Saschaprogress diary 2004-2010
As you can understand things got really intense with a little baby and a girl of five, running the Son-Rise program and my husband writing a bok. So we didn't get the time to keep up the diary of Sascha's progress. Now 2010 I'm completing it from all the notes I made at the time.
25 th April 2004
We have had to start dealing with Sascha hitting us in the room and have decided to show him our personal feelings. We explain why we sometimes happen to get angry or hurt. He gets fustrated and angry when he can't have what he wants at once. Sometimes the other person doesn't understand what it is he wants so we have to explain that to him.
26th April 2004
I arranged for a boy to come who goes in the same class as Sascha and play with Sascha in his room. I needed to help Sascha with suggestions of what to play and even help him get into the playing.
16th May 2004
As a result of the play date we have introduced classical children's games.We are going out of the room more to be able to do physical activities.
6th June 2004
We are discovering that the running he does isn't an ism as much as a habit at this point. He is not exclusive when running, he talks to us and laughs and responds. So running is not an ism, but non the less a need.Now he is quicker att maths and more concentrated andmotivated. He even gave one of our assistants eye contact while thinking of the correct answer.He has written a letter to Johanna who used to play with him. Considering his resistance to holding a pen and drawing as a 6 year old his must be seenas a major happening.
23rd July 2004
We have been on our annual holiday to Gotland. Sascha and his sister really found one another and had fun together.
Back in the room we are continuing to focus on helping him to understand how to play with other children both in his room and outside. We are creating situaions that would be typical like coming to another child's room. So everyone brings personal things with them and makes up a little room in Saschas' room where he gets invited to come and visit. Then we guide him in how to ask or show his things.
Sascha took an initiative to a game in the room. He listends more to what others say, comments and comes with suggestions. I've invented a game where I dressed up as a character and Sascha is invited to ask this person questions that we have put up on the wall. All to help Sascha learn how to converse with people.
10th August 2004
Clara said " I'm hungry like a wolf" Sascha resonded "me too". That is a miracle that he responds spontanously. He has had a tendency to ask questions when he wants to tell us something, but now with a lot of encouragment and reminding he has started to tell us rather then ask. The door to his room can be unlocked- he doesn't run away. When he went to the library he was able to ask for Mulle Meck books himself. I was so proud of him and elated about him doing it.
5th September 2004
My husband went to talk to Sascha's class 3 to help them understand him. He explained that Sascha coudn't do obvious things like say hello to someone. Also if there are a lot of people talking at once he might start running around or get agitated. That's why Sascha only comes once a week. He went on to explain how the children could help by coming up close when they say hello for example.
Sascha has been going to his different assistants in their homes so that he can practisse saying hello and being in another environment. We have found that Sascha needs to be encouraged to trust himself in maths. Sascha gets angry and we are finding ways to let him know that it is ok that he gets angry.
18th September 2004
We are getting a lot more eye contact, especially when he is telling us about something he really loves like Carlsson on the roof story (by Astrid Lindgren). He is becoming more physical in his playing. Before he talked a lot about doing things, now he wants to play them physically. This is great. We've done a lot of physical games to strengthen his arm muscles. Sascha is also getting more interested in following the rules of the game. One big change in the room is that he now can shorten down things where he previously needed to complete it before feeling done. Like looking through a book about cars. Previously he needed to look at each item, talk about it and comment all the details. What's happened is that we gradually have noticed that he does it more out of a need to get everything done than out of a need to ism. So when we have seen that he is basically done with a repetitive activity we gently let him know that he can let it go, that he doesn't have to do it all to the end. We explain that that can feel quite tiring to do it all, all the time.
I was out with the three children. The smallest in the pram and the other two on their bycicles. I had to let go of the pram to help our daughter and Sascha spontanously offered to help with holding the pram.
One morning Sascha was joined by his sister in his bed. As she entered he immediatly explained to her what he was talking about. It was something with Carlsson on the roof and little brother celebrating christmas.
30th September 2004
Today we went on a pick-nick lunch out in nature. Sascha talked a lot about cars on the way there and during lunch, but eventually that wore off and it felt like he was with us, holding my hand for little moments. I get let him run off and fee safe that he will come back. Such a relief! We met some cows and Sascha went to say hello to them.
26th November 2004
We had an outreach day with Sean. He works at the Son-Rise institute and came to support us with our program. The whole day confirmed that we are on the right track.
29th January 2005
Sascha is generally more spontanous telling me " Mummy look I did this".If he is looking for something and I'm helping him it happens that he tells me that he has found it, if he'sfound it before me. Before he used to be completely silent.He spontanously said hello to another boy that we passed in the streets. They had met previously when the boy had come to play in Sascha's room.He has grown out of certain rituals like reading the christmas books or listening to the christmas record. He still does those things, but only once and then lte's them go. When he came back from having been to the Technical museum in Stockholm with my husband he tld me masses about what he had seen and done.
We've been on a trip to England. Sascha was very calm when we went to visit different families. In the room we've started introducing several people at the same time and conversing together. Sascha has a much easier time letting go of a ritualistic activity. It's easier to get him to join us in a play of our choice. He is asking questions to clarify how others are thinking. I remember back to the beginning of our program when I introduced a game to get him to ask a simple question like "what is this?"
21th May 2005
4th June 2005
Sascha is continuing to get stronger in his ability to comment, ask questions and observe smaller details in what other people are doing. Like when someone was playing a game and pretending to drink he said " are you pretending to drink ?" He asks "what did you say ?" or" why are you doing this ?" in different situations. We are getting a feeling that he is really able to take in what we are saying.
19th June 2005
My husband went with Sascha to an amusement park in a nearby city. Sascha enjoy it and managed most everything.
