc.), it affects all aspects of or daily lives.

We decided to put Amor in a special needs school precisely because she would get a better sense of being in CONTROL. When she wants to sing at big events, teachers readily give her the mic. When she wants to he the teacher, her teacher readily gives up her chair. Those are the things that help Amor learn faster and boost her self-esteem for later challenges in mainstream school. If we force mainstream school on Amor now she has to deal with following rules she cannot comprehend on top of her sensory issues. But we would rather help her learn to be IN CONTROL of her environment first, despite her sensory issues.

For Nathan’s case, a child with autism, giving FULL CONTROL seems much harder…probably more for the person giving it. But we choose to say “YES” to Nathan ALL the time. And this is what some therapists seem to have a hard time accepting.

When we always acknowledge the child affirmatively, the child realizes that he makes a difference. Example, when we say “Yes, I’ll get your toy immediately!” The child learns that his words are useful and will keep trying his best to use them.

Typically, a child with autism is usually seen as misbehaving and is always told what not to do….like getting someone’s fries at the fast food, picking his nose in public, flapping his hands, running around, saying strange sounds. So parents have to keep correcting and correcting. But what if for once the child is free to do what he want? Like…What’s wrong with picking my nose, it’s itchy? I’m happy, I want to make funny sounds while running! What’s wrong with being free to express myself? who decided what is norm anyways? Im happy I’m IN CONTROL of my life!

Of course the most simple thing to do to be able to still give FULL CONTROL is simply avoid the incidents (or provide alternatives) that you do not want your child doing.

Is giving FULL CONTROL forever?
No. Already we are seeing that Nathan is becoming more flexible. By saying “Yes” to him all the time we have taught him to accept times that we need to say “No.”

Giving FULL CONTROL is an investment for now. In the future, kids will readily go your way if you allow them to go their way first.

Party time…or not

After Nathan’s shower, I turned off the water.
Me: Nathan let’s go.
Nathan: to ride a taxi.
Me: Where are we going?
Nathan: to a party.

First of all that is clearly a spontaneous 2-loop conversation! Secondly, I didn’t realize how much information he as been absorbing. Amor is off to a special-needs & neurotypical play date, Ian is going to his classmates party later this afternoon and Nathan feels he’s going too.

Unfortunately, we have decided it’s too early for Nathan to be going out to extremely sensory-overloading environments. But one day, when he has progressed, he will. It is precisely because he is home in a distraction-free, nurturing environment that he will one day be able to go out and enjoy neurotypical parties without sensory issues.

Son-rise is like growing seedlings in a protected nursery. When they are sturdy enough to withstand the heat of the day, coldness if the night, dryness or excess wetness of the weather…people staring, over-stimulating lights and sounds, noisy crowds, fear of not knowing what will happen next, the pressure of waiting in line, etc…. Then the seedlings can be planted in open fields and Son-Rise kids and their families will enjoying life the way it should be!

Sharing Son-Rise with friends

This is worth all the posts I have been doing on Son-Rise!
This morning a new friend,
I met through FB, told me this:

“i have practicing son-rise for a week 30 mins daily and jervis and i have this connection as if his trusting in me…. and a min. or 2 eye contact…..i hear him imitate some word that i say…not yet clear but i am happy with that”

Yes, one week and lots of gains with eye-contact. That’s how fast son-rise results are!

Loving our son-rise journey!


Our Son-Rise volunteer, Buddie, asked a great question, “Is it productive spending a lot of time just JOINING* Nathan’s autistic, repetitive behavior?”

*JOINING a child with autism by imitating his exclusive, repetitive behavior is a unique practice of the Son-Rise Program for autism. It is the best tool we can use to truly understand their world. As
We join, we find reasons why they have to do those behaviors.

In the first hour, Buddie was asked to JOIN by imitating and trying to learn Nathan’s autism language. Nathan chose to play with a banana peel by waving it around and watching how it moved with the flipping motion of his hand. Buddie too followed and waved his banana peel. Like physicists, both were understanding the movement patterns made by matter acted upon by gravity and the optical illusion such movements made.

