We often hear the question “Will my child ever overcome their autism diagnosis?” from parents that we work with. We totally understand a parent’s desire to want to know that everything will be OK for their child, wanting to make sure that their child on the autism spectrum, can have a chance at having a promising and happy future just like any other child.
The Son-Rise Program® was one of the first methodologies, that in the 1970’s spoke about the possibility of full recovery for a person on the autism spectrum. Although we can never predict what is possible for each child, we absolutely believe and have witnessed that children on the autism spectrum CAN overcome their previous diagnosis, experience massive growth, and learn to live an independent and fulfilling life. You have probably already heard of the stories of Raun Kaufman, and many others who have overcome their previous autism diagnosis. Having said that, when the co-founders of The Son-Rise Program, Bears and Samahria developed this simple, yet highly effective way to reach their son (who at the time was labeled severely autistic and completely non-verbal), their primary intention was not to change their son, or recover him from autism…Bears, and Samahria, were not asking themselves “how can we recover or change Raun?” when they started developing The Son-Rise Program. The Son-Rise Program was actually invented as a result of these two parents creating an intention of how they wanted to be with their son, while helping him through his challenges. The Son-Rise Program was about Bears and Samahria changing themselves first, to become comfortable, clear, and joyful, so that they could best support Raun through his own challenges.
The creation of The Son-Rise Program was not about changing or recovering their son from autism… It was about Bears and Samahria deciding how they wanted to be, while helping Raun through his challenges – regardless of the outcome. It was about deciding that they could live a happy life with Raun right then! While he was still non-verbal and “severely autistic”. When most people around them saw autism as a tragedy, our founders wanted their son to know they loved, accepted, and appreciated him just the way he was. They wanted to understand and embrace Raun, as much as they wanted Raun to experience people as welcoming, joyful, and loving.
Someone might be thinking… “Why does it matter what the parent’s intention is, if the program is effective for the child?” It absolutely matters! Our attitude is the main part of the program that makes it effective for our children, and is what allows us to reach and connect with our children! How we view our children and their autism, will determine how we feel, think, and the actions we take. In other words, this will determine how we talk to our children, how we respond to them, how much we believe in their potential, how inviting and fun we are, and how much we persist in helping them through their challenges…
Someone else might be thinking… “It could be a lot of work to change myself and have a positive and joyful attitude towards my child’s autism”, but please know we’ve got you covered! In The Son-Rise Program, our primary focus is on supporting parents and caregivers, while teaching them specific strategies on how they can become comfortable, feel empowered, and optimistic about their children’s current autism (and future life).
Our children on the autism spectrum have many challenges, which may include: sensory processing challenges, social challenges, digestive challenges, motor-planning challenges, and more. It requires time and a lot of effort to help our children heal and overcome all those different challenges. And the truth is, no one, really no one has a crystal ball and can tell you what your child’s future will look like, because there are so many different components in place that can affect this outcome, and this can vary hugely from child to child… But what we can tell you is: when parents and caregivers turn their focus to becoming the most comfortable, calm, joyful, positive, loving version of themselves, they are then the most equipped to help their children through their many challenges. This is actually, the only piece that any of us really has any control over, which is our attitude and our actions from moment to moment. (That does not mean you have the be the perfect parent, who is always happy, all the time – no it doesn’t mean that at all…. But if you can switch the question that you are asking yourselves right now from “Will my child ever recover from autism?” to “How can I become the most positive, motivated, joyful, and playful version of myself right now – while helping my child through their challenges?” (Remember we are here to help you with this important “task”)… Then you will become more clear and will be more equipped with helping and supporting your child through their challenges.
By: Camila Titone, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher