Today we have taken one of the best photos ever of Sascha in recent years.
It has been quite difficult to get eye-contact as well as Sascha’s most wonderful smile at the same time towards a camera.
But it is getting easier. And today we made it on only half a dozen tries, which is pretty much what anyone needs.
17 January 2004
Today Sascha got a little brother! We are all so happy!
Sascha took it a lot better than when he got his sister at the age of four. He understood he was going to get a sister or brother. He was only a bit bothererd about his little baby brother crying, but then he is bothererd when his sister cries too.
7 February 2004
Today we have had an assistants meeting. We have welcomed a new assistant, Rebecca, who has been with us for a little more than a week and is doing great. We start off every meeting by sharing new developments we have seen since last meeting which was before Christmas. Unless stated otherwise these are all observations from working with an assistant in the Son-Rise room.
- Sascha now builds with Lego blocks totally from his own imagination not needing any instructions. He has built with Lego since he was four years old but only by strictly adhering to the minutest detail of the instructions. Now he has built a big ship with much more imagination than perfection-in-detail.
- Sascha now imitates our expressions. He has pretty much had his own minimalistic language up until now. But that has changed. Here are some examples of amazing statements coming from Sascha during the last month:
"Now I have a suggestion." (Sascha takes command of a situation)
"Now we have finished playing with this. I want to play with this instead" (Sascha wants a change and expresses it beautifully).
"I am curious about what you are laughing at". (Sascha ask Clara who laughs reading a book while joining Sascha. It is an amazing statement coming from Sascha. It has been very rare that he shows interest in what is going on in other people. Also, it is very clearly expressed.)
"What is it that you like about this book". (A similar question asked to Lisa in a similar situation. Clearly shows that this is a new development).
"Mmhm". (Sascha has started to say the typical "mmhm" we all do to indicate that we are listening to another person. No one has told him this. He has imitated us.)
- His teacher in the Nature School which Sascha attends three hours once a week asks Sascha what he thinks about that one of his friends is not in school that day. Sascha answers: "I am a bit sad that she is not here". This is not in the Son-Rise room but outside with 13 other typical children.
- Sascha now answers the phone by himself. It is not always a success. But if the person calling knows Sascha, like our assistants, he can keep up quite a conversation.
- Our new assistant Rebecca, who has a long experience of playing with typical (normal) children, says that Sascha seems to have no problems whatsoever with his imagination.
- Sascha has taught Veronica a childrens computer game, KidPix, from the manual! He seems to realize that Veronica did not know anything about KidPix and that he is the one who has taught her.
- Finally, we agree that Sascha's eye contact has reached a new high. I have personally experienced him carrying on a conversation for several minutes with pretty much a normal eye contact.
17 February 2004
Sascha has been talking about wanting to go to our capital city an hours drive from our home, to take the underground. Many years ago before our Son-Rise program Sascha was in the capital and took the underground. He remembers it and wants to try it again. He was especially excited about the tunnel. Today I have an errand in the city and I offered Sascha to join me. I explained to him that it is a long ride in the car because the place I have to go to is on the other side of the city. When we have done my errand, I tell him, then we will go and take the underground. Also, we won't make it home for dinner so we will have to bring food to eat in the car. "We are going to have a picnic", Sascha says with a smile.
The picture I gave about the trip was fine with Sascha. He wanted to join me. Going in the car is usually no problem. Sascha likes to listen to a tape with music. But this time he did not want to listen to anything. After nearly two hours we had made a bathroom stop, done my errand and were now outside an underground station. It was rush hour, around 16.30 (4.30 pm), and lots of people, certainly a lot more people than in our closest city not to mention our village. Sascha did not at all seemed bothererd by all the people! He was curiously looking around observing all details (as I would discover later). We bought our tickets, took and enourmous escalator and waited for the train. We were going to go one stop and then go back. We got on the train, tightly packed together with lots of people. Sascha is totally calm and looks around. He is fascinated about the tunnel. We get of, take the next train back and head for home. The next day he told me exactly which color the train was, the doors on the inside and outside. He remembered everything.
Halfway home we stopped to have our picnic dinner. We talked about this and that and had a great time. Sascha had been on a great adventure and looked just like any young boy who had been on an adventure.
Our trip to the capital was a success.
22 February 2004
We have a Son-Rise meeting today. Sascha has spontaneously told several of the assistants about his trip to the capital a few days ago and what he did there. The spontaneous part is new. Usually we have to drag these things out of him.
We have also noted better eye-contact. Veronica and I have both noted Sascha talking a dozen sentences or more and has kept the eye-contact the whole time without request. It does not always happen but it has happened several times now.
Sascha questioned Veronica with great interest about how the cellar in the apartment building in which she lives looks. Sascha is fascinated about cellars, probably for the same reason as the tunnels in the underground.
