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Autism Breakthrough: The Groundbreaking Method That Has Helped Families All Over the World Hardcover – April 1, 2014
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“Limitless hope . . . his personal faith in the program, his warmth, and the targeted application of principles will encourage readers to try his methods.” ―Publishers Weekly
“An innovative, alternative approach to creating a child-centered environment that directly empowers parents and caregivers.” ―Kirkus
“His voice is warm and fascinating, his experience is one that will bring confidence to families new to their diagnosis, or who may be struggling to find hope.” ―Library Journal
“Reading Autism Breakthrough brought chills to my body and tears of joy to my soul. This book must be read by every parent of a child with autism who wants a step-by-step plan to reach and transform their child. I was there in person when Raun K. Kaufman's miraculous story began. His full recovery from severe autism -- through The Son-Rise Program that his parents developed to reach him -- changed my life and the life of my daughter, who showed all the signs of early stage autism. Today she thrives because I knew exactly what to do: ignore all of the dire predictions and immerse her in precisely the principles and techniques described in Autism Breakthrough. I couldn't recommend this book more enthusiastically - not only for those who love a child or adult with challenges, but for all parents and professionals. This book turns the all-powerful principle of unconditional love into a practical blueprint that anyone can follow.” ―Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, #1 NYT bestselling author of The Power of Intention and thirty other books
“I learned more about my daughter by reading this book than I have through all of the others I've read over the 11 years since her diagnosis. If you're a parent of a child with Autism, this book truly is a must-read. With case studies, step-by-step instructions and an accompanying website, it's an invaluable resource that may prompt you to rethink what - and how - your child can best learn and progress to meet their full potential. No matter how old your child is, Autism Breakthrough can help you to connect with them in ways you may have never thought possible.” ―Wendy Fournier, President, National Autism Association (NAA)
“Raun K. Kaufman's book, Autism Breakthrough, is an amazing resource to help you right here and right now to make a huge difference in your child's progress. His super easy-to-digest guidance on using the techniques of The Son-Rise Program is a game-changer. Given the program's record of success, the Autism Hope Alliance has funded families to take Son-Rise Program courses at the Autism Treatment Center of America. If you are the parent of a child on the autism spectrum, Autism Breakthrough will give you a whole new way to help your child and take away that nagging fear that so many of us parents feel. My own son is the beneficiary of the principles explained in Autism Breakthrough. I gave birth to my son, but The Son-Rise Program gave him life. ” ―Kristin Selby Gonzalez, President, Autism Hope Alliance (AHA)
“I am a physician who treats thousands of children and adults with all types of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) from mild cases to those that are that are very severe. My own son is also living with autism. I highly recommend Raun Kaufman's new book Autism Breakthrough to all parents, to family members, and to practitioners of persons on the autism spectrum. It combines the scientifically validated therapies of The Son-Rise Program with an easy-to-read approach that makes it very informative and highly useful to everyone. I frequently refer our patients to The Son-Rise Program, and I have seen the objective improvements in my patients with my own eyes. It has also helped my own son and our family tremendously. Autism Breakthrough will help you make huge impact in the lives of persons of all ages with ASD's, and it will provide great benefit and comfort to the families and to practitioners.” ―Phillip C. DeMio, M.D., Executive Director, American Medical Autism Board, & Chief Medical Officer, US Autism & Asperger Association
“If you are the parent of an child on the autism spectrum,Autism Breakthroughby Raun K. Kaufman was written just for you. It describes a fantastic treatment method – The Son-Rise Program – for families dealing with the challenges of autism.In my practice of psychiatry in a teaching hospital over several decades, I have never been introduced to a set of clinical principles as powerful, elegant and effective.The outcomes are truly stunning: children make concrete and sweeping progress, often far outstripping their original prognosis, and parents overcome feelings of devastation and learn to accept, enjoy, and meaningfully help their children.With humor and caring, Kaufman answers the question "What do I need to do to create a wonderful relationship with my child?"Autism Breakthroughnot only provides the reader with clear techniques anddocuments amazing clinical outcomes, it is a testament to the impact of hope, love and acceptance in our lives!I personally see applications of the principles in all clinical endeavors.” ―Ted McCarthy, M.D., Former Chief of Psychiatry, Mercy Hospital
“With Autism Breakthrough,Raun K. Kaufman has done what few else in the field of autism treatment today would dream of doing. He has empowered parents to take charge again, given them real hope for positive change, and armed them with specific tools and techniques to make those hopes a reality for their children. Our children are not ‘stuck' with neurological problems. Autism is not hard-wired. Iknow this as fact, for my own son fully recovered from autism to become the president of his 6th grade class today (in a regular, mainstream school) thanks to my family's adoption ofthe very principles of The Son-Rise Program that Raun explains inAutism Breakthrough. As a medical professional, I know that medicine today offers little to these children other than a dismal prognosis. It doesn't have to be that way!Not only do many children completely recover using this program, but whole families change and grow and thrive.” ―Wendy Edwards, M.D., Pediatrician, B.Sc.N., F.R.C. P. (C).
