Goodbye Sweden - Hello Norway

Day 8 - Saturday 12th November 2016

It feels like quite a leisurely start to the day, considering I have a plane to catch. There's too much snow on the ground to pull my suitcase to the town so it's Uber to the rescue. I feel sad to say goodbye to Kista and our hosts but looking forward to Norway. What a fruitful time it's been in Sweden and so much learning to digest.

Early Intervention Research in Trondheim, Norway

Day 9 - Sunday 13th November 2016

A really smooth flight from Stockholm to Oslo and a stopover in Jessheim for the night (yes, Airbnb again). No time to really get settled before catching another plane on Sunday afternoon from Oslo to Trondheim.

Yet again, Airbnb proves to be good - nice place and a good price. We feel at home and we have a really good view of Trondheim from the living room window. No supermarket nearby so our host offers to pick up some shopping for us. Really nice young lad, and really friendly.

The itinerary in Norway is also very exciting but no spaces for sightseeing this time.

Day 10 - Monday 14th November 2016

Today my hosts are Anne Margrete Rostad and Hege Welde, who together planned two stimulating days of sharing research and strategies for intervention across trondheim and visiting projects to see how it all works. Our programme started at 8.30 each morning and we were so engrossed on the first day that we forgot to eat lunch.

With Anna and Hege sharing strategies

Both women oversee different parts of the system working with families with young children and infants (early intervention) they were able to arrange key meetings and visits to some ongoing interventions with young families, allowing me to speak directly with service users, who were the best advocates for their work.

I was particularly interested in Anne Margrethe's research into Early Intervention Social Spectre Developmental Problems, which she started in 1986. She tracked 97.6% of children born in one year from 1st August 1990 to 31st July 1991 across 18 municipalities of Trondheim to explore it it is possible to detect early signs of developmental disorders during the first year of life. Data was collected by professionals across Trondheim from pregnancy to seven months. By involving the professional workforce in her research they also developed an awareness of how to identify disorders as early as possible. Anne Margrethe shared her strategy of how she prepared the Trondheim workforce to intervene, which I will discuss in my report in due course. In a nutshell, Anne Margrethe has worked tirelessly over 35 years devising and implementing a cohesive strategy across Trondheim and the law in Trondheim supports her work in many ways. The findings of Anne Margrethe's research also informs work with foster children.

In the afternoon we saw one of the mother and baby groups in action. This group was for mothers with complex issues and they are required to attend twice weekly from 10.00am to 2.00pm. The group members became like a family while attending the group and often remained connected in friendship groups.

With Lade and Anne Margrethe after the group

One of the secrets of success in Trondheim seems to be the permanence of the staff. In this particular group the leader, Lade, has been in post for over 26 years, which allows past group members to feel that they have a secure base at the centre to which they can return.

Day 11 - Tuesday 15th November 2016

We meet Hege at 8.30am and she takes us to visit a residential mother and baby unit working with substance abusers before and after birth. Hege has been involved with the project for eight years. We are struck by the surroundings and the quality of the equipment and provision.

Lise is the psychologist in charge of the centre and she works with a team of support workers and psychologists to care for six mothers and their babies. She arranged for us to visit one mother and baby. This mother has been free of drugs for several months and has made a new start to her life, with her partner. She is full of hope for the future and informed about how to be a good enough mother for her baby.

With Hege and Lise at the mother and baby home

Hege taking in the view through the window of the mother and baby home.

The window is low enough for very little people to see the outside world

After our meeting with mother and baby we shared lunch with other members of the household. We ended the day as we started, in the office sharing further strategies and tools with Lise and Hege.

One such tool, the circle, was developed to help the parents to think about their situation and to measure their progress.

This is proving to be very effective and simple to use.

Being in such beautiful surroundings with such a caring and sensitive staff team leaves one feeling very special and held in mind. It is not surprising that the results with these families are so impressive.

Well... this is just a taste of Trondheim but the rest will follow in my final report. My programme has become really busy in Norway but I will try to fill you in next time about my day in Tonsberg.

Thanks for reading.


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