Two weeks ago, I attended the Autism Treatment Center of America's Son-Rise Start Up Program, designed to help children with autism. (Same campus and organization as the Option Institute in Sheffield, MA, U.S.A.)
This is the THANK YOU letter I just sent them:
Dear Son-Rise Team:
I’m welling up with tears and I haven’t even really begun writing yet! I just want to say thank you. I attended your Son-Rise Start Up training Oct 9-14, 2016. What you have given me is so precious; you have given me hope. You have given me permission to forgive myself for the times I felt I wasn’t a good enough parent. I now remind myself that I was doing the best I could with what I knew and that we all are doing this, all the time. Your lessons have sunk in deeply and they will stay with me.
What a beautiful campus you have. I like to think of it as my “happy place”. But what makes it beautiful really is the experience of being with all of you. The unconditional love and acceptance is palpable. In that classroom, you gave us a place where we could be ourselves; where we could cry over our past disappointments and fears and you didn’t turn away from our tears – which so impressed me. You stayed with us and talked it through so that those emotions and thoughts that had been buried for quite some time were coaxed to the surface and came up and out; they left us. We were released from those past hurts.
I love you all for the work you do, for what you teach, and for how you show up in the world.
I am so very grateful for scholarship I have received. I couldn’t have known it when I registered for the Son-Rise Start Up training but what you have given me is truly priceless.
You have lifted my spirit. Before this training I had been struggling with anxiety and depression. It’s pretty difficult to do all you want to do for your child when you’re battling to get through the day. I have a new outlook, new hope, new motivation; I’ve got the 3E’s, baby, and I ain’t afraid to use ‘em!
This new me is able to show up for my son, for myself, for my partner, for all whom I come into contact with.
Please know that you are doing amazing work and that we are so very grateful for all you do. We look forward to starting our Son-Rise Program (we’re putting up shelves in the playroom!). Today I was talking to our first “volunteer”, our son’s babysitter, and I was so enthusiastic telling her about what I’d learned. She welled up with tears when she looked at the photos in your book, Son-Rise The Miracle Continues, as I told her about how the first Son-Rise program came to be. It’s the love that moves people. These are the ripples in the water that you’ve set in motion. They grow and grow.
Thank you from the deepest place inside. God bless you all.
The other day I was in the car with my teenage daughter listening to a tune on the radio and the singer sang out, "He broke my heart." I said to my daughter, "There's no way he could break her heart -- she broke her own heart." My daughter said, "Yeah, mom! I know that Option stuff is so right." Yes, that's what I've learned. I'm not a victim. I have a choice. I can break my heart if I want to OR maybe I can decide that he's not really worth it and I want something different in my life. For us, as a family, The Option Institute has given each person in our family the language to be responsible for they way they are feeling. No blame game here! Thank you! We are having so much more fun! Change your thoughts, change your life -- Option helps all the way!
I attended The Son-Rise Program Start-Up at USA, in April 2016 after reading an amazing book called “Autism Breakthrough” for Raun K. Kaufman, the Director of Global Education and former CEO of the Autism Treatment Center of America. He was recovered from autism by The Son-Rise Program which was established by his parents, Barry and Samahria Kaufman.
I went there with many questions and worries about my autistic daughter and returned back optimistic and free of worries. The journey changed my life and my family as well.
They taught us how to face our inner thoughts, get rid of fears and how to be optimistic and full of energy and happiness.
We met the co-founder of the program Barry and Samahria, it was an emotional moment to meet the parents who tested and lived the same story of us, who rescued their kid successfully in 1970s, Barry told us that there is no problem to be unrealistic; we are parents who know and feel what is the right for our kid. Samahria told us “we have to hug our problems and say ok!”
We also met wonderful educators, who taught us how to understand the autistic kids, to know the appropriate time to teach them, to teach them by 3E’s (energy, excitement and enthusiasm) and how to apply the ABC.
Raun told us that the acceptance and love make us as a magnet in the social relationship. Kate told us that we have to work hard with our kids, we want to catch the moon. Kem and Becky taught us how to make our kids fall in love with human so they will love to speak.
I returned back to my family full of hope, I don’t know what is the future, we all don’t know what is the future, but we can start making our presence more fun and more beautiful.
Be happy, your kid will be happy because they feel and they are sensitive for our feelings and thoughts. Finally, it seems that our kids are reflections for our thoughts.
My son with autism has grown so much since I have attended the Autism Treatment Center of America which is part of the Option Institute. They train you to help your child based on motivation instead of rewards and with love and enthusiasm. In In 4 months, my child went from 0 to 40 words. Now 2 months later I have lost track. They help you help them to engage and to love to interact. This is what will move our children forward. And it really works!