“Insightful, personal, and accessible. A hopeful message and one which only a person that has looked through the eyes of an autistic child could offer. Autism Breakthrough is a must read for all parents of special children, its depth will touch you, and practical advice will empower you to join your child on their journey toward achieving their unique and limitless potential.” ―Alex Doman, Author of Healing at the Speed of Sound, Founder & CEO Advanced Brain Technologies, creators of The Listening Program
“Autism Breakthrough truly breaks through the ‘autism is a life-long condition' paradigm and shifts hopelessness to hope. As occupational therapists and international lecturers, we will be highly recommending this wonderful "user-friendly" resource with all the principles, strategies, and techniques needed to support children and adults with social-relational challenges. A must-read, not only for parents but for all teachers, therapists, and staff who support those on the autism spectrum!” ―MarySue Williams and Sherry Shellenberger, Creators of Alert Program, Authors of Alert Program books, games and trainings
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The floortime method is definitely worth pursuing and I think the Greenspan book above is the best to start with or purchase to use as a guide. This one is more a one time read. The best thing about the floortime method is that the parents can do it by themselves (since you get on the floor with your child and spend time with them, or "joining" in Kaufman jargon). It takes a lot of perseverance and fine tuning. Also interesting is that a some of the techniques you may already have been doing before learning about floortime,
Having read both books, it often seems like Kaufman has based much of his content from Greenspan. To me the Greenspan book is the Real McCoy, and this perhaps a bit of a copy/scam/advertisement for the Son-rise program. Greenspan being a qualified MD, Kaufman isnt really qualified, but went through the 'method' with his parents did his own thing for a while, then ended up running this 'clinic'...then writing this book. Personally I dont really believe Kaufman had autism either (he even talks about how people think this in his book), since the examples he comes up with as a child dont seem like a child with autism...an example coming to mind, when he thinks a toilet is going to overflow and drown him (or something) around age 4 and he manages to explain this to his parent who soothes him... what a load of rubbish I thought, there is no way an autistic child around this age can explain this to their parent
However, this book is still valuable! It is very motivating (especially the audiobook), although a bit like an 'infommercial' it does leave you feeling motivated, which any parent with an autistic child needs plenty of. Theres a lot of focus on the parent and how to parent an autistic child and quite a few examples, which you need as many as possible to try to get the hang of using this method. The are also some very good analogies and information on building trust and getting your child's attention. Also I find myself agreeing with the Author's opinion on other methods (ABA) which is a bit like programming your child like a robot, rather than making them "want" to do these things. Also the engaging autism book is a little dry, this one more fresh and invigorating and an easy read.
Another idea- check out your local library and get out as many books as you can on the subject. Save your resources for what works for you, get some kids books too while you are there.
Furthermore, based on the comments on this review, it would seem that this book may be missing critical information which you only get when you take the program. Maybe something else to be aware of.
Also, it seems worthwhile to do some critical research on the son rise such as- [...] What_is_your_experience_with_the_Son-Rise_therapy_in_treating_autism
Without having been on the program, like the book, it does seem a little like a scam to me, little research to back up the claims, some immediate 'wow!' results of initial interaction but maybe not the continuing improvement. At least not any improvement that would be gained on top of general persistence and patience and proven strategies which professionals or state type help would provide.
