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Since 1974, the Autism Treatment Center of America® has taught our unique and effective approach to help over 35,000 families worldwide.

Principles that make The Son‑Rise Program so unique and effective:

  • We do not believe in "false" hope. While we certainly cannot predict what any given child will achieve, we do not believe any child or parent is served when others decide in advance what that child will not achieve. No parent should ever have to apologize for believing in their child. We don't apologize for it either.

  • It is a relational, interactional disorder. At its core, Autism is a neurological challenge where children have difficulty relating and connecting to those around them. Most of their so-called behavioral challenges stem from this relational deficit. That's why our dynamic, enthusiastic, play-oriented methods focus so extensively on socialization and rapport building. Of course, we want you to enjoy your child, but, even more important, we want your child to enjoy you.

  • Many traditional modalities "go against the grain" by sitting a child down and endeavoring to teach through endless repetition. Instead, we uncover each child's unique motivations and use these to teach our children the skills they need to learn. That way, we have the child's willing participation, as well as a longer attention span and increased retention and generalization of skills.

  • We have a deep acceptance of and respect for our children. That enables us to reach across the chasm separating their world from ours by doing something bold and unusual. We join, rather than stop, a child's repetitive, exclusive and ritualistic behaviors. Doing so builds rapport and connection, the platform for all future education and development. Participating with a child in these behaviors facilitates eye contact, social development, and inclusion of others in play.

  • Although we have had the opportunity to work with many extremely supportive, caring, and helpful professionals, we have seen nothing yet to equal the power of the parent. No one else can match the unparalleled love, deep dedication, long-term commitment, and day in, day out experience with their child that parents possess. Therefore, we seek to empower parents. In fact, we spend much of our time and effort providing parents with attitudinal training, listening to what they have to say, and providing them with the skills training they need to help their child like no one else can. We help parents to be confident directors and teachers for their own child's program.

  • Most children on the Autism Spectrum are highly over stimulated by a plethora of distractions that most of us do not even notice. We show you how to create an optimal learning environment so that distractions are eliminated and interactions are facilitated. In addition, this work/playroom drastically reduces the push-pull control battles that inhibit progress and useful interaction, thus paving the way not only for progressive learning, but also for a sweetness of interaction that parents yearn for.

  • Oftentimes parents are given prognoses that are frightening and negative. They are told what their children will never do and can never have. We do not believe that anyone has the right to tell a parent what their child cannot achieve. We help parents focus on their attitude and reclaim their optimism and hopefulness. We help them to see the potential in their children and then "go for the gold." From this perspective, we have seen all things are possible. Additionally, caring professionals are not often given the resources, guidance, or support that they need to help the children that they are working with. We understand the pressures that many professionals deal with and offer a unique attitudinal perspective that allows you to feel both re-energized and armed with excellent tools to help your students.

  • The Son-Rise Program is designed to be customized to each child's needs. Having worked with thousands of children who have had a wide array of challenges, we have observed that when additional therapies are included, and applied using The Son-Rise Program principles, the intervention is even more effective than when used individually. Some approaches, which contain principles and techniques which are contradictory to our approach, have been found to undermine the effectiveness of the program and confuse the child. Our staff helps each family determine the most effective intervention for their child.

  • These include biomedical interventions, sensory integration therapy, dietary changes (gluten/casein-free), Auditory Integration therapy and others. The Son-Rise Program is designed to be customized to each child's needs. Having worked with thousands of children who have had a wide array of challenges, we have observed that when additional therapies are included, and applied using The Son-Rise Program principles, the intervention is even more effective than when used individually. Some approaches, which contain principles and techniques which are contradictory to our approach, have been found to undermine the effectiveness of the program and confuse the child. Our staff helps each family determine the most effective intervention for their child.

Who Attends?

Who Attends?

Our program takes the perspectives, concepts and life-affirming attitudes of The Son-Rise Program and joins them with time-proven, highly effective techniques that enable you to make a powerful difference in your child’s or student’s life. We are honored to have worked with parents, their children, and caring professionals from all around the world. For more information on who has attended our programs, view the following tables.

People We Have Helped:

  • Number of Participants: Over 35,000
  • Age Range Represented: 18 months – 60 years old
  • States Represented: All 50 States, D.C. and Puerto Rico
  • Countries Represented: Over 124 different countries

Family Members Who Attend:

  • Moms
  • Dads
  • Cousins
  • Brothers
  • Sisters
  • Grandparents
  • Family Friends

Professionals Who Attend:

  • Doctors
  • Teachers
  • Speech Therapists
  • Music Therapists
  • Personal Assistants
  • Early Childhood Educational Teachers
  • Speech-language Pathologists
  • Registered Nurses
  • Respite Workers
  • Physical Therapists
  • Social Worker for Autistic Teenagers
  • Family Advocates

Diagnoses of Children Represented:

  • Apraxia
  • Angelman Syndrome
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Autism-High Functioning
  • Autism w/ Hyperlexia
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Autistic Tendencies
  • Bannayan Zonana Syndrome
  • Bilateral MCA Stroke in Utero
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Epilepsy
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Global Development Delay
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Landau-Kleffner Syndrome
  • Mental Retardation (not a term we’d ever use, but a diagnosis given to many families with whom we’ve worked)
  • Microcephaly
  • PDD
  • PDD-NOS
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Rett Syndrome
  • Tuberous Sclerosis
  • Undiagnosed

