When our daughter, Evie, was first diagnosed with autism it was no shock for use, we knew that something was very different about her. But with the diagnosis came lots of grief, lots of heartache like I had never felt before. Everything that all parents dream of, I felt was taken from me. I remember looking at her very well and alive but feeling like she had died. I was mourning for my child, for my precious daughter.
Many, many different therapies later, none of which worked, we came to The Son-Rise Program® thanks to your precious gift of our scholarships. I am a different person now and I have learnt so much. Here is just a sample of those wonderful things …
My own fears of the future were holding Eve back.
My attitude is crucial.
How to better engage and be with Evie with more excitement and gratitude from the hart.
To request from Evie … this is crucial … if I don’t request, I’m missing opportunities to help her grow.
How to utilize the three E’s and the power that I will become the most exciting and important thing in her room.
My unhappiness about Evie’s autism came from me, not from her.
The power to ask myself questions, to help myself have and gain clarity.
I hope you know just how much you have helped my precious and wonderful family. Thank you with all of my heart.
Kristy & Ian T., Austrailia
After four desperate years of looking for answers and methods, and of doctors telling us everything our eldest son would never do; we found hope and common sense again when we found The Son-Rise Program® about a year ago. Since then we have been applying The Son-Rise philosophy and living The Son-Rise lifestyle. Now, through your generosity, you have made possible our dream to come to The Son-Rise Start-Up program.
Our son, Santino, is very sweet and he insists on laughing and being happy since we began using the loving method of our Son-Rise Program last year. He loves water, bubbles, and is finding that it’s so much nicer to play with us instead of in his own world. His eye contact is really stretching out in time
and we are very enthusiastic about each look he gives us. He is beginning to show us the way in and we are thrilled to be starting to show him the way out.
We truly believe coming over to the Option Institute® makes us stronger, more accepting and loving parents of both our children.
Thank You … Thank You … Thank You!
Florencia Villamil Delfabro & Ignacio Angel Gabriel, Argentina
Your donations made it possible for us to receive scholarships so that we could attend a Start-Up Program and learn how to help ourselves and our daughter, Juliette. We have been running a Son-Rise Program in our home during the past 16 months and would love to share with you about our journey with our daughter Juliette thus far. Juliette is our 3rd child and we were excited about her arrival. She was as bright as she was stunningly beautiful, with dark brown eyes, blond curly hair, and a beautiful smile. But after her 2nd birthday she began to withdraw into her own world. She avoided eye-contact and our company. She stopped responding to her name or returning a smile. Even her language declined and disappeared. She lost interest in her dolls and toys, and if she played with them it was in very peculiar ways. She could be right in front of me and my heart would ache from missing her, that's how disconnected she was from the rest of us! We could not penetrate her wall, and I felt like a useless, terrible failure of a mother!
When she had spent the last few months tearing down all our wallpaper, we painted the walls (you can't tear down paint). Then she spent all her days biting on the walls, gnawing off the paint, with great success and efficiency I might add! She was 3 yrs old, still in diapers, had lost all her language, and was literally eating up our house and furniture!!! It was time to ask for help!
When she was diagnosed with autism we weren't surprised, we knew that. But the fact that we were told that there was no way of helping her, and that the most improvement we could ever hope for was that she would learn how to dress herself and eat with a fork, that nearly killed us!!!
Right away we put her in a preschool for autistic children, where she did learn how to dress herself and eat with a fork. But we wanted more for Juliette, and we didn't get more. Instead we got less, less sleep. The minute we put her in school she began sleeping only 4 hrs/night and not even 4 hrs straight. She also began pulling her hair, biting herself, banging her head and screaming for hours. She was always black and blue!
The doctors added ADHD and Mental Retardation to her diagnosis, claiming that she at the age of 4 was at the mental level of a 13 month old baby, and prescribed amphetamines for her ADHD. We were sleep-deprived, depressed and without hope. Our entire family was "drowning" in Juliette's autism.
Then I got in touch with a Son-Rise family and learned about their miraculous journey that was closing in on a very happy ending. Finally some hope! I wanted in on that!! So, I booked a Son-Rise Program Start-Up week at The Option Institute and prayed for a miracle of our own. Specifically, I humbly prayed for 3 things; 1) to learn how to potty-train Juliette (she was almost 5 yrs old), 2) to get her to sleep at night, and 3) that Juliette would speak 15 different words during the next 6 months (she had uttered 7 in the past 2 years).
Not only did I learn how to reach those 3 goals, but to my surprise I also learned so much about myself, and how to let go of the past and look optimistically into the future. I learned that autism can be cured and how to find the tools within myself to help her. I wasn't a useless, terrible mother! I had the tools to help her all along, I just didn't know it. I came to The Option Institute feeling hopeless and like a failure. I left The Option Institute feeling empowered with my love for Juliette and my family, and with the love from the Son-Rise staff and all the parents I had met at The Start-Up. I felt strong, happy and ready to go!
