An Autistic Child, Finding Love and Acceptance

Dear Kaufman family and staff at The Option institute,

My name is Kristina and I live in Sweden. I just want to write to you and say THANK YOU for giving me support at this very moment.

This is my story: about 14 years ago I was a student and had a small party in my dorm. A friend of mine brought an American guy to this party, his name was Raun. I thought he was really nice and special. He had his own style with long, curly hair and a big earring and I found it interesting to speak to him. Later that evening we went to a club downtown in Stockholm and I talked quite a lot to Raun. He told me he had once been autistic. He said that when he was a small boy his mother couldn’t get in touch with him but was extremely patient. She would sit beside him and swing for hours and not pressure him, he continued. Later they had made a movie about his life, he told me. He said it was strange to see himself in a film. I listened carefully to this young man’s story. I also remembered that he said that after he had been cured, his mother and father had opened up a school for other autistic children.

Soon after this meeting I told a friend about Raun and she had seen the movie about him in High school in a psychology class. We both found it fascinating that I had met him.

Many years later, in 1999, I gave birth to a wonderful son. I soon noticed that he was very special but I felt positive that he would turn out OK and that many of his difficulties would disappear with the right training and patience. I dreaded having to make an investigation and “label” him and in that way take away many future hopes and dreams. I and my husband still have this attitude and we are grateful every day that he climbs mountains that were impossible the day before. However, school has now signalled that they would like an investigation and they have asked us what we have planned for him in the future. The way they have spoken to us, is that we are naive thinking that he can develop and live a good life. It seems like they do not see, or choose to see, the progress he makes all the time.

When I felt sad about school’s attitude, I remembered the young American I had spoken to one evening about 14 years ago. I remembered him telling me that he had had autism but was cured. That gave me a lot of hope. I spent hours on the internet trying to find facts about him and the movie he had told me about. I didn’t quite remember his name and searched on Google for Ron and other similar names for hours and hours. Then suddenly I found him: Raun Kaufman was his name. I shivered. That movie must be for sale on the Internet somewhere.

I didn’t find the movie but I found the books Son-Rise:The Miracle Continues and Happiness Is A Choice by Raun’s father.

And that’s why I am writing this long letter to you. I have read those two books and they have given me hope, and more important strength, to continue to believe in my son and to continue to let myself be happy with his progress instead of letting pessimistic people trying to convince me to be realistic and trying to let me understand he has a life-long and terrible handicap.

So once again, thank you Barry Kaufman for writing such inspiring books, thank you Raun for having spent a few hours talking to me when you were an exchange student, and thank you every one at The Option Institute. You really do make a change and give people in my situation hope and strength!

A big hug to all of you!

Kristina Axelsson, Mother, Sweden

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Dear Donor,

Jeannie Reid was searching for answers to the challenges she and her family were facing. Jeannie and her husband Stuart’s son, Carson, had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the Autism spectrum. For Carson that meant being completely involved in obsessive behaviors and only using minimal words to identify objects, as well as frequently and completely melting down.

Soon after, Jeannie found the book, “Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues” and when she read it, she KNEW she had found what she was looking for. She began using some of the Son-Rise techniques described in the book on her own until she was able to come to The Autism Treatment Center of America for the Son-Rise Program Start-Up. As she put into practice what she learned there, Carson’s world was opening up. Today Carson is attending a Montessori school as a 'typical' student and functioning at or above typical grade level, being fully verbal and conversational, and very interested in learning about the world and interacting as much as possible with other people. He is even taking swim lessons at the local YMCA and doing great!

“It has been wonderful to get, and stay connected with other people and Son-Rise parents from all over the world. My son’s progress had already come very far, but now I truly believe we can go all the way!”

Jeannie wrote.

Stuart Reid then attended the Empower Yourself course and brought home a new sense of clarity, balance and personal power. He shared his new empowerment with Jeannie and she in turn gained in confidence, strength and enthusiasm. Their own relationship began to flourish anew, as well. Life-altering changes were happening for Jeannie and her family.

Jeannie journeyed again to Sheffield, this time for the Fearless course at The Option Institute to help her recognize and overcome her personal obstacles. Jeannie wanted to continue her amazing journey as she had found using the techniques she learned in The Son-Rise Program and in Fearless had absolutely changed the lives of everyone in her family.

