Challenged Hope

Grandmother Raising Mentally Disabled Grandchildren in the city of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Leave a comment

Time Out

Every grandparent raising grandchildren needs time away from the challenges involved with the task. Just recently I took my first break in almost two decades from raising grandchildren. So I added a Page in the top menu bar called Time Out. There I will post my adventures in discovering “me” again.

As I love to write, my first time away from home was to attend the Canadian Authors Association CanWrite! conference. If you would like to read my short blurb and see photos of my trip, please click CanWrite! 2014 in the Time Out menu tab. And check often to read about my future adventures.

1st Adventure: CanWrite! 2014 —

Leave a comment

Children with Complex Needs Partnership

One of the services available to caregivers of children with mental health issues is CCNP – Children with Complex Needs Partnership. As outlined on their website: this program …

“… addresses the needs of children and youth with complex needs including those with a dual diagnosis… The focus of the in-home Services is to provide intensive in-home support to families and their children/youth… The Case Management Service provides support for parents in coordinating services, navigating the service system, and in assisting with transitioning between services. Both services are available to families with children and youth between the ages of 0-18 with a complex mental health challenge, or with those with dual diagnosis…”

If you live in the Hamilton, ON, or surrounding area and want more information on CCNP, please visit or call CONTACT Hamilton at 905-570-8888, email:


FASD Teens and Substance Abuse

Teens with FASD often struggle with interpreting the body language and expressions of others. This became apparent to me through my youngest grandson’s inability to sense threatening behaviour or, at the least, the depth of the threat; often seeing the behaviour as comical, or engaging. This struggle also reveals itself through his misinterpreting the positive intentions of those in the medical field or police force. Often, in social settings, he mistranslates the social cues of his peers causing strife or offence among the group. Because Teens with FASD struggle in this area they are more likely to be influenced by unsuitable peers and as a result get into criminal activities or substance abuse.

Contacting your doctor for preventative strategies is always a good idea. There are also websites that offer strategies should you need help:


Leave a comment

FASD Teens and Directions

As with youngsters with FASD, teens with FASD also struggle with following multiple directions, often saying, and looking as if, they understand when in fact they don’t. Although repeating directions can be tiring, success depends on only one or two directions being given at a time.

My experience with raising teen grandchildren with FASD has been that if the requirement needs multiple directions, for example: tidying their room, they were more likely to succeed if they knew where everything “goes”- those books go together on the shelf; your jeans belong in this drawer (label); the fitted sheet which goes over the mattress is sewn at the ends (show them); etc.

As they struggled to understand, tidying their rooms with them several times at first and repeating where everything belonged helped. The next time I showed them how to make the bed plus ask them to put a few things away. This allowed for the multiple directions to be understood at a slower pace until it was “locked in” and they understood the requirements. I realize it’s all so time consuming, but in the long term single directions will save time and energy and produce successful results both for child and caregiver.

Of course, nothing is ever perfect, but that’s okay because I don’t expect perfection from anyone. And even now I will offer to help my grandchildren tidy their rooms as they have accumulated lots of “stuff” and get confused as to where it all belongs, but that’s okay too, as it’s time spent together and that’s never a bad thing!

Leave a comment

FASD Teens and Change in Routine

Teens with FASD struggle, just a much as youngsters with FASD, with change in daily routines, tasks, and unexpected schedules like: medical appointments, outings, bus trips, trips to the hairstylist or clothing stores; anything or anywhere which is not part of their everyday habits. One way to combat their stress and potential behaviour issues during such changes is to explain in advance what their week will look like and what will be involved via a chart posted to the fridge.

My teen grandchildren with mental disabilities always ask how long the appointment or errand will last but, as they have difficulty understanding time, I try to describe time in events, not hours, such as: “We will be back by lunch/supper/bed time.” For some reason, when they have the return time locked in, they are much more comfortable with the idea of going somewhere, or doing something unexpected which tells me just how much they see their home as a foundation of security and the outside world as an intimidating place. The assurance of the return to their home seems to be the deciding factor to their agreeing to the change in routine, and lessens the anxiety they might otherwise experience during an outside event.

1 Comment >

Teens with FASD have trouble determining what to do in difficult situations and often won’t ask pertinent questions as they want to be accepted by peers. They will often accept any request in order to join in and be part of the group.

Leave a comment

Gang Reduction Strategy

There is a program in Hamilton ON, that offers help to youth at-risk for gang involvement or, are in gangs and want out. The brochure states …. YARD Hamilton is a community-based Gang Reduction Strategy initiative that supports youth who are in a gang or at risk for gang involvement.

The YARD TEAM will provide services such as:

  • Individual Counselling/Case Management
  • Life Skills
  • Employment Skills
  • Educational Support

YARD Hamilton will work to develop an individualized case management plan that is client centered in order to help youth at risk avoid or escape the gang lifestyle. Participants will be screened and placed in one of two streams. Each stream will consist of one and a half hours of programming and one hour and a half of recreation twice per week.

Prevention- The program will set out to assist youth at risk with gang affiliation through a 12 week program and 12 weeks of community support with a mentor.

Intervention- The program provides support to individuals who have been identified as having high risk for gang affiliation or have confirmed gang affiliation. Participants will complete 24 weeks of programming and 24 weeks of support with a mentor.

Referral Criteria:

  • 12 – 24 years of age
  • Male or Female
  • At risk of gang involvement or currently involved in a gang
  • Desire to make positive changes in their life

For more information about the YARD program:

  • Tel: 905-522-4446 ext. 308
  • email: 
  • Address: John Howard Society, 654 Barton East, Hamilton, ON L8R 1B1

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 123 other followers