“Son-Rise” alternative to ABA autism treatment

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.

12 thoughts on ““Son-Rise” alternative to ABA autism treatment

  1. My neighbors just became new grandparents of a beautiful girl. They are very hopeful that she will not be autistic, as her two brothers are. She is showing great signs of a healthy baby, responds to people, laughs, follows you with her eyes, and so many things her brothers did not do at that very young age-3 months.

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  2. Mary T — Nice to hear from you. 😉

    Re your neighbours new baby, I too hope that she continues to develop normally. I knew even before I brought my son home from the hospital (beause he cried constantly, couldn’t sleep properly or suck). However, the fact that two of your neighbour’s boys have the disorder would seem to suggest a genetic cause — although one that doesn’t seem to have affected her.

    Keep me informed as she gets older. Given how fast time goes, she’ll be a year old soon enough. Remember that great-grandson of mine that was just born? Well, he just turned 14 months old and is not only walking, but running!

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  3. Our g/grandson is now two, and they are expecting another ? end of December.
    This will be a great Christmas for you, with Santa and all. But, don’t be surprised if he is more interested in the wrapping.
    We have recently seen a new neurologist for Jon, so whole bevy of new tests, MRI, EEG, Catscan, and others. They were ordered end of July, and have all been completed, along with blood tests. Met with the Dr last week, and great news, we are reducing his med, and within the next 10 weeks, he will be off of one of them. One pill reduced/week. It is a horrible large orange things and he takes 5 of them twice a day. Just gobbles them down. We have to watch him very carefully to make sure no seizure activity. Then in six months we take him off his other pill.

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  4. Sounds great Mary T. re Jon. I’m looking forward to Christmas and the little guy’s reaction. Our son and his wife have been accepted into a supervised living situation but it will take a couple of months because it is a new building and everything has to be signed off. We are over the moon that they will finally have 24/7 care if needed. Will keep you posted.

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  5. What a great Christmas gift for your son and daughter-in-law. A decent place to live, with 24/7 care. Also a relief for you, as you will not have to worry if they are eating and taking meds etc.

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  6. What a great Christmas gift for your son and daughter-in-law. A decent place to live, with 24/7 care. Also a relief for you, as you will not have to worry if they are eating and taking meds etc.

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  7. Agree Mary T. But my relief will not be total until moving day arrives. It looks like the end of February now.

    The building is in the downtown of St. Catharines, within walking distance or a bus ride to most services. It has 18 units, seven for the Ontario Association of Community Living. Out of the seven, only one is wheelchair accessible and that is the apt. my children will have. It’s smaller than what they have now, but they are excited because it is all new and will have in-apt. stackable washer and dryer and a large sit down shower. We had to go through many many interviews and questionnaires and assessments, etc. The one needing the most care is my daughter-in-law but once in the program, my son will always be in it as long as he wants to. I mean it is a voluntary program, but he knows he needs constant supervision — or he will end up homeless. Sometimes when I read about homeless people, I wonder how many out there have similar disabilities but fall through the cracks. I am ever so grateful for this opportunity.

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  8. Agree Mary T. But my relief will not be total until moving day arrives. It looks like the end of February now.

    The building is in the downtown of St. Catharines, within walking distance or a bus ride to most services. It has 18 units, seven for the Ontario Association of Community Living. Out of the seven, only one is wheelchair accessible and that is the apt. my children will have. It’s smaller than what they have now, but they are excited because it is all new and will have in-apt. stackable washer and dryer and a large sit down shower. We had to go through many many interviews and questionnaires and assessments, etc. The one needing the most care is my daughter-in-law but once in the program, my son will always be in it as long as he wants to. I mean it is a voluntary program, but he knows he needs constant supervision — or he will end up homeless. Sometimes when I read about homeless people, I wonder how many out there have similar disabilities but fall through the cracks. I am ever so grateful for this opportunity.

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