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Raun K. Kaufman
|Parent(s)||Barry Neil Kaufman|
Samahria Lyte Kaufman
Raun K. Kaufman (born in 1973) is an American lecturer, author and former CEO of the Autism Treatment Center of America in Sheffield, Massachusetts, where the autism Intervention therapy Son-Rise is taught and practiced.
Kaufman, at the age of two, was diagnosed as severely autistic with an under 30 IQ, though questions have been raised whether Raun Kaufman was actually autistic before being treated. Although his parents, Barry Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman, were told that their son's condition was incurable and lifelong, they created a home-based program to reach Raun. Subsequently, Raun is claimed to have "recovered" as a neurotypical person.
Kaufman's autism lectures in the U.S. and Europe continue to be controversial because of his stated "recovery".
Many of the techniques used in the Son Rise programme, which include "joining" in with the child in their world have actually been shown to be helpful in gaining social cues from the child. A technique often used in other programmes such as the More Than Words autism programme.
There has been a significant amount of success stories from the Son Rise program. As of 2017, the program has helped thousands of children in over 120 countries.
Kaufman is the author of the book Autism Breakthrough, published on April 1, 2014, and co-host of the radio show Raun & Kristin: Bringing Hope Into Your Home.
When Raun was four weeks old, he had an ear infection which was treated with antibiotics. The antibiotics caused severe dehydration and a several-day hospital stay; doctors even feared Raun would suffer permanent hearing loss. After a while Raun started displaying autistic symptoms and he was later diagnosed as severely autistic. Although the Kaufmans were advised to institutionalize their child because of his "hopeless, lifelong condition", they began a program of their own, based upon the idea that their child was engaged in these behaviors for a reason that made sense only to him.
His parents tried to communicate with Raun not by overt attempts to force neurotypical behavior, but by imitating his endless rocking, plate spinning and other rituals, while gently introducing eye contact, speech and song for him to engage with if he would, until Raun, on his own, made direct eye contact with his mother during the treatment. According to the Kaufmans, during an intensive program, Raun's autistic behaviors vanished and he became a highly verbal, socially interactive child with a near-genius IQ. By his parents' and his own accounts, he now leads a normal life.
Education and career
Kaufman graduated from Brown University with a degree in Biomedical Ethics and served as the director of a children's learning center. Kaufman's career has included stints with SCORE! Educational Centers, a tutoring program in the United States. He is the former CEO and current Director of Global Education at the Autism Treatment Center of America (ATCA). In 1983, the Kaufmans founded the Autism Treatment Center of America to offer other parents the opportunity to learn how to create a play-based home program for autism spectrum children.
Book and film
In 1976, Barry Kaufman published Son-Rise, a book about his son Raun's "triumph over autism", which he revised and added further material to in 1995 in Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues. An NBC TV Movie Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love based on the book was broadcast in 1979. The Son-Rise Program has been widely covered in the press; for example, the 1997 BBC documentary I Want My Little Boy Back followed the family of a five-year-old autistic boy treated by the program.
- "Son-Rise Program Professional Network – Raun K. Kaufman". Autismtreatmentcenter.org. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
- Herbert JD, Sharp IR, Gaudiano BA (2002). "Separating fact from fiction in the etiology and treatment of autism: a scientific review of the evidence". Sci Rev Ment Health Pract. 1 (1): 23–43.
- "Is it possible to recover from autism?". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved 2017-10-31.
- Kaufman BN (1995). Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues. HJ Kramer. ISBN 0-915811-61-8.
- "History of the Son-Rise Program". Autism Treatment Center of America. Retrieved 2008-05-18.
- Kaufman BN (1976). Son-Rise. Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-012276-5.
- "I Just Want My Little Boy Back". 1997. Retrieved 2008-05-22.