In medicine, claiming the ability to perform “miracles” can understandably raise some hackles. Generally, medical professionals prefer to leave the supposed miracle-working to the likes of Dr. Oz and stick with empirically supported interventions, thank you very much. But “miracles” is exactly the word Kent, UK parents Mark and Annie Montague use to describe what they have experienced while attempting to socialize their severely autistic twin sons, Samuel and Jacob. A recent BBC feature documented how the family has found an apparent solution to their intense struggles with the twins’ non-responsive and often destructive behavior—including running away from home multiple times—in a form of social skills intervention called the Son-Rise program. Since they began participating in the immersive program—Mark and Annie went so far as to construct isolated indoor environments in which the boys could undergo their therapy—Samuel and Jacob have begun making eye contact, communicating effectively, and being less destructive.
With autism rates on the rise and in the news, the Montagues’ case may seem like a sign of hope for other families going through similar trials. However, before we begin proclaiming that a miracle cure has been found—or even that autism requires a cure in the first place—we should first examine the Son-Rise program with a healthy dose of scientific skepticism. Continue reading “Is the Son-Rise Program a “Miracle”?”