We started to work with the Son Rise Program in October of 2013.  At that moment our daughter was 18 years old and she was at her 3rd grade of High School for Special Needs Students.  Even she was medicated with antipsychotics and painkiller for PMS we were struggling with her everyday agressive behaviors, crying, tantrums and insomnia.   Her verbal communication level was very basic, probably she could just say “please”, or other words as salutes as ecolalia.

 

We wanted to continue helping her to improve her communication or help her find whatever skill she could like and work on it.    We were not satisfied with the idea of her going to some Institution or working place in the area where she would have to adapt herself to the work they offered.

 

After looking for this possibility in Japan without success, we turned and looked abroad and among of so many therapies available we found the Son Rise Program.

 

What attracted my attention about the SRP was the perspective they have about children with special needs and the way they treat them as well.  They say:

 

  • Your child's potencial is limitless
  • There’s no age limit to start to help them
  • Your love as a parent is priceless
  • Motivation, not repetition, holds the key to all learning
  • Your child can progress in the right environment
  • Your child's "stimming" behaviors have important meaning and value

This last principle was the most interesting and new concept to me.   The repetitious behaviors called as isms enables us to reach across the chasm separating their world from ours.  In the SRP we join a child's repetitive, exclusive behaviors in order to build rapport and connection with a child.

 

In 1974 Barry Neil Kaufmann and Samahria Lite Kaufmann created the Son Rise Program for their son Raun who at the age of 1 and a half  year old was diagnosed as severely and incurably autistic. They designed a unique and very different program to help their son who in 3 and half year of working with him recovered from Autism.  Raun graduated from an Ivy League university and went on to become the director of an educational center for school-aged children. He currently teaches families and individuals at the Autism Treatment Center of America.

 

You probably have heard so many times that you as a parent are the most reliable support to find out, help or work on whatever your childs potential.  There are so many parents that actually did, but for us just dealing with our daughter’s challenges at that moment was more than enough and we didn’t have the energy, confidence and knowlege of how to do it.

 

After reading and seeing big amount of the abundant material they have in their SRP homepage I couldn’t think of something more tentative than immediately to start this program.   It was the first time that I felt hope, and felt that I myself can do something to help my daughter. Maybe it was the first time in 18 years that I really engaged my daughter playing with her and doing what she wanted to do most at that moment.   We spent hours coloring endless paper one after another and after 2 months of doing this everyday, all the problems I’ve mentioned before decreased in frequency and intensity like from 10 to 3. At the end of 2013 we stopped all the medications and decided to really learn more about this program and really commit to work with it.

 

In February of 2014 we went to ATCA and participate in the 5 days Start Up program and in March of the same year we had our first Outreach with Gerd, an amazing SRP teacher.   He helped us to cope with so many fears and worries we were having at that moment and also taught us how to handle the difficulties we were having with our daughter.

 

In December of 2016 we had a new start, 5 volunteers came to work with us.  Since we have started to work with this amazing group the dynamics of the program has changed dramatically.  We have regular meetings, I do feedback and support continuously so the members can participate in their sessions with great energy and good attitude.

 

Since we found the Son-Rise Program almost 5 years have passed.   Looking back to where we started, we can see big changes happened to her.  This is a roughly resume of them.

 

1)When the volunteers started to work with Yochan there was no communication or interaction at all.  Now Yochan is more open to interact and have fun with them.

2) She is using verbal and physical communication in order to express her desires whereas in the past she  would cry or have tantrums.

3) She is changing from echolalia to answering to what we ask her.

4) At the beginning she used to use one word to express her desires or requests, now she can use 3 words sentences to asks for what she wants.

5) Her eye contact is amazing!  It is more natural, spontaneous and it is so profound!  Sometimes she stares at us for a very long time like trying to speak through her eyes.

6)  Her understanding of spoken language has increased tremendously.

7)  She now enjoys people's company.  Now after her sessions with the volunteers finish, she likes to stay and drink tea with us and while listening our conversations she reacts appropriately laughing or having facial expressions in the very precise moments.

8) Her ability to concentrate and think/solve when she is doing some activities (typing, complex puzzles or just listening when we read to her) has dramatically increased.

9) She volunteers to do housework and does them well and pays attention to details.

10) She used to cry every day when she woke up or before she went to bed.  Now we can say for sure it is almost gone. Amazingly even she has to ride a workplace bus at 7am she is now getting there some minutes ahead the bus leaves.

 

We are celebrating working together and we are also celebrating all the achievements we got.

 

We also were feelling so grateful for what this journey was teaching us,  so we started dreaming with the possibility of bringing the Son-Rise Program into Japan.    Finally we decided to go for our dream and we have created a Non Profit Organization called Colorful Beads Embrace Autism Japan.   We have signed up a contract with the Autism Treatment Center of America and we are planning to hold the Start Up Program in Sasebo, Nagasaki next year in September.

 

We will have our first Son-Rise parents sharing this October 27th, and Japan's first Raun Kaufman's lecture on December 27th!

 

All the events for our organization are self-funded.    We will really appreciate if you can support us by making a donation that will help us cover part of the 1st payment (US$10,000) to the Autism Treatment Center of America.

 

You will be able to support us trough a fundraising project that we have created.   The next link will connect you to our fundraising page.

 

https://readyfor.jp/projects/colorfulbeadsjihei

 

or you can contact us directly at

 

t.okudaira7@gmail.com or

 

maryokudaira@gmail.com

 

新着情報一覧へ