Sunday, May 3, 2009

Twitter Sonrise Chat Log

This is the summize log from the twitter chat with Tali Berman, founder of Meir Autism Treatment Center in Israel that was held on April 28, 2009. Five copies of her book, Play to Grow! Over 200 games designed to help your special child develop fundamental social skills were given away during the twitter chat.

Welcome Tali - please tell us how you first learned of the Son-Rise program

I began with a family in 1997 and was amazed by the honoring approach and progress- child is fully integrated now

What are the 5 stages of development in The Son-Rise Program Developmental Model?

what age range do you cover in your teaching of sonrise?

do son-rise teachers work with therapists like OT and speech? is son-rise done at clinic or in home

5 stages are organized by skill level in 4 fundamental areas:eye contact, language, interactive attention span, flexibility

we work with children of all ages, including adults

can you share some of the games from the book?

Does sonrise target any specific behaviors? Can it help redirect behaviors?

yes, if child has specific need for those therapies. Typically done at home but games can be used in clinics as well

what does the Son-rise program maximum impact cover? How long was this? Do parents learn these programs too?

for sample game ideas see inside our book at our site too little space here for more details

do you see many children with sensory challenges? is this covered in training?

can you explain the flexibility aspect as one of the stages? sonrise

Does sonrise target any specific behaviors? Can it help redirect behaviors?

book is more about teaching skills through interactive play than redirecting- though Son-Rise does address this

what are the 5 stages that are organized by skill level in 4 fundamental areas

do you attend IEP meetings and offer input to the goals?

how is sonrise different than floortime?

yes- the Israeli equivalent to IEP

does sonrise encourage siblings to be involved in playing and initiating games, etc?

what does a sonrise assessment consist of and how long does the therapy last?

play time is in specified room, repetitive play is joined not redirected and the parents attitude has big focus

only if sibling wants to participate if so than yes!

Do you guys offer any ideas on how to capture initial involvement in play?

Identifying where your child's skills are in 4 areas. Developmental model can be downloaded at

do you work on life skills, self-advocacy and/or social skills with adults

any tips on dealing with a child who seeks deep pressure often, my son wants on his chin

yes- this is key.playroom, fun props, your child's specific motivations during presentation and through out the game

yes- social skills, conversations skills, social cues, reading body language, asking personal q's, etc

Thank you! Was wondering about any play to help relax

Are the 5 stages of development considered sort of like a "trade secret" or are you allowed to share them?

give to him on ongoing basis- this can be used as leverage in game to keep him interested /willing to be challenged

Just too extensive to share in a sentence- stages are explained in full detail at, download check out

Have you found that your strategies help any child populations in addition to those on the spectrum?

A great 'hot dog ' game-try rolling him like a hot dog in a thin blanket- give squeezes and roll out- kids love it

Thank you! My son is very "hugged" inclined, we use to soothe a lot.

yes- any child with social and language challenges- many of our children are not on the spectrum

does therapy last more than one year? How do you know when to terminate - when move thru the 5 stages?

If the play time is in a specified room, what do you do with a child who consistently refuses to stay in the room?

there are dangers to rolling up in blanket, suffocation, need to be very careful with that

start with 15 minutes, build to more time, once the children see the fun they go in and shut door themselves

Specified room? Can we incorporate fresh outdoor play? And does it offer help with classroom transition or trans into adolescence

yes- of course with child's head out!

do you use sign language, comm devices or picture cards to communicate with nonverbal kids doing sonrise?

yes, plus too much pressure in chest area can suffocate a child..sounds like a great program tho, will def check out

In stages 4/5 games can be done outdoors, in earlier stages in the room. Son- Rise does address transition to school

Yes, but some kids strongly desire to run/move in larger area, really want to leave room, do you force to stay at 1st?

If appropriate for child- yes, still with focus on verbal lang

we do recommend closed/ locked door (if necessary)for initial transition into the room- again, most kids love being there

how long has this program been around?

I recommend mixing it up- 15-20 minutes in room, energetic outdoor activity then room again- building to more time

That makes total sense, but doesn't it kind of go against the Son-Rise principles?

Will program work with kids with Ds who are also on the spectrum?

I mean doesn't the closed/locked door sort of go against the basic Son-Rise principles?

One of few places we go against the child- once in the room they have total control- effective environment is crucial

Is there a specific room we should use for a playroom in the house that would work to our advantage? Dont have spare room here.

Interesting! What are some of the other ways you would go against the child's wishes?

If you don;t have spare room you can use child's bedroom- just need to modify it so it can be used effectively

If child was hurting himself, others or destroying property

how do sonrise teachers address biting and hitting during therapy?

In short (obviously a bigger discussion) being preventative, give alternative (chew toy to bite), praise when gentle

also offering deep pressure squeezes (if child lets) on head and rest of body- could be a way to release pressure

Does "being preventive" include changing gears when see behaviors coming, could communicate power through aggression?

changing gears just before the aggression, also tracking if there is link to foods, time of day, over stimulation, sleep

Thank you Bonnie for this chat. You are a force of nature! I hope all you winners out there get a lot from the book

So if change gears right before aggression, might still be pre-aggression behaviors, but you honor as communication?

Looking forward to new ideas and less frustration, thank u again

Thank you for sharing your time and talents!

You can check out @playtogrow book on #sonrise program at:


Trish @ Another Piece of the Puzzle said...

A friend of mine used SonRise with her son and has been really happy with his progress. Thanks for sharing!

K said...

that was very interesting
thanks for sharing
I loved the book

Chun Wong said...

Thanks for taking the time to share that summary, very interesting.

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