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About Us

The Founders

The Kaufmans are the authors of 12 books on The Option Process® and The Son-Rise Program® including Happiness Is A Choice, Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues, To Love Is To Be Happy With and PowerDialogues℠. There are over three million copies of their books in print, available in 22 languages and in over 65 countries.

Bears and Samahria started teaching The Option Process in 1972 and 11 years later established The Option Institute, which has grown to a 100-acre campus with a full-time staff of over 80 dedicated individuals, offering programs to thousands of adults and more than 20,000 families of children with special needs.

They are also the originators of The Son-Rise Program, created when their own son, Raun, was diagnosed as severely and incurably autistic. The Kaufmans’ groundbreaking program transformed Raun from a mute, withdrawn child with an I.Q. of less than 30, into a highly verbal, socially interactive boy with a near-genius I.Q. Bearing no traces of his former condition, Raun graduated from an Ivy League university and went on to become the director of an educational center for school-aged children. Now, as the Director of Global Education for The Option Institute, he teaches on campus in addition to lecturing at universities, conferences and symposia worldwide. Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues, the story of the Kaufmans' work with their son, became a best-selling book and award-winning NBC-TV movie, which has been viewed by 300 million people worldwide

In the last seven years, individuals from over 80 countries on six continents have attended programs at The Option Institute.

The Option Institute and the Kaufmans have been featured in over 2,000 articles and programs published or broadcast in major media. Among them are The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los-Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Reader's Digest, Good Morning America and in interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Phil Donahue and others.

The Kaufmans' books and works have been endorsed by such well-respected figures as President Jimmy Carter, Coretta Scott King, Dr. Carl Rogers, Deepak Chopra, Bernie Siegal, Norman Cousins, Lou Holtz, John Bradshaw, Bill Cosby, Harold S. Kushner, Dr. Carl Simonton, Joanne Woodward, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Paul Winter.

About The Option Institute:



The Option Institute provides experiential personal growth retreats which teach individuals how to effectively change their beliefs so they can choose to change their lives ...and profoundly enhance their choice to be happy and empowered in relationships, career, health and family dynamics.

Company Overview

More than just a temporary solution, The Option Institute uses The Option Process® to provide practical tools and strategies to help people master current and future challenges. Our programs are engaging, interactive and dynamic. Our pastoral 100-acre campus provides a perfect setting for living, learning and personal growth.


Foundational Principles of The Option Process
1) Happiness Is A Choice
2) You have your own answers
3) We do not teach “the truth.” We do not teach “the right way to live.” We do teach practical tools, principles, strategies and perspectives for overcoming life’s challenges and sustaining personal happiness. 
4) Everything we feel, say and do has a chosen belief that fuels it and is something we can change
5) Being non-judgmental is powerful, not passive
6) Self-criticism and self-doubt may be "normal" (as in "usual") but they aren't "natural" (as in "a necessary part of the human condition") 
7) We aren't the victims that we're taught to be
8) Authenticity, not people pleasing, builds close relationships and safety
9) Changing the way you see things changes everything

General Information

The Option Institute is a nonprofit, federally tax exempt, charitable organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service Code.

About the Autism Treatment Center of America™:

The Son-Rise Program ® was awarded “Best Autism Therapy” by AutismOne National Conference. http://www.autismtreatmentcenter.org/


The mission of The Son-Rise Program of the Autism Treatment Center of America is to help parents and families from around the globe help their children of all ages, in all areas of social development by:

• Providing innovative training programs to parents and professionals caring for children challenged by Autism and related developmental difficulties by implementing The Son-Rise Program, a highly effective, child-centered treatment.
• Training and certifying individuals to become Son-Rise Program Child Facilitators and Teachers.

Company Overview

The Autism Treatment Center of America is the worldwide teaching center for The Son- Rise Program, a unique, powerful and effective treatment for children and adults challenged by Autism, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Asperger’s Syndrome, and related developmental challenges.

Over the last 30 years we have worked with more than 25,000 parents and professionals from over 85 countries, teaching them a system of treatment and education, changing the way children with Autism are helped worldwide.

What makes The Son-Rise Program Unique and Effective?
• Allows your child to show you the best way to reach them
• Acknowledges YOU, the parent, as your child’s best resource
• Helps you cultivate and maintain a non-judgmental and optimistic attitude of love, respect & acceptance
• Teaches you how to join your child in their world – rather than forcing them to conform to a world they don’t understand
• Ignites your child’s own motivation to join you in your world
• Keeps HOPE alive! -- No such thing as false hope

Instead of forcing a child to conform to a world they do not yet understand, The Son-Rise Program seeks to engage the child in their world first, striving to understand what will be most effective to the individual child's growth. Through enthusiastic and playful interactions, the children invite us into their world, and then we guide them into ours.


The Son-Rise Program Principles:

• Each child’s/adult’s potential is limitless. 
• Autism is not a behavioral disorder; it is a relational, interactional disorder. 
• Motivation, not repetition, holds the key to all learning. 
• "Stimming," repetitive behaviors, have important meaning and value to the child. 
• The parent is the child's best resource. 
• Every child/adult can progress in the right environment. There is no such thing as false hope.

"The search for peace in the world must start within the human heart and within our own families. Barry Neil Kaufman understands that. By personal example and through his writing and counseling, he gives a compelling vision for the building of inner and outer peace." -- President Jimmy Carter, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

If there were a Nobel Prize for love, I'd want the Kaufmans to be the first to receive one. -- Dr. Wayne Dyer, Author, Change Your Thoughts — Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao

Barry Neil Kaufman champions making the choice to believe in ourselves, to be hopeful and seize the power of loving ourselves and others. -- Lou Holtz, Head Football Coach, University of Notre Dame

Inspiring, groundbreaking and visionary. Barry Neil Kaufman's work is the science of love, compassion and insight which will transform the world. -- Deepak Chopra M.D., Author, Quantum Healing

I have long admired the work of Barry Neil Kaufman. He reveals the options and choices we can all make to find the road to happiness. Simple and effective for all. -- Bernie Siegel M.D., Author, Love, Medicine, and Miracles

Barry Neil Kaufman's work affirms the unlimited potential of the human spirit and offers hope to those who have been challenged by adversity. --Coretta Scott King, Founder, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change