FROM SIMONE – …Because, because, because, because because is the most wonderful week in the World!! (sing to the melody of the Wizard of Oz song title)

Ok it didn’t rhyme, but that is how I feel when I volunteer at a Son-Rise Start-Up Program, I feel like singing, like if life was a magical movie and with no wicked witches in sight!

If you haven’t had the joy of experiencing a Son-Rise Start-Up Program, consider attending the next one, it is such an amazing adventure, it is priceless.

I still remember vividly when I attended my Start-Up back in 2005. My son was about to be diagnosed but there was no doubt in any one’s mind as the name autism was already creeping from all different practitioner lips like a cold winter gale. Not just the word autism but the prognosis of a wasted life, wasted dreams.

However, upon hearing the name autism I remembered a television film I watched as a child called in my Portuguese mother tongue “My son, my World” in which this American couple recovered their child from autism. The cute little boy only rocked back and forth and span plates, but his Mum joined him in his solitary play and established a connection with him. I found at the time the concept so beautiful I just watched the movie several times, I remember always looking for it on TV lists since at the time there was no such a thing as home recording facilities. Little I knew that like that Mum I too would be rocking with my own son several years later.

I searched for the film title in Portuguese on the Internet and for the first time I heard the word Son-Rise. There was a Start-Up in London only months away and I didn’t hesitate, I knew that was what I wanted for my son.

From the moment I enrolled in the course the staff at the Option Institute never seized to amaze me in their kindness and happiness, yes happiness, it was so refreshing, everywhere I went when I pronounced the word autism I was met with wild looks, pity looks, sad looks, I got weary of so much negativity, but at the Start-Up it was different, people greeted me with a smile, they looked me in the eye and I saw hope.

From that magical week in 2005 I have never looked back, never again the word autism meant despair in my household but just fun, yes I do go through many of the sleepless nights, tantrums and other antics that autism Parents go through, but I know that happiness is not linked to what happens to me but to my choice.

Now excuse me, talking about the Start-Up I just want to sing again… I’m off to see the Start-Up…

This year’s UK Son-Rise Start-Up Program starts this Monday the 24th January 2011 until Friday the 28th January 2011 in London Bridge, London. Check the Calendar at the Autism Treatment Center of America for other dates in America.