Author: Raun K Kaufman
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Pages: 341 (e-book)
Autism Treatment Center of America
Autism Breakthrough: Additional Content
Autism Treatment Center of America: Facebook
The Son-Rise Program: Blog
[I am required by FCC law to inform you that I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for my fair and unbiased review. I hope you feel better now.]
According to the Facts about Autism page at Autism Speaks, autism affects nearly 1 in 68 children on earth. Here are some additional stats:
Autism now affects 1 in 68 children and 1 in 42 boys
Autism prevalence figures are growing
Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the U.S.
Autism costs a family $60,000 a year on average
Boys are nearly five times more likely than girls to have autism
There is no medical detection or cure for autism
These are startling statistics and should awaken anyone who reads them to the fact that Autism is a serious medical condition that desperately needs to be addressed from the highest levels of authority to the lowest, in churches, synagogues and mosques, and in nuclear and extended families. To put a fine point on this: as someone who works with students who have an autism spectrum disorder, I welcome research, interventions, and ideas from any place I can get them.
These statistics are even more startling when the field is narrowed to the 1 in 42 boys and boys are 5 times more likely than girls to have autism. It seems as though every day there is a new statistic appearing in the news about autism. So I'm not sure, honestly, what to do with some of the information that I, as a trained professional, read on a daily basis. In the statistics above, Autism Speaks states fairly confidently that 'there is no medical detection or cure for autism.' Yet on page two of Autism Breakthrough Kaufman states unequivocally: "Children on the autism spectrum are capable of great change including recovery" (2).
So what is one to do with such disparate points of view? Is it a matter of merely splitting the hair of difference between the words 'recovery' and 'cure'? Is it merely a matter of having super-human parents who love their children into some sort of neurotypical wholeness? Is it merely a matter of having enough faith to distrust what medical science has told us, what scholars (in the sense of peer-reviewed writing) have written to us, and what most advocacy groups teach us about autism spectrum disorders and going off in direct and absolute contravention of these specialists to do our own thing--a sort of 'damn the torpedoes' kind of approach?
These are some of the thoughts that were swirling around in my head by the time I finished reading Autism Breakthrough. Another significant collection of thoughts I had was this: Suppose I am a parent whose child has just been diagnosed with an ASD. Suppose I have no idea what to do, where to go, or what steps to take? Suppose I have two sets of information in my hands. One set of information says that my child can recover, the other states it is a lifelong condition. One set of information is from the collected works of established medical science, the other set is from an outlier. One set gives me hope and so does the other. What on earth am I supposed to do?
Here, I think, is the crux of the issue with Autism Breakthrough: I think there is a huge difference between selling a set of interventions and selling a cure (or recovery). At the end of the day, I have no problem accepting that what is written in this book might very well be a set of outstanding interventions for children (or adults) on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. As I noted above: I work with students on the ASD every single day and I happily welcome any and all interventions that might help my students and/or their families. Nevertheless, I think it is somewhat irresponsible to suggest that what is contained within the book could lead to a 'recovery' or a 'cure.' I think it's even worse when said 'recovery' is set over and against accepted, evidence based practices such as applied behavior analysis. There are many, many interventions that may prove helpful to families facing an autism diagnosis and I think each family will have to explore these options and decide, along with their doctor, which interventions are appropriate for their situation.
Now, on to a couple of finer points of criticism and praise.
First, there is undoubtedly a level of enthusiasm in this book that stands in stark contrast with what one normally reads concerning autism. If points could be awarded based on enthusiasm alone, I would rate this book very highly. The last chapter of the book deals with attitude and I happen to agree that attitude is extremely important when dealing with any disability. The author of the book works very hard to make certain that people are given hope and encouragement in the face of what might otherwise be devastating news from a doctor. I tell my parents this all the time: have hope! We will work through this difficulty together.
Second, at the end of every chapter there are links to additional online resources. There are additional papers, charts, and resources that will provide extremely helpful to the family needing to track behaviors or 'stims' or other issues their child may be experiencing. Collecting data is a significant factor when determining interventions for children and I found the extra resources helpful and appropriate.
