Son-Rise Program

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The Son-Rise Program® was developed by Barry Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman, whose son, Raun, was diagnosed with severe autism. After searching nationwide without finding a program they felt would offer hope for Raun’s recovery, the Kaufman’s decided to try to help him on their own. They designed an intensive program based on an attitude of unconditional love and acceptance. After three years of this home-based, parent-directed program, Raun completely emerged from his condition with no signs of autism. He went on to attend an Ivy League college where he majored in biomedical ethics.

The book Son-Rise, published in 1976, and made into a 1979 NBC-TV movie, chronicles their three-year program with Raun and updates the boy’s development through age 20. A section of the book tells the stories of other families who have used The Son-Rise Program® to help their children.

The book A Miracle to Believe In, also by Barry Neil Kaufman, tells the story of the Kaufmans’ work with another boy with severe autism. Although this child did not recover from autism, he showed significant improvement after a year and a half of intensive intervention by the Kaufmans and the child’s parents.

As the result of a great demand from parents wishing to learn more about this method, the Kaufmans founded The Autism Treatment Center of America in Sheffield, Massachusetts, in 1983. The Center offers training for families wishing to create a home-based Son-Rise Program® for their children.

Treatment Overview

What is the Son-Rise Program®?

Since 1983, the Autism Treatment Center of America™ has provided innovative training programs for parents and professionals caring for children challenged by Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) and other developmental difficulties. The Son-Rise Program® teaches a specific and comprehensive system of treatment and education designed to help families and caregivers enable their children to dramatically improve in all areas of learning, development, communication and skill acquisition. It offers highly effective educational techniques, strategies and principles for designing, implementing and maintaining a stimulating, high-energy, one-on-one, home-based, child-centered program.

The Son-Rise Program® is now available online.  Click here to learn more. 

What Makes The Son-Rise Program® Different?

The Son-Rise Program® was the first to suggest that children with these diagnoses had the potential for extraordinary healing and growth.

The Son-Rise Program® innovated an educational treatment modality which included joining children instead of going against them. The program places parents as key teachers, therapists and directors of their own programs and utilizes the home as the most nurturing environment in which to help their children. The Son-Rise Program® dared to suggest that respect and deep caring would be the most important factor impacting a child’s motivation to learn, and from the beginning has made love and acceptance a meaningful part of every teaching process. Employing this attitude, The Son-Rise Program® first seeks to create bonding and a safe environment. They then apply sound, time-tested educational strategies pioneered by The Son-Rise Program®. These principles remain a cornerstone of their approach.

How Do The Son-Rise Program® Principles and Techniques Benefit Children With Special Needs?

  • Joining in a child’s repetitive and ritualistic behaviors supplies the key to unlocking the mystery of these behaviors and facilitates eye contact, social development and the inclusion of others in play.
  • Utilizing a child’s own motivation advances learning and builds the foundation for education and skill acquisition.
  • Teaching through interactive play results in effective and meaningful socialization and communication.
  • Using energy, excitement and enthusiasm engages the child and inspires a continuous love of learning and interaction.
  • Employing a nonjudgmental and optimistic attitude maximizes the child’s enjoyment, attention and desire throughout their Son-Rise Program®.
  • Placing the parent as the child’s most important and lasting resource provides a consistent and compelling focus for training, education and inspiration.
  • Creating a safe, distraction-free work/play area facilitates the optimal environment for learning and growth.

For more information on The Son-Rise Program® contact:

Autism Treatment Center of America
2080 S. Undermountain Road
Sheffield, MA 01257-9643 USA
Phone 413-229-2100

For more information on The Son-Rise Program® strategies, please watch this Changing the Couse of Autism Conference/Webcast presentation.


Autism Canada does not endorse treatments, interventions and therapies but lists them so people can make informed choice.  This site is for information purposes only and is a starting point for readers to look into options that may fit or resonate.  Remember, therapies for autism, like any condition, should be discussed with a trusted medical practitioner or certified therapist before use.

All information, data and material contained, presented or provided here is for general information purposes only and is not to be construed as reflecting the knowledge or opinions of Autism Canada, or as providing legal or medical advice. All treatment decisions should be made by the individual in consultation with a licensed health care provider.

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