The Autism Guide for Reaching Your Child

By Teri L. Hoben

I have to tell you, I've read many autism help books. Researched many websites. Nothing compares to the insight Raun Kaufman gives in this book.

I am a mother to a 5 year old boy, Lincoln. We have been on this autism journey since he was 1 1/2, although he was officially diagnosed ASD a month before he turned 4.

He has been in speech therapy since the age of 1 1/2, early childhood special education since 3.

He started occupational therapy at 4, as well as ABA. He started out with no communication other than screaming/tantruming/meltdowns. He threw things, bit, hit, kicked, you name it.

He loved lining his toys up, had poor eye contact and rarely responded to his name. Picky food choices and extremely sensitive to crowds.

We've come a long way since the beginning. He has a much broader vocabulary and is even speaking in 3-4 word sentences at times. The tantrums went from 3-4 a day to 3-4 a week.

He still is aggressive, but tries his best to control it and not hurt others. Most of this is thanks to the hard work his therapists put in. And honestly, the hard work, I, his mother have put in.

When we began ABA, I thought of it as the answer to all of our worries. Potty training, aggression, eating new food, the works.

At first, it seemed that way. They got him to curb his aggression down by prompting him to use words instead. Their primary focus was academic goals, such as cutting, writing & learning to read. ABA teaches our children how to follow directions.

I have watched it 3 days a week for 4 hours a day for the last 6 months. Lincoln, go get your coat. Lincoln, share your toy. Lincoln, write an L.

All important, but what is he learning? Not how to share a toy, or why he should share it. Because playing with others is fun.

No, he is learning how to comply. He needs help learning how to interact appropriately and meaningfully with others. He has no friends.

Whenever he is around other children, he "plays" beside them. Mostly running back & forth. When I think of what I want for Lincoln, it's simple.

To develop meaningful relationships in life. Not to grow up just doing what people say like some robot. Raun says in his book, "Autism isn't a math disorder.

It isn't a color-naming disorder. And it isn't a reading disorder. It's a social, relational, interpersonal, interactional disorder."

I had the honor of seeing Raun speak at a lecture he offered during the NAA Conference in St. Petersburg last year.

It was astounding to hear his method, see videos of the children being enriched by the Son-Rise program and to gain a new outlook on how our children should be approached.

My husband is active duty military and we also have a 3 year old and 10 month old at home. I would love to go to the Son-Rise program, but it's not something we will be able to do in the immediate future.

This book gives us an insight into the program without ever stepping foot outside our home. And it WORKS.

Before I join Lincoln, it can seem like I am on the other side of a door, just banging and banging on it, but no one is answering.

The second I join him, it's as if he opens it and says, Hi Mommy, I've been waiting for you.

Communication, spontaneous play, pure joy comes out of him. And guess what, sometimes, if I ask him to step through the door and come into my world, he does.

We've only just begun following Raun's program, and if this is the reaction I'm getting now, I know that his future looks amazing.

Do yourself a favor, read the book. Open your eyes. Your child deserves it and is waiting for the door to open.