For parents with a child or youth with a moderate to severe autism spectrum disorder, there appears to be a realistic alternative to Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) programs such as the Intensive Behavioural Intervention (IBI) approach. (See my parent advocacy link on my header bar for those resources.)
The Marazzo family & the Son-Rise Program
It is called the “Son-Rise Program,” a program that is trademarked and presented by the Autism Treatment Centre of America in Massachusetts. Started in 1974 by parents Barry Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman, I have been skeptical of its claims until I read this good news story out of St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada, about the Tom and Stacey Marazzo family and the amazing improvement of their three year old son Riley.
So, while I am not endorsing Son-Rise, since I have not personally evaluated the program (whereas I have observed IBI many times and know that it gets results more often than not), it is obvious that for some children and their families, the Son-Rise approach does help modify a child’s social and emotional behaviours significantly. Or, as Stacey Marazzo said in the Standard article, Son-Rise “focuses on the child’s social and emotional well-being, as opposed to his behaviour.”
Mind you, as a former learning specialist and special education consultant, (as well as the mother of an adult son with autism), whether we are talking about emotional well-being or observable behaviour, the result is the same. When a child or youth can interpret, function and respond in what professionals refer to as a normal developmental range, they have improved.
Son-Rise workshop for parents Feb. 12-14th, 2010There is further good news as well. For parents and professionals who are located somewhere in Southern Ontario and would like to learn more about Son-Rise, a number of former teachers and staff have organized a new Canadian service called “Relate to Autism,” which will provide a parent training workshop from February 12-14th in Toronto. For more information on that or their services, here is the contact link.
So, if parents are still on a waiting list for ABA, or their child has finished his or her allotted time in such a program, the Son-Rise option is certainly worth trying because the cost is considerably less than ABA since it can be implemented by the parents themselves.
What others are saying about Son-Rise:
I’d love to hear from more parents or professionals who have experience with Son-Rise so that I can write about both the successful and unsuccessful stories. Why? Because no one technique works for every child and parents need to know all sides of the issue in order to make an informed decision.