But, because the Reids’ finances had been seriously stretched by then, their next steps were put on hold. Then an amazing event changed everything. Jeannie’s college roommate and lifelong friend decided to start a Son-Rise Program scholarship fund for people from the Cleveland area. Since then Jeannie has been able to move ahead with her courses, taking Radical Authenticity, Son-Rise Maximum Impact and Son-Rise Wide Awake ... and eventually she became a Certified Group Facilitator.

Jeannie Reid’s story is about wanting BIG and making it happen. She is about to embark on her renewed private practice as an art therapist, and plans to be a super advocate for The Son-Rise Program in her area. Her wonderful new life is a product of her persistence and belief, and of the wheels she helped set in motion for others when her friends learned of how she and her family had been impacted by The Son-Rise Program.

“I know I will be able to give back by helping others, and that will be the top of my personal mountain! Thank you to everyone who donates! You are making a big difference in the world!

Jeannie Reid

 

Dear Donor

Two years ago, Antonio's kindergarten teacher told us something was not quite right with our little boy. He was not socializing, he somersaulted all the time and hardly spoke at all. At the time I was working for a municipality close to Florence, Italy and basically I had nothing left after seeing to basic necessities.

In the meantime, I looked up Autism with Google and as I was also looking for happiness and personal growth, I was guided to The Option Institute, thence the Autism Treatment Center of America. I read up as much as I could and started trying to apply the “Happiness is a Choice” suggestions. I'm not quite good at it but it has helped me with attitude, and everything else that seemed trying is really different after all this.

When I decided to come for The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, I really had little or no money to pay for it. I spoke to my friends, old and new. My mother helped me, friends I thought couldn't [help] tried their very best and the scholarship did the rest.

What the scholarship did was give a HUGE boost to my fundraising. About six friends contributed the rest, at the travel agency a very kind lady who I may now call a friend helped me some more. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Here I am, happy to have attended the Start-Up program and looking forward to learning more and praying to God for guidance.

So the gist of the matter is, I am a happy mum who hopes to implement a wonderful relationship with her child and is riding a not so easy moment with lots of hope in her heart and THANK YOU is not enough for what I feel. I still remember William's words, “If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got.” Now I'm trying to do different, bit by bit, day by day. I feel the difference already.

About Antonio ... we are going on with the Italian program and I play with Antonio after school in a quiet room in the house. Knowing what the little guy is exposed to (he's always putting his fingers in his ears and he seems to have problems with too much light in his eyes), I find him very brave as he bears it tolerably. Drums a lot to digest it all.

When we went to the doctor, just weeks after starting the program at home, she told me that she found him more attentive. His attention span has increased. He is also tagging or pulling at one's arm when looking for attention. The child psychologist last Saturday reported the same thing and what's more, my son has always required that I enter the room, hence assisting in every session. Well, this time he went in along with the doctor and told me, “See you later.”

At school, his teacher who speaks English as well, read up and watched my DVD (Kyle’s Journey, Jade and “I want my little boy back”). Now she's changing, bit by bit and I do appreciate that very much. He seems to be OK with her and actually sent me away from class this morning, again telling me, “See you later.”

He is now ONE HUGE GREENLIGHT and I'm hoping to be able to really have volunteers (still looking), raise funds and settle down to business.

God bless,

Jackline

 

Dear Donor,

I am the mother of three children, all on the Autism Spectrum. Before I heard of the Son-Rise Program and the Option Institute, I was a desperate, angry and depressed person…. I was on Anti-depressants, sleeping multiple hours of the day, and for a period of time, using alcohol to run away from my pain.

Then I heard of the Son-Rise Program. I called to find out more about it and thought “this if for me!” But I could not afford it. You see raising one child with Autism is very expensive but raising three is just outrageously expensive with all the therapies and dietary interventions that we were doing.

But I was offered a full scholarship to the SRSU program. I have since attended all of the Son-Rise Programs and many of the Personal Growth programs offered by the Option Institute.  Each time I have been given a scholarship and each time I go I learn more about who I am and I change for the better each and every time.  Because of your most generous support, my children are recovering from Autism, I have found happiness in my life!  I am no longer on anti-depressants and I have so much more energy.

YOU are the reason that my family is in recovery. It is because of YOU that my oldest son now is enjoying school.  YOU are the reason my second son is speaking. YOU are the reason my daughter is no longer as rigid and controlling as she once was.  Thank you does not even begin to cover how much gratitude I have for you.  I thank God every day for you and I do not even know you.

Please know that you are changing lives with your donation to ATCA and the OI.  It is because of you that every day people are getting the help that they need. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

With so much love,

Kerry Rihtar