26 February 2004
Sascha is going to a dance lesson arranged by the Child Rehabilitation Center. There is a great teacher running the 45 minute lesson and Sascha can participate without any aid. This time Sascha’s sister wanted to come along as they have a big room of balls where she can play while Sascha is on his lesson.
Sascha’s sister can be quite moody and in those situations Sascha and his sister don't usually get on too well. When we went home in the car Sascha’s sister was upset about something. Sascha looked at her and asked: "Why are you feeling this way?". This is an absolutely amazing statement coming from Sascha.
This week Sascha's imagination has scored two visible victories.
Sascha won second prize in a creative contest in our local newspaper! Children in Sascha's age were asked to submit drawings of creative inventions. Sascha submitted a four drawings of highly imaginative creations: One of a radio which by magic could manifest your best friend; One of a picnicbag startable with a crank; One of an apple tree on the top a of car lacking an engine and one of a house built with clothes. A few days ago he got an envelope with a prize in the form of a bag, a tool belt and a creative computer program!
Another thing happened today. Sascha asked his mother for a robe that he could use to dress up as Captain Hook. She lent him my red morning gown. Then he was off. He had already worked out everything else on his own.He found all the other attributes he wanted and here is the result. Pretty imaginative, right? This photo proves Sascha's wonderful imagination.
A little more than two years ago Sascha had no imagination whatsoever. Everything was literal. The Son-Rise training has awoken his imagination to were it is today. At times it has been very hard work for hours and hours, days and days. Today his imagination seems every bit as good as any normal child of his age. Some of our assistants even say he is more imaginative than many typical children of his age. We are very proud.
19 March 2004
Sascha is continuing to improve his language and communication skills. Here are a few current examples.
Sascha's five year old sister is playing with Sascha and she is making loud screams close to their 8 week old little brother, Sascha suddenly becomes the big brother who instructs his sister: "Don't scream so loud, your little brother may start to cry". He clearly understands the social situation and makes a move to avoid having his brother cry.
Not long ago one our assistants went with Sascha to our local pharmacy to buy an ingredient to make play dough. There was an elderly man in the shop who started to talk to Sascha expecting him to be a typical happy young boy which Sascha clearly looks like. Sascha listened to the man and responded appropriately by nodding and saying "yes" and "mhm" in the right places to show that he was listening. Sascha managed to buy what he needed and pay all by himself. At home he read the recipe himself and basically made his own play dough.
Since a few weeks Sascha has started to accept his little brother crying. He does not run away any more, he can handle it without problem most of the time. A great development. Neither is he bothererd by his sister crying which only a few months ago was a major difficulty.
Generally there are more and more moments when Sascha just seems like a normal nine year old boy. It is all about better eye contact and better communication.
20 March 2004
This is the first update in all long time. I have gone through our notes and all entries after April 26 2003 are new. Our Son-Rise program continues and Sascha is doing more and more progress. The photo above was taken exactly three months ago and shows pretty well how Sascha has become a lot more communicative and interested in others than just six months ago. He speaks much better, has moments of perfectly normal eye contact and handles a lot more stressful situations a lot better today. Sascha goes three hours a week to a normal class in school when they do are outside. He talks to some of the other children who in there innocent way demand that he communicates properly and Sascha learns.
Here are some notes from todays assistants meeting:
Lisa: It is like an explosion of imagination during the last weeks. I commented something he had done and Sascha answered with pride: "I have a very good imagination." We also talked about two book characters which Sascha described in great detail. I asked Sascha how he knew it all. Sascha answered: "I saw it in my imagination."
Rebecca: Sascha is getting more and more interested in others. He asks personal questions like: "What do you think about this car?" (Pointing at a car in a book). "What are you doing?" (When I am doing something different from him).
Malin: His laughter is getting more and more contagious. Also, now he can explain why he is laughing about something.
Clara: In Nature School he is doing great in managing his feelings. When we went there the other day his best friend in school was not there. Sascha says: "It is going to be a boring Nature School today." Clara had asked if he want ed to go home. Sascha replied: "No, I think it can be fun any way." Also he showed the bag, which he won (see 16 March 2004), to his class mates. He said spontaeneously with great pride: "Look at my new bag". Also, he now has an easy time deciding about what he likes. He could easily decided which of the prizes he won that he liked best.
Veronica: Sascha has a lot easier time deciding what to do. He can also much more easily prospone
25 March 2004
Yesterday Sascha said: "I would like to take my imagination out of my head and make it for real".
Today, we told him that the assistant who usually goes with to the Nature School, Clara, was not going to be able to be with him next Friday. We told him that an other assistant would go with him. Sascha said: "I don't want to have an assistant with me. I want to go there on my own." A wonderful statement of self-awareness that we did not know was there. We are working to find a way to manifest this as well as possible.