Barry Neil Kaufman's books, Son-Rise (Warner Books, 1976) and Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues (H.J. Kramer, 1995), documentaries of the grueling process he and his wife, Samahria Lyte Kaufman, underwent to help their severely autistic son, Raun. Kaufman literally locked himself in a room with his son for hours on end for almost three years, observing Raun, following his lead when he could perceive an initiative, and trying to "bring him back to the world." 

Raun Kaufman is grown now, and has graduated from college.  The Kaufmans remain heavily involved in the treatment of autism; however, through the Options Institute in Sheffield, Mass. Satellite centers have recently opened in Holland and the U.K.

Although the Options program is quite expensive, some parents say it has been helpful.  Its primary principles are unconditional love and acceptance.

The Son-Rise program is somewhat controversial in the autism community, both because of its price tag and because of its philosophy. Few parents can go to the extremes that Barry Kaufman did with Raun, no matter how admirable and successful, and not everyone is comfortable with his ideas about autism and how to treat it. For those who feel inspired by Kaufman's ideals, the Options Institute holds weeklong parent training programs on a regular basis, as well as seminars, individual sessions, and program design assistance.


Autism and the myth of false hope by Raun Kauffman



I did check into information on the Son Rise program. The positive aspect that I saw was that it offered unconditional love. As I looked into it further, I saw that it teaches most things that we as parents offer our child from our home.

They charge $1,995 including room and board, but want you to return two more times to total $5,985 for all three times you go, not including airfare to and from there.  I don't know about others, but I can't afford that!

IMO, I think I will stick to the method I am using with my son, which is by the way working.  I have heard many positive things about the Son Rise program, but also as many negative.

In the book "Son Rise The Miracle Continues," what Raun's mother did was similar to what I did, although I didn't lock myself in the bathroom with him.  She speaks of getting into Raun's world.  I think this is what is going through most parents' minds when we finally get over the diagnosis and get a clue to help our children.

I did the same things with my son like staring at what he was staring at and mocking him. I too was trying to get my little boy back. I was trying to regain eye contact and to be noticed again and guess what, it did work.  My son is now speaking and learning more and more every day.

It was a year ago* that I checked out this program, so prices may have gone up. In a nut-shell, I have to say the Son Rise program prices are way too high and I think every mother/father that works with their child whatever therapies or methodologies they are using, offer this same unconditional love to their child. Why pay for a program that is repeating what is already in our hearts? 

Lisa (J) 

* This story was written in 2000, so we can assume the prices were current in 1999.

2: November 2001