Autism Hope Alliance Lectures, Interviews and Educational Events
- Event: Autism Hope Summit – 2016
- Media: Audio Interview
- Host: Kristin S Gonzalez
- Guest: Raun K. Kaufman
- Theme: Breakthrough Strategies To Help Our Children Overcome Their Biggest Challenges and Generally Connect With Others.
- YouTube: https://youtu.be/NYpplvRaTdA
Kristin: I’d like to welcome Ron K. Kaufman, Director of Global Education for the Autism Treatment Center of America and author of Autism Breakthrough. Today’s title of our discussion is Truly Social: Breakthrough Strategies to Help Our Children Overcome Their Biggest Challenges and Genuinely Connect With Others.
Welcome, Ron. Thanks for being here.
Ron: Thanks for having me, Kristin.
Kristin: Well, you have a remarkable history. Can you tell us about it?
Ron: Sure. So, when I was a little kid I was actually diagnosed with severe autism. I had no language, no communication whatsoever. I was very much in my own world. I would spend hours and hours doing repetitive behaviors, what many people call stims. I would rock back and forth; I’d flap my hands in front of my face. And my parents were told that not only was this a severe case of autism but that this was a lifelong, permanent condition and this is how I was going to spend the rest of my life. I had a tested IQ of less than 30.
My parents did something really amazing in the face of that, which is they really turned their backs on these dark predictions and prognoses and they developed their own homebased, very much childcentered program, where they worked with me for a little over 3 years. And they called it the SonRise Program, but they spelled it “SON” because I was their son. And they worked with me for a little over three years, like I said, and at the end of that period I went on to recover without any trace of my former condition. I’m very careful about using the word “recovery.” I don’t just throw it around, but in my case I actually just basically mean I grew up into someone that had no traces not only in my behaviors but actually in my thinking and my relating to people, etc.
And I ultimately went on to graduate from the Ivy League’s Brown University with a degree in biomedical ethics, and now it’s really wonderful because with the Autism Treatment Center of America, which is a nonprofit organization designed to really help families and parents and professionals learn the SonRise Program that helped me, I kind of get to walk with all these other 80 staff people to help parents in the same way that my parents helped me.