That was as interaction. When we say we want an interaction with a child, initially what comes in mind is that child is talking to us and responding to out questions. knock, knock, autism here.

Imagine this, he has an autism language. It is us who wants to communicate with him. He would much rather stay in his own happy place. By JOINING, we are speaking the autism language and we are communicating and getting an interaction with him. When Buddie waved the banana peel in sync with Nathan, Nathan stopped, looked at Buddie straight into his eyes, exchanged laughs and giggles and exchanged banana peels several times. That’s interaction 101!

If Buddie was a conventional therapist, “forcing” Nathan to follow his instructions and speak his language, Nathan would certainly decide to remain in his own world. And when Nathan stops paying attention, the conventional therapist will use more “force” like call his name in a stern voice, hold his chin up to force eye-contact, remove the banana peel or distracting toy, etc. Such “force” will just turn-off Nathan, which will make him withdraw deeper into autism.

Conventional therapy gives Nathan no control of his situation. No control leads to no comfort/security. In such situations, the best way for an autistic child to protect himself is to retreat into his world and block everything out with exclusive, repetitive, autistic behavior.

Buddie gave Nathan full control and when Nathan was ready, Nathan engaged.

Son-rise JOIN the autistic child’s repetitive behavior while the other therapies on the opposite end (eg. ABA) try to extinguish the “strange” behavoir by stopping it. The difference between Son-Rise kids and ABA kids: Son-Rise kids are more spontaneous. They speak when they are ready. ABA kids are “forced” to learn their therapist’s agenda. Thus, they will respond they way they were “trained” to respond. Thus, they are usually “robotic”. Because their training leads to becoming “robotic”, many still believe that kids with autism cannot recover or be spontaneous.

What about other therapies that do not try to extinguish repetitive behavior but simply set it aside to be able to teach the child? An example would be floor time. This type of therapy would be somewhere in the middle of Son-Rise and ABA. Yes, the child learns from the agenda that the teacher prepares. No amount of time is used for JOINING. That means not so much investment is made to really get to know your child. Joining helps you understand your child and find out what his motivations are. Knowing his motivations (i.e. every small detail that motivates your child, including for example, the fact that your child might like playing with a banana peel more than the yo-yo you got him) and using them will help you PROPEL learnings. And that’s how they learn. Learning can be PERMANENT and EXPONENTIAL even for children with autism. Motivation is the key. Contrary to what conventional therapy says that they will only learn through repetition…no body learns through repetition!

Son-rise simply is the fastest and funnest way to learn and grow.

So after I answered Buddies question about JOINING. He returned to the second half of his son-rise session with Nathan. Guess what? Nathan asked him to get the magnetic pen, draw Thomas Train starting with his head , his eyes, his nose, his smile. Buddie asked if he wanted Thomas ears. Nathan agreed. Buddie challenged again: hands on Thomas, and another yes from Nathan.

Hmmm, did that sound like I was writing about a child with autism? Buddie had invested enough time speaking Nathan’s autism language with the banana peels that Nathan was ready to speak to Buddie in our social language.

The truth is, our targets for the past few months was to make Nathan’s 2-loop conversations more consistent. That is, he should be able to sustain enough attention to have a second round of question and answer (or interaction/comply with task given). Guess what, very spontaneously, Nathan and Buddie did 7-loops!


When a child with autism does repetitive actions -> JOIN! Speak his language. Then he’ll speak yours.

When a high-function child says, “I like Thomas the tank, I like Thomas the tanks” again and again -> JOIN! tell him how exciting Thomas is. Then he’ll talk about what you want to talk about.

When a neuro-typical child says, “Play with me please.” -> JOIN! Then he’ll finish his broccoli when you ask him the favor.

When a teenager is having heartaches -> JOIN! Don’t go attacking and demanding answers for yourself. Get into your child’s world first and find out how they feel. Then, they will tell you what you want to know.