So, how about my three goals for Juliette?
She was fully toilet-trained within two weeks. A couple of months into the program we took her out of school to be able to run our program 12-13 hrs/day. She has been sleeping 9 hrs/night ever since! 6 months into her program she had not spoken 15 different words, but 300!!! Today we are 16 months into our program. My husband and I have been back to the Option Institute for New Frontiers and Maximum Impact. They were both life-changing experiences that have made us not only happier, but now the both of us are fully-equipped to run a successful program, train volunteers, and hold inspiring, informative group meetings. We are a great team, a force of nature x 2! But we still want to come back for more!!!
As for Juliette, she has great eye-contact, is very affectionate, and is very happy. She rarely gets upset, and if she does it only lasts for 5 minutes. She loves playing and interacting with her volunteers (and sometimes even with her siblings!), you can hear her laughter throughout the house.
She still loves tearing paper, but you can build it into a game for two, and she will be pretty flexible about it and enjoy the interaction. She has said 500 different words (and then I stopped counting) and she says about 15-30 words/day. And her receptive language amazes us! For example; instead of having to run and physically stop her from doing something, we can now just call out her name and simply tell her that she can't tear that paper because it's Daddy's phone bill, and she will smile back at you and put the paper down (and of course go searching for paper somewhere else ...but not on the walls).
We still have a ways to go, but look how far we have come! We are happy and can't wait to see what possibilities and adventures we can make of the future.
Thank You, Dear Donor, for being there and helping to get us started on this amazing journey with our precious little girl!
Lots of Love, Cherrie and Jakop Granlund, Sweden
I cannot begin to express in words just how truly blessed and thankful I am for your kind heart generosity. If it weren’t for your loving heart and beautiful spirit, I would not have been able to have the knowledge that I have learned through this program to save our son Skyler from Autism. Now I see him and myself from a place of love and acceptance that before I never would have dreamed would be possible.
Thank you with every fiber of my being for being a beacon of light in the darkness for me! Thank you for believing in me and my son.
God bless you always,
Kim Fisher, Florida
We cannot thank you enough for your generous donations that made it possible for my husband and me to make this journey and embark on a new chapter in our lives.
Our daughter, Violet, is almost three years old. She received a diagnosis of ASD about a year ago. Since then we have been continually challenged with coming up with the best approach to help her. We used an ABA service for several months and realized that it was not an approach that suited our daughter, then we came across the Son-Rise Program. This was about a year
ago and we were uncertain that we would ever be able to afford to make our way all the way here from Indiana. Thanks to you, we did get this opportunity and we want to thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts.
Ed & Heather Fitzgerald, Indiana
My son, Anthony, was diagnosed [with autism] at age two and by that time he had lost all eye contact, sounds, social skills, and he wasn’t able to perform any cognitive tasks like dressing, using the potty, or drinking, or eating by himself. Anthony would spend his days shaking a string of fabric in front of his eyes, or running back and forth. He didn’t want to be touched, he had many issues with different textures, and he would cry or laugh for no reason.
After we attended The Son-Rise Start-Up Program we immediately started his program at home. He started looking at us, began playing with us and realizing that we were there too. We now play together, he hugs me and gives me kisses, is 100% potty-trained, eats by himself and loves to touch new
textures, especially wet ones like paint. He gives us great eye contact and makes lots of sounds.
Thanks to your kind help, I was able to attend The Son-Rise Maximum Impact training, which was a huge step for me to take toward my son’s success in his program. I learned so much more than I could ever expect to learn. I learned new techniques to help him acquire language and other needs but most of all I learned how to let go of all my self-judgments and guilty thoughts. I feel much more equipped not only to help my son but also to help myself and my entire family to become “Forces of Nature.”
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making this possible for our family.
Emanuelle G., Alabama
To my dearest contributor,
We have been running The Son-Rise Program® for close to eight months now and it’s been a life-changing miracle for us and for Yona, our adorable 6-year old boy. Since we started Son-Rise, Yona has improved tremendously in his communication and social skills. In his playhouse, he likes to tell stories, play tickle games, play hide and seek, and act out different characters going to school, going to the office, being a doctor and even being a bride at a wedding.
I came to the Son-Rise Program Start-Up with the intention of only helping my son. The amazing thing is it did more than facilitate me in helping Yona!! It helped me deal with my situation and feel happy again!! When I got back home, I was a changed person and ready to take charge of everything in my son’s life.
It’s because of you, dear donors, that Yona, who is far, far away in Africa, has had the privilege of experiencing love to its maximum, it’s because of you that he has shown what
an intelligent and caring boy he is, it’s because of you that he has been accepted and is not judged anymore, it’s because of you that I have experienced happiness I could never have imagined, it’s because of you that I am able to spread the news about The Son-Rise Program in my country and let other children there experience love they so deserve to have in every way.
