There are two boys in a family I., both of whom have autism. They are Sergey, aged 8 and Andrey, aged 6. Their mother was convinced that nobody and nothing could help her boys, and was very sensitive about the way in which society treated her children.
To avoid disapproving looks on the street and from her neighbours, she chose to take the boys out to places far from home where there were no other people. They did not go to playgrounds or parks. The family bought a house in a village and built a high fence around it. They would spend up to six months a year living there.
Our lawyer managed to convince the mother to register her children for a consultation at the Family Support Centre, during which it became apparent that the boys were very different and required an individual approach.
Sergey had a fear of new buildings, new people and any new experience. Upon encountering anything new he screamed, injured himself, panicked at noises and voices and ran under the table to hide. The only way to calm him down when he was in this state was to play a special key ring game.
In contrast, Andrey was hyperactive and got involved in everything, but immediately lost interest if he did not like it. He would scream and run away, and would need to be held by the hand.
During the first consultation (with both children and their mother) it was almost impossible to diagnose Sergey because he struggled and cried and had to be taken outdoors after 10 minutes. Andrey willingly took on the tasks set but did not complete them properly since he lost interest.
The children then began to attend private sessions three times a week.
Andrey liked drawing with hands using shaving foam. This was his first achievement. Drawing was then used as a way to involve him in training activities. By the end of the school year, Andrey had learnt to follow simple verbal instructions like “give”, “put” and “take”. Moreover, one of his biggest achievements was learning to use the toilet.
Sergey learnt to study at the table. He now clearly recognizes the start and end of the sessions and knows that he must complete all the tasks set before being allowed to leave the group. While during the first phase he only accepted one teacher, now he accepts them all.
Towards the end of the year, their mother categorically refused to attend an annual tea party. She explained that she would not be able to handle the two children alone, that the children had never attended such a large gathering, that they would not enter the building and would scream.
However, much to her surprise, Andrey and Sergey happily went to the event and participated in the activities. Andrey moved through the group on his own. Sergey hid behind his mother’s chair but did not run away and observed from behind the chair. They then sat down to drink tea with the others. When their mother called them to go home Sergey did not want to leave.
It was very touching to see that the children had stopped being afraid of people.
>>Read more stories
>>Learn more about our Family Support Centre
>>Help us change lives