A few years ago, I received a review copy of the book, "Autism Breakthrough" by Raun Kaufman, which provides an overview of the Son-Rise program for children with autism. You can scroll to the end of this post to skip right to my review of the Son-Rise online training program (offered right now at a huge discount), or read my review of the book first:
If I had a million dollars, I would send a copy of this book to everyone who subscribes to my newsletter and every family receiving an autism diagnosis for their child. This book is that good.
It describes the Son-Rise program, which seems to me to be a very parent-friendly intervention that could easily be used at home. In fact, this book will give you many ideas for meaningful ways to interact with a child with autism, as well as encourage his or her growth and development.
I completely agree with what seems to me to be a foundation of this method: in order to help our children make progress, we should first work on our relationship with the child. When we focus on this first, it makes it so much easier (and much more enjoyable!) to teach new skills. I think that the basic principles of the Son-Rise method would be excellent to use as the foundation of whatever intervention or therapy you are using, including ABA, speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc. This is especially true of the chapter on attitude. This chapter is a must-read, no matter which intervention method you’re using. This book describes one of the most loving and respectful intervention methods that I’ve ever read about.
Each chapter includes simple exercises to help you start using these strategies with your child right away. There is also bonus content on the book’s website to supplement each chapter. Make sure you take advantage of that if you purchase the book.
The book does make the claim that the author of the book had autism as a child, and is now “recovered” by use of the Son-Rise program. I am skeptical of any program that uses words like “recovery” from autism, and I believe you should be as well. I always suggest checking the research status of interventions before you use them (a good website for this is the ASAT). I’m not even sure I like that term ("recovery") at all, as I think my students with autism are beautiful and amazing people, not someone that has something needing "recovery" from. Even though I don't like the book's conceptualization of "recovery," that doesn’t change my great impressions of the Son-Rise program techniques. I've been using them with my students and the results are beautiful and amazing...it really helps you connect with the children and make learning fun.
The only other thing that I disliked about the book is that it seems to be somewhat anti-ABA. If you are an ABA person (as I am), don't let the parts of the book that are critical of ABA strop you from reading it. I believe that naturalistic ABA (such as Pivotal Response Treatment) and Son-Rise have at least a couple of things in common. I would actually recommend this book to BCBAs, ABA therapists, and parents who have children in ABA programs. I think it will give you some great ideas that you can easily incorporate into your program. I see no reason why these two programs couldn’t work together in many ways.
I can’t really think of anyone in the “autism world” that I would not recommend this book to. In my opinion, it seems a little less applicable to children on the Asperger’s side of the spectrum, but the book does have a chapter specifically devoted to Asperger’s. The author also states that their methods can be adapted to use with children across the autism spectrum.
I would encourage you to check out the book on Amazon and the book’s website to see if you think it is right for your family. If you decide to purchase the book, it would make my day if you'd use one of the links on this page because they're my Amazon affiliate links, which help me earn funds to keep this website going. Thanks so much!
So, back to the original topic of this post: the Son-Rise Program online training program.
The creators of the Son-Rise program have developed a 9-month online video course that guides you through learning the program's approaches to working with children with autism.
I've taken this course, and it's fantastic. It's helped me become a much better teacher for my students and the program is really easy to use and makes learning the techniques simple and fun.
Here's what I particularly like about it:
It includes a combination of brief lectures, video examples of the techniques in action, application exercises, interactive quizzes and checks for learning, and printable “Make it Happen Guides” to help you apply the techniques.
The format is easy to use.
You can customize the lessons you’ll see in the course based on your child or student’s current verbal ability levels.
Please note that I'm not affiliated with the Son-Rise program in any way, nor do they endorse anything I've written here...I've just taken this training course and highly recommend it. You can learn more about the program (and the discount available until May 15) here: https://autismtreatmentcenter.org/the-son-rise-program-online/