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Sorry its been a while! Christmas was lovely and Henry was the best he had ever been on Christmas Day. He stayed in the lounge with us for a start! And he loved opening his presents saying ‘open more presants’ and was dissappointed when he’d had his last one! He wanted to open everything as well as soon as he’s unwrapped it and had a little play with everything!

Returning to normality was not quite as relaxed. Henry has been very rigid and controlling since Christmas which had been challenging for us all. In the last week however we all seem to have gained confidence with him and Henry has been coping with us setting small boundaries although he isn’t obviously happy about it!

Following a telephone conversation with Carolina, it has become clear to us that although the Son-Rise Playroom you generally move with Henry there are a couple of areas that we can introduce boundaries whilst still leaving the majority of control with Henry. In life it is obviously true that you don’t get everything you want and if Henry is ever to return to school this will be one of the most important lessons. The areas that we can create a boundary for Henry in the playroom are in terms of not going out of the door (we have extra resources outside the door which Henry has been asking for more and more recently and Carolina suggests that this may be another way of him controlling us and also using it as a distraction to move away from an activity/game he doesn’t want to do) and with the food that he has in the playroom. Henry’s diet is still extremely limited so we need to be more consistent in the range of food he is offered. We will limit the snacks that Henry has in the playroom and also give each volunteer a ‘new’ food to bring in for each of their sessions so that he gets used to the sight, smell and texture of foods which we hope will encourage him to try them at some point in the future.

We have our second team meeting on Tuesday where we can focus on the goals and talk about Henry’s progress and how we can best further his development. The first term we spent building relationships with Henry, this term we are going to really concentrate on developing games and activities that will best suit Henry’s needs. Social interaction will always be the primary goal, however he is made amazing progress with his numbers. He is now beginning to recognise the word and the number and we have been playing lots of games around this area.

Henry’s imagination is still coming on in leaps and bounds. He can pretend to be an animal or talk as though he is that animal (for example when playing with the plastic animals he was taking lion and coming up to you and asking if you’d seen baby lion!) and pretend he has seen things during the games (for example fishes when you playing sharks, or daphne when its a scooby doo game!).

Henry’s language has also been brilliant despite being anxious and controlling over the last few weeks. He is spontaneously saying more and more and using longer and longer sentences. He will also ask simple what, who, where questions and listen to the answer and vice versa. He is also starting to use words like ‘the’ and ‘a’ in his speech which is fantastic.

His flexibility has been the major challenge since Christmas however when he is engaged in an activity his interactive attention space is regularly exceeding 10 minutes, its just finding the right activity!

Fundraising Update

Just thought that everyone who has helped us to raise money and donated towards Henry’s fund would like to know how your money is being spent. Since the Elvis Fundraiser we have been able to:

  • have an out-reach program with Beth Burton, Son-Rise Facilitator (Beth came and worked with Henry for 2 days. We were all able to observe Beth with Henry and have a Q&A session with her which we all found really useful)
  • purchased toys and games to support Henry’s learning and motivations
  • install a whiteboard for Henry’s development and one for us to use as a team to communicate with each other and keep focused on our goals
  • continue to have monthly consultations with Carolina our Son-Rise teacher in America
  • Book an out-reach program with Sean Fitzgerald, Son-Rise Teacher in April. Sean will be able to observe us all working with Henry and give us all personal feedback which will really help us to develop our skills in the playroom.
  • replace the broken mirror in the playroom and also let us buy a much bigger mirror for the opposite wall so that we can still see Henry’s eyes when we are standing up during games and activities.

All of the above have made a massive difference to our time with Henry in the playroom. Thank you again to everyone.

We are planning future events for 2009 so please watch this space!!!

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