August 17, 2015

At a Glance

The Option Institute® is a nonprofit educational organization founded in 1983 by Barry (Bears) Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman, who continue to actively teach in Institute programs.

The Option Institute® Campus

Barry (‘Bears’) Neil Kaufman is the best-selling author of 12 books on The Option Process® and The Son-Rise Program®, including Happiness Is A ChoiceSon-Rise: The Miracle ContinuesTo Love Is To Be Happy With and PowerDialoguesSM. There are over 3 million copies of his books in print, in 22 languages, in over 65 countries.

Bears and, his wife, Samahria Lyte Kaufman started teaching The Option Process® in 1972 and 11 years later established The Option Institute International Learning and Training Center® (a nonprofit educational organization in Sheffield, MA), 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. As Co-Founders and Co-Presidents, Bears and Samahria continue to actively teach in Institute programs.

Bears & Samahria
(Barry Neil Kaufman & Samahria Lyte Kaufman)

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 The Kaufmans’ groundbreaking program transformed Raun from a mute, withdrawn child with an I.Q. of less than 30, into a highly verbal, socially interactive boy with a near-genius I.Q. Bearing no traces of his former condition, Raun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 the Director of Global Education of The Option Institute® and the Autism Treatment Center of America® (a division of the 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 bestselling book and was adapted into an award-winning NBC-TV movie, Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love, which has been viewed by over 300 million people worldwide.

In the last decade, individuals from over 100 different countries on 6 continents attended programs at The Option Institute®. Also, teachers from The Option Institute® and the Autism Treatment Center America® bring the Institute’s teachings to all areas of the world, including England, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Pakistan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Oman, Ukraine, Argentina and Brazil.

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, Self Magazine, Parenting Magazine, People 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 Siegel, Norman Cousins, Lou Holtz, John Bradshaw, Harold S. Kushner, Dr. Carl Simonton, Joanne Woodward, Dr. Wayne Dyer and Paul Winter.