Chico’s Chris Holmes is a man on a mission to try to cure his 6-year-old son, Nicholas, of autism. He and his wife Athena have started using an expensive and unusual method called The Son-Rise Program. Working off the belief that autism is a “social-relational disorder,” Son-Rise offers training to parents in a home-based therapy that stresses highly interactive one-on-one communication between parents and their autistic child. Preliminary results of the program have been promising. Holmes says that the family’s additional training will cost approximately $20,000, and so the local bassist and some of his friends started a band, Noise 4 Nicholas, to play fundraising concerts to help raise money. The next show happens Saturday, Nov. 30, at Lost on Main. Visit www.noise4nicholas.com for details on the band and the cause.
Why did you choose The Son-Rise Program?
Because it’s the most loving way to deal with a kid, and it can completely cure the child. The traditional methods we tried of reward-based treatment were too robotic. No regular doctor ever helped us at all. The Son-Rise Program uses our child’s unique traits to encourage him to change—employing strategies like eye contact and empathy. Kids change behavior because they want to, not because they are forced.
What results have you seen so far?
In the two months that my wife and I have applied it, Nicholas’ severe behavior problems, like throwing tantrums and banging his head on the floor have been reduced by 80 percent. He also never used to hug back, but now he does. In addition to Son-Rise, we also follow a holistic diet from the book Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Natasha Campbell-McBride. It uses raw dairy [and] organic, non-GMO and sugar-free foods.
How did the band come about?
I have been in the bands Thirst and Mike Comfort for 15 years. We started Noise 4 Nicholas three months ago and are excited. Mike sings and plays drums, I play bass and sing backup, while Marc Massa plays the guitar.
Why do the trainings cost so much?
There are two five-day trainings that my wife needs to take that are $3,000 each. They include training, food and lodging, plus having me lodge nearby with Nicholas so he can see her every day. Then all three of us will attend the five-day Son-Rise Intensive Program, which costs $15,000.
Are there other ways people can help?
Yes, we are looking for volunteers to help us use the Son-Rise methods with Nicholas [for] four hours a week, when I’m at work and Athena is doing other family tasks, like caring for our other son, Cameron, who’s 17, and daughter Kate, 12. [Volunteers can contact via website.] We’re not sure where all this will lead, but if we cure Nicholas, we would like to help others use The Son-Rise Program.