The lessons in attitude are critical as well not only for your child with autism to progress but for you and everyone in your life. My whole family dynamic has changed for the better and I finally have a real path to peace and contentment with our current challenges. If you are looking for awe-inspiring hope and a detailed path to move forward, this is the place!!
Hi my name is jan, I am a single mam of an autistic boy he is seven , I won a scholarship to the option institute and I attended this dec , this was the start up Sonrise program , this program has changed my life and my Sons life , I now look on my son as a blessing and love everything about him , since I'm home I have applied what I've learned and as a result in three days my son is going to sleep by himself and through the night , I am changeling my sons hours to part time in school . This Sonrise programme is very natural , and feels right every step of the way , it changes your view of autism and how to get the best from your child . For us it has been life changing and this is only the beginning of out journey , I would recommend this program for every child with autism , I am also a qualified special needs assistant and I have done a lot of training but nothing comes close to this program , I highly recommend this .
I recently took one of their week long programs and went there with an open mind prepared to feel uplifted and empowered. I found that like most cults and alternative therapies, they offer something that vulnerable people are missing in their lives and offer a solution to your problem that conventional therapies seem unable to offer. They also claim to cure autism or in their words "recover". Not all their teachings were useless, they promote a vaguely harmless philosophy of self reflection and the naive attitude of not having to take responsibility of face the consequences if you don't want to. If you want to do something, do it, and to hell with what other people think. If your kid died yesterday and you decide to get over it in 24 hours, you can do that if you just believe it (this literally was an example they gave)! Many of the people in attendance had been to many programs before (maybe if you've been to 20+ programs at Option, it's time to try a different solution...doesn't really speak to the practical success of their teachings), so be prepared to have a small group of returning customers seeking attention and approval, knowing the answers and eager and happy to tell you what those are. They have mastered the art of self-promotion. I would say you could decide for yourself, but I would not recommend anyone go here. Their process seems to involve breaking you down, building you back up and throwing in lots of subtle and overt fundraising tactics. They incorporate fundraising in to their classes to maximise attendance, and when only one person said they wanted to attend the optional session to find out more about other programs they offer, they then proceeded to question why no one else wanted to go, until more people caved and said they would go. They have established their own language and practice behaviour modification which is especially evident in those returning customers who are eager to enforce those rules and tell you if you aren't conforming. Their co-founders are revered and that attitude is positively encouraged by other members of staff. I came away, not angry, but disappointed. I went in feeling positive and confident in myself and came away feeling very sad that they are taking advantage of people desperately looking for answers (and selling the idea of the 'quick fix').
Review from Guidestar
The Option Institute has been such a blessing in my life - I have gone from living with sadness to living my life with strength, hope, and self trust. The one week courses are amazing opportunities for personal healing & growth. I've changed my life at the Option Institute, and I am so grateful.
The Option Institute has changed my life for the better in so many ways. Having come through the doorway of the SonRise program I continue to be so grateful for what I learn during the adult programs. The techniques and perspectives I have learnt are so powerful that no matter what other self development tools I come across and may consider using, nothing matches the Option Dialogue Process for effectiveness, ease, intellectual stimulation and being so widely applicable to any life situation, past or present.
My experiences at the Option Institute and Autism Treatment Centre of America began as a parent, learning about the exceptional SonRise Program. Our experiences using the SonRise Program Principles continue to change our lives for the better for us and our children. I love the content of the courses at the Institute - and the passionate, professional and exuberant way it is taught is like nothing I have witnessed anywhere ever. These people are exceptional and I plan to continue to visit, learn and be inspired by the teachers and other participants at the Option Institute. I have learnt skills I can use every moment to be a better parent, a more comfortable person and to see things from different perspectives and really think, understand and create life as I want it. :)
I have been doing programmes with the Option Institute for 16 years, and the consequences for my life have been beyond my wildest dreams. Family relationships which once seemed troubled and dysfunctional are now full of ease, joy and fun. Issues I used to have with depression are now a distant memory. With every programme I take I simply get happier and happier, from having the opportunity and tools to resolve issues with which I have struggled for many years. And I see the same thing happening in the lives of so many other people. They are truly an exceptional organisation with a unique philosophy and an ethos of excellence, and I have a profound gratitude for everything they teach.
An absolute magnificent place - `the philosophy taught at the Option Institute - the Option Process - can heal those who wish to make change in their lives. I believe it can be useful for all those seeking greater happiness. It certainly has made a great impact in my life after just one week. Can't wait to return!!!!