Irene Maberi Sagala, Kampala, UGANDA
Words are not enough to describe my gratitude for your generous help in allowing me to attend The Son-Rise Program® New Frontiers.
Our precious little 4 year old boy, Benjamin, was diagnosed as severely autistic with anxiety disorder. We were making no progress with traditional therapies and we were told that we should not hope for much for our son. They said Benjamin would never look at us, never know who we were and that he would never be able to have a job or live on his own. We were encouraged to institutionalize him.
In my desperate research to find help I came across the Autism Treatment Center of America®, and in my heart hope was reborn. I believed as they did that loving and not judging our child was the way to go. Through all I have learned here, I am a different person. With The Son-Rise Program, my son does know who I am, he does hug and kiss me! And each day he is progressing by leaps and bounds. And we are able to delight him in turn.
Thank you, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.
Jarlyn M., Texas
To my dear friend,
My beautiful son, Brady, was diagnosed at 3 1/2 with autism. He did not speak and had a long list of “isms” like running around his room and jumping on the bed, jumping up and down while flapping his hands and making a loud, low sound that gradually increased to a higher pitch, rather like a hic-cup.
Searching for an answer, I was working the overnight shift as an RN at the Mayo Clinic late one night when I found the Autism Treatment Center of America® and The Son-Rise Program®. I had finally found my MIRACLE! I went home and shared my excitement for this new found “miracle cure” for our son with my husband, and told him how EASY it seemed to be able to implement! I told him of the SIMPLE COMMON SENSE concept of going into Brady’s world so that we could shine the light for him to guide him back out and into ours.
Wow! Could it really be that simple? I could not wait to give it a go!!! That afternoon I joined him in his room doing all of his isms mixed together for at least a good hour and I could not believe the amount of eye contact and sly smiles I was getting from his gorgeous, big brown eyes, it was heartwarming!!! Next I offered him his favorite snack, green grapes, one at a time, while holding each one in front of me and mouthing the word, “Mmmm … Aaaah … Mmmm. Before I ran out of grapes he said … “MOM!!!! That’s all the proof I needed and I called the Option Institute® the very next day, and because of YOU, and your generosity, I was able to come to The Son-Rise Program right away!
Brady is now a beautiful, happy, loving, little boy, who loves to be cuddled and tickled. He sometimes bursts into giggles for no apparent reason. With your gift, you have given one very special little boy’s parents the “map” to help him find his way into our world!!!
Michelle & Steve B., Minnesota
In 2002 I first attended The Son-Rise Program®, and started a program at home for my little boy, Tobias, who was only 3 ½ at the time, and could not speak, would not look at anyone, would self-harm, had no imagination and did not even know his name was Tobias. He was not potty trained and had no self-help skills. Nine years after, having lost my ability to keep the program going due to circumstances I couldn’t control, I came back to the Autism Treatment Center of America® for a renewal of my commitment to help my son. Words cannot express what a life-changing experience this week at The Son-Rise Program Start-Up was.
I would like you to know how your generosity has touched my life, my son’s life and the lives of so many others. In that short week I learned and realized …
It is never too late. I can restart my son’s program with renewed energy, excitement and enthusiasm.
There is always hope, it does not matter how old your child is … whether he’s 3, 13, or 33, there is always hope.
Fear does not drive my program … excitement does, and pictures of him being happy and having all his dreams come true fill my mind, his dreams to get married, have kids and become a vet.
I am important and taking care of me is also a priority and I will no longer feel guilty when I take care of myself.
I can get and train a team of volunteers to help me.
For the first time in years I am able to celebrate and be proud of all I have achieved with Tobias.
He is such a happy, warm, loving, caring, considerate and funny boy with so many wonderful qualities. He speaks in sentences, is highly creative and artistic, he can write Chinese, play chess and many other games. He can read, write and do math, he can shower all by himself, he is toilet trained, and he dresses himself. Tobias can cook, eat a wide variety of foods, he sews and uses a sewing machine, has a really wide range of interests, engages in imaginative play, and he can discriminate and speak a little Danish, French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Finnish.
It is thanks to the scholarship that you provided that I have been given hope again and most of all a belief in myself and belief in my son. I remain eternally grateful to you. And from the deepest depths of my heart and soul I thank you and wish you every happiness.
Zobeeda M., Spain
Eli is our oldest child and only son. He’s four and is the light of our lives. His blue eyes and dimples could melt any heart. Since we returned from our Son-Rise Start-up Program® in December, 2012, Eli has gone from a vocabulary of around 50 single words to 2-3 word sentences. He went from being completely exclusive to running around with his younger sisters and asking us to play hide and seek with him. Eli has also begun to give hugs to everyone.
He just recently told me that he loved me for the first time. I’ve waited four and a half years to hear him say that, and I can’t express what that means to me.
I don’t know what else to say but Thank You! We are forever grateful. Thank you a million times over.
Stacie P., Texas