The Effectiveness of Son-Rise Program on Improving Social Interactions and Communication Status among the Children with Autism

Document Type : Original Articles


1 MSc Student, Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 PhD in Occupational Therapy, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

3 Department of Biostatistics, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran

4 Professor, Department of Biostatistics, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran



Introduction: Autism affects the person's ability to communicate with others, and appropriate response to the outside environment. One of the therapeutic approaches in children with autism is the Son-Rise Program. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Son-Rise Program on improving social interactions and communication status among the children with autism.Materials and Methods: This was a quasi-experimental study with pretest and posttest design, and a control group. 30 children with autism were selected using convenience sampling method, and were assigned randomly to equal groups of experimental (with intensive Son-Rise Program) and control (with common rehabilitation interventions). The Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (GARS2) and the Vineland Social Maturity Scale (VSMS) were used as pretest for assessment, and Gilliam Autism Rating Scale was use for re-evaluation. Paired and independent t tests were used for statistical analysis.Results: The Son-Rise Program had a significant effect on the social interaction of children with autism compared with common rehabilitation interventions (P = 0.001). In addition, the effect of this approach on communication status in children with autism was not significant compared to the control group (P = 0.110).Conclusion: It can be concluded that Son-Rise Program could improve social interaction in children with autism. However, the influence of this program on communication status among this group of children needs to be assessed more in future interventional clinical trial studies with larger sample sizes.


  1. Schroeder JH, Desrocher M, Bebko JM, Cappadocia MC. The neurobiology of autism: Theoretical applications. Res Autism Spectr Disord 2010; 4(4): 555-64.
  2. Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network Surveillance Year 2006 Principal Investigators, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).Prevalence of autism spectrum disorders - Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, United States, 2006. MMWR Surveill Summ 2009; 58(10): 1-20.
  3. Williams K. The Son-Rise Program intervention for autism: an investigation into prerequisites for evaluation and family experiences. Edinburgh, Scotland: The University of Edinburgh; 2001.
  4. Williams WS, Keonig K, Scahill L. Social skills development in children with autism spectrum disorders: a review of the intervention research. J Autism Dev Disord 2007; 37(10): 1858-68.
  5. Estes A, Rivera V, Bryan M, Cali P, Dawson G. Discrepancies between academic achievement and intellectual ability in higher-functioning school-aged children with autism spectrum disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 2011; 41(8): 1044-52.
  6. Case-Smith J, O'Brien JC. Occupational therapy for children. Amsterdam, Netherlands" Elsevier Health Sciences; 2013.
  7. Shiri V, Hosseini S A, Pishyareh E, Nejati V, Biglarian A. Study the relationship of executive functions with behavioral symptoms in children with high-functioning autism. J Rehab 2015; 16 (3): 208-17. [In Persian]
  8. Parr J. Autism. BMJ Clin Evid 2010; 2010.
  9. Naeeimi Darrehmoradi M, Hosseini SA, Biglarian A, Amiri N, Pishyareh E. Effectiveness of audiovisual stimulation on executive function in children with high-functioning autism . Iran Rehabil J 2013; 11(Special): 34-9. [In Persian].
  10. Houghton K, Schuchard J, Lewis C, Thompson CK. Promoting child-initiated social-communication in children with autism: Son-Rise Program intervention effects. J Commun Disord 2013; 46(5-6): 495-506.
  11. Davis S. The Son-Rise Program: A case study of a family living with autism. [MA Thesis]. Bronxville, NY: Sarah Lawrence College; 2006.
  12. Thompson CK, Jenkins T. Training parents to promote communication and social behavior in children with autism: The Son-Rise Program. Commun Disord Deaf Stud Hearing Aids 2016; 4: 147.
  13. Koegel RL, Dyer K, Bell LK. The influence of child-preferred activities on autistic children's social behavior. J Appl Behav Anal 1987; 20(3): 243-52.
  14. Norris JA, Hoffman PR. Comparison of adult-initiated vs. child-initiated interaction styles with handicapped prelanguage children. Lang Speech Hear Serv Sch 1990; 21(1): 28-36.
  15. Morvarid A, Chnavi Z. My child up (Summary of the Sone-Rise method for teaching children with autism). Tehran, Iran: Mes Publications; 2016. [In Persian].
  16. William H, Barry Neil K. The Son-Rise program developmental model. Sheffield, MA: Autism Treatment Center of America; 2007.
  17. Samadi SA, McConkey R. The utility of the Gilliam autism rating scale for identifying Iranian children with autism. Disabil Rehabil 2014; 36(6): 452-6.
  18. Homayounnia M, Fazel-Kalkhoran K, Mohammadzadeh MR. The impact of primary school games on the social development of educable mentally retarded children. Iran J Health Educ Health Promot 2015; 3(3): 266-76. [In Persian].
  19. Dawson G, Adams A. Imitation and social responsiveness in autistic children. J Abnorm Child Psychol 1984; 12(2): 209-25.
  20. Dawson G, Galpert L. Mothers' use of imitative play for facilitating social responsiveness and toy play in young autistic children. Dev Psychopathol 1990; 2(2): 151-62.
  21. Ingersoll B, Lalonde K. The impact of object and gesture imitation training on language use in children with autism spectrum disorder. J Speech Lang Hear Res 2010; 53(4): 1040-51.
  22. Ingersoll B. Teaching imitation to children with autism: A focus on social reciprocity. J Speech Lang Pathol Appl Behav Anal 2007; 2(3): 269-77.
  23. Levy J. Teaching critical social skills: Utilizing attitude, environment, joining and motivation in the Son-Rise Program. Proceedings of the Autism 99 Online Conference; 1999.