Autism Breakthrough: a Book Review

I was given the book Autism Breakthrough for free in exchange for writing an honest review post.  All opinions are strictly mine and I would never recommend material that I do not love.

Today’s post is a real treat.  I was fortunate enough to review the book Autism Breakthrough; the Groundbreaking Method that has Helped Famlies all over the World by Raun K. Kaufman which outlines a therapy called The Son-Rise Program®.

Autism Breakthrough via My Life as a Rinnagade

It’s one of those really heavy reads; I’ve got dog-ears and notes on multiple pages from every chapter. It was the kind of book you finish reading and want to open right back up and start over again.

So I did.

I will tell you this upfront; this book is not like any other autism book you’ve ever read.  The closest I know of is What You Can Do Right Now to Help Your Child with Autism by Jonathan Levy who worked at the Autism Treatment Center doing the Son-Rise Program® years ago.

The reason this book is so unique is because the program is so unique.  If you are not familiar with this autism therapy, you are in for a nice surprise.  I’ll delve into that more in just a minute.

The book is beautifully written. Kaufman’s conversational tone makes you feel like you’re sitting across the room from him, enjoying a cup of coffee together.  He gets it.  I mean, he really gets it.  If you’ve ever felt deflated or dejected after reading an autism book, let me assure you, this one will not leave you feeling that way.

As I mentioned, though, it’s a heavy read – all meat, no potatoes.  This is not an autism book that makes you feel warm and fuzzy and encouraged but leaves you without much application, quite the opposite.  Each chapter is chock full of well-organized information, wonderful examples, and relevant stories. The chapters introduce a principle or technique and end with three very applicable steps:

  • Activity Time! – a practical call to action (have a pencil ready)
  • Online resources – exclusive videos to assist you with the principle learned in that chapter
  • Starting Point – an extremely practical segment that you can literally set the book down to go apply right then. Yes, you’re going to work hard.  But the work will be full of desire and fun and oh so rewarding.

If you love someone with autism, you need to read this book.  Bottom line.

To be fair, I will say that I have one criticism of this book – that it wasn’t written five years ago.  I would have loved to start our autism journey with a copy of Autism Breakthrough in my hands.

Want some more candidness? This is not the first time I’ve heard of The Son-Rise Program®.

Three years ago, Lee and I heard about an autism program that was unlike any other. It wasn’t a new fad though; it had been around since the early 1980s and children from all over the world were getting remarkable results. At the core of the program was acceptance and love and at the end of the program – are you ready for this – was a chance of recovery.  Yup, I said it.  Full recovery.  And even if the children didn’t recover, they had tremendous growth. Here was the catch; the only way to have access to this training was to fly out to Massachusetts for a fabulously intensive week long parent training.

Let me be really clear here; considering a trip like that back then would have been like asking us to fly to Mars.  Yes they offered scholarships (they still do!), but even with assistance, we simply could not afford it.

So we set our sights on other therapy options and have made some great progress, mostly through biomedical and sensory integration therapy.

Then a few months ago, I caught wind of a new autism book…

Autism Breakthrough was our flight to Mars.

This book breaks down the entire program and it teaches you how to start in your home TODAY.   Does it replace the week-long parent training?  Certainly not; we still hope to attend one day soon I went to Start-Up in October 2015 and it was life changing! Until then, Even after going, we’ll be reading and re-reading this book quite a bit.

About the Program

If I had to describe the Son-Rise Program® in one word it’d be HOPE.  It encourages you to open every closed door you have concerning your child and dream…”why not?”

The program operates off the premise that autism is not, in fact, a behavior disorder, rather it is a social-relational disorder. Our kids on the spectrum vary so much with their challenges and strengths but the connection among all people with autism is their struggle with social and relational skills.  This was the first light bulb for me.

Two of the other key components to the program that make it unique are joining and motivation.

Here’s where things get really crazy (in a great way!)

Those stimming behaviors your child does?  Don’t work to extinguish; join instead and they’ll end up doing them less. (Second light bulb for me).

The classic reward principle most teachers and parents operate off of (first do this terrible thing and then I’ll give you this great reward)? Throw it out the window and work instead with your child’s natural motivation to get them to LOVE doing the terrible thing and think it’s wonderful.

Forget the light bulbs…

Mind. Blown.