20th August 2005
One of our assistants has a horse and has invited Sascha to come home to her place where she has been intorducing her horse to Sascha and teaching him to ride. As his focus is best in the room she goes through different things he needs to know when out riding.
10th September 2005
Sascha can take turns very smoothly. He is more determined about what he wants and has become aware of what he likes, or maybe he has been aware of it but he lets us know "I like reading books, I like inventing stories" he also tells us " I'm good at the human body". He even asks "do you want to hear the continuation?" Sascha is using his eyes to make sure someone is listening.
27th November 2005
When we now allow ourselves to have different opinions than Sascha he gets very angry and hits for example. This comes together with him being much more engaged in play. He smiles warmly. The only motivation he needs is an explanation. I went with an assistant and the three children to a viking museum where we participated in a workshop where one dressed up as viking people and were divided into different groups of people. Sascha participated with the help of his assistant. The thing that seemed to interesst him most was a computer program about vikings.
6th January 2006
Is more aware of his needs and feelings i.e. eats till he is full, takes a break when he gets tired ice-skating. Expresses his feelings. Is bubbling over with laughter and shares with others. A lot more expressions of anger too. It's easier to talk about why he is angry. My husband took the two eldest children to the opera to see the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky. Sascha behaved exemplary and was engaged and listend attentively. He knew the music from home and understood the story. It was a truly enjoyable trip for all three. Two weeks later they went again to see a play at the National Swedish theatre. A story that all three loved very much written by Elsa Beskow.
Over the last few years there has been quite a shift of assistants. Some stayed for several years, some for a year and then some stayed for less time. Now we have a new person starting called Karna. It's a lot of work to introduce a new person to Sascha and our family culture. For one we are much more expressive than the normal swedish family. Some people are comfortable with it right away and other more shy swedes take more time adjusting to it.
People with have had with us for several years like Lisa and Rebecca are either fazing out or have finished. Their student years are over.
This has been a period of transition for Sascha. We felt that it was time for Sascha to be outside his special room more and learn to be with his siblings. We have found games they can do together and they have spent time doing things together that Sascha enjoys doing like listening to a recording of fairy tales. They acted out the stories together. It's working really well and his siblings are so happy to be able to spend time with him.
We also wanted to introduce the world to Sascha. So he has been going to different museums in our town, but to other cities and further away. He went accompanied by an assistant and they took the train.
He has been going with his school on different outings accompanied by an assistant and I have been going with him to school twice/week.
He is still spending time in his Son-Rise room with Karna.
We had a big gathering of all the assistants who have worked with Sascha in his room from Carina our first help who started as a voluteer. We cooked lunch together and had a little meeting like setting where we shared our memories and what we learnt on the way. It was a really inspiring day for many who wrote to us afterwards and thanked us. Sascha was absolutely delighted to be surrounded by all his friends.
In school we have added sewing classes and later woodwork. With the help of me or Karna he can manage to do what is required of him. The difficult part is waiting for the teachers help, but he has applicated Thomas the Tank Engine on a piece of material and then sewn his own pillow case. He has started riding classes in a riding school with other children. We notice that he is peaceful in a new way when he comes back from the riding lessons. It's like he is more in himself, in his body and all the talking has seassed. Being on a horse is obviously therapeutic for him.
This year brought another change of assistant. We found three new young ladies who we spent a lot of time training and introducing to Sascha. For him it is always a good learning opportunity to get to know new people who are willing to come and relate on his level. Unfortunately the young ladies found the work to taxing and quit. We decided to take it easy and let Sascha be part of our everyday life in the family.
We've joined a group of homeschoolers for a few days at a farm. This was a wonderful experience for Sascha to be in a socially welcoming environment. He mainly walked around observing everything and everyone. The best thing to happen was when we got home and we got our copy of the adress list with a photo of every family. Sascha looked at it a lot and really got familiar with everyone. After that he felt very connected and comfortable with the homeschooling families we know. Everyone loves Sascha just the way he is and the children of varying ages notice what he is good at and relate on that level. They always try to include him. Quite a difference from the school setting.
We did a long car drive down to Denmark where we stayed for 10 days. As long as Sascha could listend to music he was fine. In Denmark he really enjoyed swim/diving in the sea. Although no one else wanted to go in because it was too cold he went in and came out peacefully in himself.
Sascha has turned 13. We've all gotten used to the new normon levels and we have learnt to dance the dance with him. One absolutely great bonus is that his fingers have grown stronger and he is able to play more difficult things on the piano. Since the age of 9 I have been teaching him to play the piano. I sit next to him and he plays every day for about 30 min. We started off with 5 min. We are so thrilled at the progress that he is making.
We have had a new young lady coming to help us with spending quality time with Sascha in his room. He has been part of a workshop learning how to make animation on the computer. We helped him to continue with that at home as well. This period of less Son-Rise intenssive in the room is very important for all three children. The youngest is now able to join in the playing. They do a lot of dressing up and playing stories that Sascha is interested in. Saschas big obsession for Thomas the Tank Engine has gone over to the electric train. He has gotten a few electric Thomas the Tank Engine's and a track. Also Sascha got a camera for christmas. It was so fun and fascinating to see which pictures he took. The angles of things were so different to how you look at things usually that it wasn't alwayays obvious to see what it was he had taken. I have a sense that this is where he's talent lies. He sees the world differently and that can be a creative angle no one has thought of.
As we have two homeschooling children we spend time doing different projects together. Any experiments involving food will keep Sascha focused. I suggested that we follow the alphabet and find something on each letter to study or do for one week. So when we got to B we made butter from whipping cream. Having a system like following the alphabet is helpful to keep Sascha interested and involved.