People We Have Helped:

  • Number of Participants:
    Over 35,000
  • Age Range Represented:
    18 months – 60 years old
  • States Represented:
    All 50 States, D.C. and Puerto Rico
  • Countries Represented:
    Over 124 different countries

Family Members Who Attend:

  • Moms
  • Dads
  • Cousins
  • Brothers
  • Sisters
  • Grandparents
  • Family Friends

Professionals Who Attend:

  • Doctors
  • Teachers
  • Speech Therapists
  • Music Therapists
  • Personal Assistants
  • Early Childhood Educational Teachers
  • Speech-language Pathologists
  • Registered Nurses
  • Respite Workers
  • Physical Therapists
  • Social Worker for Autistic Teenagers
  • Family Advocates

Diagnoses of Children Represented:

  • Apraxia
  • Angelman Syndrome
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Autism-High Functioning
  • Autism w/ Hyperlexia
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Autistic Tendencies
  • Bannayan Zonana Syndrome
  • Bilateral MCA Stroke in Utero
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Epilepsy
  • Fragile X Syndrome
  • Global Development Delay
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Landau-Kleffner Syndrome
  • Mental Retardation (not a term we’d ever use, but a diagnosis given to many families with whom we’ve worked)
  • Microcephaly
  • PDD
  • PDD-NOS
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Rett Syndrome
  • Tuberous Sclerosis
  • Undiagnosed

History of The Son‑Rise Program

One Child's Recovery From Autism Becomes an International Treatment Modality:


The Son-Rise Program was created by authors/teachers Barry ("Bears") Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman when their son, Raun, was diagnosed as severely and incurably autistic. Although advised to institutionalize him because of his "hopeless, lifelong condition," the Kaufmans instead designed an innovative home-based, child-centered program in an attempt to reach their little boy. The Kaufmans' unique program, which marked a complete departure from existing methods of treatment, transformed Raun from a mute, withdrawn child with an IQ of less than 30, into a highly verbal, socially interactive youngster with a near-genius IQ.

Bearing no traces of his former condition, Raun graduated from an Ivy League university and went on to become the director of an educational center for school-aged children. He currently teaches families and individuals at the Autism Treatment Center of America. Following the publication of the best-selling book, Son-Rise (now updated to Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues), and the award-winning NBC-TV movie Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love, the Kaufmans were flooded with requests for help. Responding to this demand, the Kaufmans established the Option Institute® and the Autism Treatment Center of America, where they have been offering The Son-Rise Program since 1983.

For nearly 2 decades, the Kaufmans and their dedicated, highly trained staff have been helping thousands of parents and professionals from around the world reach children previously considered “unreachable.” Individuals from 66 different countries on 6 continents have attended programs at the Autism Treatment Center of America in Massachusetts and at various international outreach programs. The Kaufmans are the authors of 12 books. There are over 3 million copies of their books in print, in 22 languages, in over 65 countries. Several of these books are required reading for courses at more than 280 universities.

The Son-Rise Program and the Kaufmans have been featured in over 2,000 articles and programs appearing in major media worldwide, including: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Self Magazine, Parenting Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) and Good Morning America.

The Kaufmans' works have been endorsed by such well-respected figures as Coretta Scott King, Jimmy Carter, Dr. Carl Rogers, Deepak Chopra, Bernie Siegel, Norman Cousins, Lou Holtz, John Bradshaw, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and many others.


One Child's Recovery From Autism Becomes an International Treatment Modality:

The Son-Rise Program was created by authors/teachers Barry ("Bears") Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman when their son, Raun, was diagnosed as severely and incurably autistic. Although advised to institutionalize him because of his "hopeless, lifelong condition," the Kaufmans instead designed an innovative home-based, child-centered program in an attempt to reach their little boy. The Kaufmans' unique program, which marked a complete departure from existing methods of treatment, transformed Raun from a mute, withdrawn child with an IQ of less than 30, into a highly verbal, socially interactive youngster with a near-genius IQ.

Bearing no traces of his former condition, Raun graduated from an Ivy League university and went on to become the director of an educational center for school-aged children. He currently teaches families and individuals at the Autism Treatment Center of America. Following the publication of the best-selling book, Son-Rise (now updated to Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues), and the award-winning NBC-TV movie Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love, the Kaufmans were flooded with requests for help. Responding to this demand, the Kaufmans established the Option Institute® and the Autism Treatment Center of America, where they have been offering The Son-Rise Program since 1983.

For nearly 2 decades, the Kaufmans and their dedicated, highly trained staff have been helping thousands of parents and professionals from around the world reach children previously considered “unreachable.” Individuals from 66 different countries on 6 continents have attended programs at the Autism Treatment Center of America in Massachusetts and at various international outreach programs. The Kaufmans are the authors of 12 books. There are over 3 million copies of their books in print, in 22 languages, in over 65 countries. Several of these books are required reading for courses at more than 280 universities.

The Son-Rise Program and the Kaufmans have been featured in over 2,000 articles and programs appearing in major media worldwide, including: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Self Magazine, Parenting Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, The BBC (British Broadcasting Company) and Good Morning America.

The Kaufmans' works have been endorsed by such well-respected figures as Coretta Scott King, Jimmy Carter, Dr. Carl Rogers, Deepak Chopra, Bernie Siegel, Norman Cousins, Lou Holtz, John Bradshaw, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and many others.

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