San Jose Mother Seeks Volunteers to Help Autistic Son

By Marianne Favro
|  Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013  |  Updated 5:39 PM PDT
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Elaine Shtein is searching for volunteers to help her 4-year-old autistic son learn to interact with others. Marianne Favro reports.

Elaine Shtein is searching for volunteers to help her 4-year-old autistic son learn to interact with others. Marianne Favro reports.

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Elaine Shtein is searching for volunteers to help her 4-year-old autistic son learn to interact with others.

Shtein, a San Jose resident, is using a play-based therapy program called "Sonrise" to help her son, Jackson, open up.

"We are creating a non-judgemental place where Jackson feels safe," Shtein said. "And if you feel safe, you want to open up."

Her goal is to have Jackson have one-on-one play time in a room at her home for eight hours a day, seven days a week. She's attempting to recruit volunteers willing to come to her home for four days a week, playing with Jackson.

Shtein has been placing a flier in Starbucks coffee shops and community colelges in the South Bay.

Jay Liu, a family friend, is already on board.

"I just want to be part of the team that helps open up his world," Liu said.

Pacific Autism Center for Education Assistant Executive Director Karen Kennan said the Sonrise program is a recognized therapy, but has concerns about asking strangers for help.

Shtein plans to carefully screen her volunteers and said she is convinced they will make the critical difference for her son.

"We want him to be speaking with us," she said. "And we know it's going to happen."

You can reach Jackson's mom at 408-234-9982 or email her at eshtein@gmail.com.

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