Then you add the fact that this program is complimentary to biomedical therapy and connects with our values of reaching to the heart of the matter and seeing our children as amazing individuals…it fits beautifully and is what we feel will be our “final piece” to the autism puzzle.

A lot of things recommended in this book are going to be completely opposite of what you’re used to seeing in autism books as well as what you’re used to hearing from therapists and other professionals.  Rest assured, this is a good thing.

Now I’m fighting the urge to just plagerize the whole book because it’s so good so I’ll just give you some examples of how we’ve seen this program work after only doing it – loosely – for about two months.

  • Less stimming
  • More eye contact and communication
  • Way fewer aggressive behaviors
  • Less whining
  • Fewer meltdowns
  • Better self-regulation
  • Closer relationships

Ready for Some Action?

The hardcover of this book retails for only $25.99 and it will change your child’s life.

We’ve done a LOT of autism therapy and I promise, this is  the lowest price I’ve seen.

Still too steep for you?

Well, good news.  The paperback just released today for $15.99.  You can get it new on Amazon for $12.83.

You’re a Kindle person, you say?  Even better. You can get it here for only $12.99 and start reading instantly.

All the links you need:

Be sure to check out The Autism Treatment Center of America’s website (home of the Son-Rise Program®) for tons of information including FREE webinars and videos.

Meet the co-Founders and get an introduction to the program

How to Get Started 

Calendar of this year’s training courses

Supportive Research for those of you who want to be sure it’s evidence-based (I know you are out there!)

How the Son-Rise Program® differs from ABA Therapy

See if what you’re doing already is a complimentary therapy to the Son-Rise Program®

Other Q & A’s you might want to read

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result.  If you’re not where you want to be on your autism journey with your child, why not take a look at something new?

Have you ever heard of Autism Breakthrough or the Son-Rise Program®?

This post contains affiliate links.  See my full disclaimer in the footer.


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  6. Shelah | 6th May 15

    I was originally trained in the Son Rise program back in 1990 but I do not exclusively do Son Rise. I add in elements from many therapy programs in my work. Have you seen the book How to be Human by Florida Frenz (aka Georgia Lyon)? I think that you would like it very much. Feel free to email us if you would like a copy.

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  8. Cindy | 2nd Apr 15

    So glad to hear! I look forward to your questions :).

  9. Jenn | 1st Apr 15

    I actually purchased it right after this! So hopefully amazon prime will get it here quickly. 🙂
    Thank you! Don’t be surprised when I take you up on that to pick your brain. 🙂
    Hubby and I are both wondering if we are ASD as well, and we’ve long thought hubby has ADHD and that I have ADD.
    We are a gluten free family, but I know we need to continue and go “all the way” with our diets.
    Thank you again!

  10. Cindy | 1st Apr 15

    Jenn, I totally agree! I love that our God is sovereign! I am so glad you were able to get diagnoses. I know what it feels like to need that validation to know that it’s not all in your head. Our third son also has ADHD (so does my husband) so I feel like our households probably look/sound/feel pretty similar! You said you haven’t known where to turn and I am telling you, if I had the last five years back, the very first thing I would do is buy this book. The next step (which is recommended by the Son-Rise Program, as well) is to address biomedical issues (brain/gut/immune system through diet and supplements – we see a doctor for this). I would love to be of whatever help I can to you. Feel free to email or facebook me with any questions. Praying for your family as you start your journey.

  11. Cindy | 1st Apr 15

    Shelah, thank you so much for chiming in! I have not read anything else by the Kaufman’s, though I need to! How long have you been doing the Son-Rise Program?

  12. Shelah | 1st Apr 15

    Raun Kaufman is amazing and so are his parents. I have read all of their books and use the tools provided in the Son Rise Program.

  13. Jenn | 1st Apr 15

    WOW, Cindy. I do not believe in coincidence. I believe that God leads us places with a purpose in mind. You accidentally posted this link on my round-up for Etsy sites. Over the past 3 weeks, I have had 3 of my 4 boys diagnoses with ASD (the 4th diagnosed with ADHD). It is the mild side, so for years, no one believed me that things were not completely “normal” with my guys. I finally have some validation, and have plans, but I’m much more overwhelmed than I thought I would be. I haven’t known where to turn and what exactly I should be doing. This is just what I need!
    Thanks for the great review and for sharing it with us.
    I will let you know how it goes!!

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