Third, there is an extensive resource list at the end of the book that I also found helpful--especially if, like me, one wants to do additional research or quantify the author's points. Additionally, there is a rather long 'academic' paper at the end if parents or professionals wish to verify the validity of the author's assertions by examining peer-reviewed research. I appreciated the resource list and the paper, but I found it disappointing that there were no footnotes or end notes contained within the book itself. Anecdotes are fine, but it seems to me that having one's work verified, having anecdotes verified, is extremely important when dealing with people's lives. (I get that it is a popular work and that bulking it up with footnotes or end notes might not be the easiest thing to do, but this is offered to us as a serious work, about a serious condition, and is purporting that certain interventions might possibly lead to a recovery. In my opinion, references to validate such assertions, even the anecdotal assertions, should be provided.)
Now for a couple of minor criticisms--aside from what I have already mentioned in the above sections.
First, as noted above, autism spectrum disorders affect boys nearly five times more than girls, yet throughout this book the author persisted in using feminine pronouns (she, her) when talking about children. It's a small thing, but it was extremely annoying for precisely that point: autism affects more boys than girls. Yes, we live in a world where we need to be sensitive to everyone's concerns, but I just wonder who the author was writing to? In this respect, it's not a small thing. If the majority of children on the AS are males, then stick with using pronouns that are appropriate to the population being addressed.
Second, throughout the book the author continually referred to autism as a 'social-relational disorder' (33: "What is incredible is not that we would use this model, but that it is still contraversial to use it with children whose main challenge is creating relationships!" 108, etc). Defining autism as merely an inability to socialize or relate seems to me a disservice to those who are actually on the autism spectrum. I could not find autism defined as a social-relational disorder anywhere except this book. I am no way denying that social-relational issues are part of the peculiarity of autism, but I am saying that it is not the defining characteristic of autism. Defining an autism spectrum disorder as merely a social-relational disorder seems to deny the other salient points that medical research has brought to our attention concerning ASD (I would gladly stand corrected if someone directs me to such a definition in a recognized medical, behavioral, psychological peer-reviewed journal.) If autism is merely a problem creating relationships then I am certain the interventions will be helpful in solving some of those difficulties, but I am skeptical that it will help with all the other issues that science, and experience, has told us are neurological and/or biological. (The Autism Speaks website notes: "ASD can be associated with intellectual disability, difficulties in motor coordination and attention and physical health issues such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. Some persons with ASD excel in visual skills, music, math and art." Clearly we are dealing with more that mere social-relational issues.)
As far as an intervention is concerned, I am sure the Son-Rise Program (the catalyst behind the writing of this book) is effective for some children and/or adults. There are a lot of positive and encouraging words and anecdotes contained in the book which makes the book not only an easy read, but also an uplifting book. Personally, I think some of the interventions are wonderfully conceived--I especially like the idea of 'joining' and plan to implement it, to the extent that I can, in my classroom. I absolutely agree with the idea that we have to persist in our efforts, believe in our children, love our children deeply, a 'nonjudgmental and welcoming attitude' (249), provide them with everything they need (including, if a doctor deems it healthy and necessary, dietary restrictions), and a generally positive and safe environment where they can grow, be themselves without fear, and develop. I also agree that how we do things matters to: "We remain married to the idea that, in the therapeutic and educational setting, the only thing that matters is what we do, rather than how we do it" (254). Amen. Attitude matters--at home and in the classroom; bank on it.
I'm sure there is more to say--positively and negatively--about the book itself. I am also sure that someone is going to say it, somewhere, and at some point. My overall impression of the book is very simply this: If you have met one person on the autism spectrum, you have done just that: you have met one person. I suppose we could say that for as many people that there are on the Spectrum there might be developed an intervention. My point is that these interventions might work very well for some, they might not work for all. As with all interventions--and I think it is unfair to disregard ABA interventions out of hand as if they have never worked--Son-Rise Program needs to be investigated by each family that wishes to consider it for use. In coordination and consultation with a licensed physician, it is important that all due diligence is done in advance before any intervention is put in place. I hope the author of Autism Breakthrough would say as much himself.
As another tool in the tool belt of interventions, I think this is a worthy volume.