Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada


Leave a comment

FASD Visual Aids

Using Visual Aids

While raising grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, visual aids helped them understand “what comes next.” Visual aids are especially helpful for morning and evening routines, such as getting ready for school, and preparing for bedtime.

What are visual aids?

Visual aids are usually pictures specifically created as reminders: toothbrush and paste, hairbrush, medication, pull-ups, clothing etc.; posted on a chart where the child will see them. Initially, and at frequent intervals, the child will require direction on how to apply each routine. Repeating each routine in easy-to-follow steps, until the child is confident to follow the picture prompts without help, is vital for success.

However, if your child with FASD is like my grandchildren with FASD, they might balk at the idea of having large poster-sized visual aids posted around the house, especially when friends come to visit. If so, flash cards showing routines can be effective and less invasive.

Example of Flash Cards

FASD flashcards

FASD flashcards

My FASD memoir links for

  • Two Decades Of Diapers
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years.

http://www.amazon.com/BarbaraStudham

https://www.kobo.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

 


Leave a comment

Compile an FASD Information File

Make life easier!

While raising grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, I found compiling personal files for each grandchild helped when I reached out to service providers. In each file, I recorded my grandchildren’s medical appointments, diagnosis and results, attached school records such as reports and IEP’s, all school suspensions letters, their interactions with police, and sports/activity dates, etc. I also listed their strengths, what triggered their meltdowns, their behavior, and typical supports required. Files such as these take time to compile but offered me credibility in the eyes of professionals.

To read of the challenges and struggles I survived as a grandparent raising grandchildren with FAS, see my two ebook memoirs: Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, at your Amazon store, or follow the links below.

Two Decades Of Diapers

Two Decades Of Diapers

Two Decades of Diapers. Genre/Memoir,

Ebook, Price .99 cents (usd), Ages 18+

Are you an individual with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or a caregiver/support worker to an individual with FAS? Are you considering raising or fostering a child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? Or are you a reader simply interested in the effects of mental disorders. If so, then for these, and many other reasons, Two Decades of Diapers is essential reading. During my twenty years of raising four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the temptation to run from this often uncontrollable mental disorder and all the struggles it brought into our world, was significant. Despite my grandchildren’s strengths, their Fetal Alcohol Syndrome caused severe behavioral issues, eventually overwhelming my parenting abilities resulting in a breakdown of the family unit I had fought so hard to maintain. Offering an insight into the challenges of FAS, Two Decades of Diapers is a down-to earth, no holds barred reference to the struggles associated with mental disorders. In my memoir, I describe the challenges my adopted daughter with FAS endured, her teen pregnancy, how I became a grandmother raising grandchildren, and the crises, shattered dreams, and strength and love we share.

FAS: The Teen Years

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years. Genre/Memoir

Ebook, Price .99 cents (usd), Ages 18+

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years is the sequel to my first memoir: Two Decades Of Diapers. In each memoir, I give insight into how family life can be ruthlessly disrupted by behavior disorders caused by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: a mental disorder caused by pre-natal exposure to alcohol. Through my wealth of experience with the disorder, I lead the reader through my desperation, fears, hopes, and prayers while coping with my grandchildren’s teen years. Nevertheless, I would be the first to admit that while FAS brought a whirlwind of emotions into my life, my grandchildren’s struggle to cope with the mental disorder far outweighs any trauma I have endured. Often labelled defiant, odious, caustic, and wayward, individuals with FAS are more victims of brain damage overwhelmed by the demands of everyday life, than the disposable people society deems them. If you are an individual considering adopting or fostering a child with FAS, a mental health worker, or someone who is interested in learning more about this distressing disorder, then Two Decades Of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years are essential reading.

Both Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years are available from your Amazon store, or the following links:

http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

https://www.kobo.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com


2 Comments

Parents Beware!

I never thought it would happen to me!

Despite the few months I babysat a six-month old child being raised by his grandparents, as a young mother, the thought of one day having to raise my own grandchildren, never entered my mind,  In Canada, a growing number of grandparents are now parenting and raising their grandchildren. So much so, that it is time government officials raised their heads out of the sand regarding the ability of grandparents to do so. Not all grandparents have the energy to raise their grandchildren and, if the child has a mental or physical infirmity, it can be nigh on impossible. Though it appears in the best interest of the child to be placed with family, growing up with grandparents is not necessarily the optimum option.

Let grandparents be grandparents!

Too often, children’s agencies take advantage of grandparents when at their most emotionally vulnerable—i.e. when they learn their grandchild is in need of a home. There is a growing need for available foster homes where the child can be nurtured by young caregivers who have energy and use contemporary parenting strategies. Despite the propaganda, not every child placed in foster care is subject to abuse. My personal experience with foster parents has been very positive. There are many compassionate foster parents in Canada willing to give children the care they need and deserve.

Parents Beware!

Two Decades Of Diapers

Two Decades Of Diapers

FAS: The Teen Years

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years

So, parents of today, for various reasons, you might one day be faced with the decision to raise a grandchild. Life has a way of presenting us with disquieting choices that can change our lives forever. And if you believe it could never happen to you, read my two memoirs, Two Decades Of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, which describe my twenty years raising four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Both are available in ebook format from your Amazon store, the following links, and many other ebook distributors.

 

 


Leave a comment

Mental Health LInks

Mental health links from The Prevention Coalition

FASD 2016

FASD 2016. Speak Up, and make this year the last year for FASD.

I was recently contacted by The Prevention Coalition with suggestions of mental health links for people looking for information on specific issues.

Links

Here are a list of topics and the Coalition’s selection of links to visit.

How Kids Can Talk to Parents About Depression
http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/talk-depression.html

Treating and Living with Anxiety
http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=education_anxiety_treatment

Addiction and Depression: Treating Co-Occurring Disorders
http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression/addiction-and-depression-treating-co-occurring-disorders-9718.aspx

A Navigation Guide to Self-Discovery During Your Addiction Recovery Journey
http://www.treehouserehab.org/self-discovery-addiction-recovery/

Recognizing and Treating Depression During Pregnancy
http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/depression/

Marriage and Mental Health: How to Cope When Your Spouse Has Been Diagnosed with Schizophrenia
https://www.littlechapel.com/how-to-cope-when-your-spouse-has-been-diagnosed-with-schizophrenia.html

7 Tips for Creating a Healthy and Positive Work Environment
http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/creating-a-healthy-and-positive-work-environment/

A Healthy Home is a Happy Home: How to Optimize Your Home for Healthy, Stress-free Living
https://www.redfin.com/blog/2016/10/a-healthy-home-is-a-happy-home-how-to-optimize-your-home-for-healthy-stress-free-living.html

The Prevention Coalition’s website is http://thepreventioncoalition.org.


Leave a comment

The Dreaded Wait List

Oh, the frustration!

When governments announce a new service to aid children with developmental disabilities, invariably the news quickly trickles down to caregivers overjoyed that “at last” someone has heard their pleas for support and acted accordingly.

The Dreaded Wait List

Trouble is, caregivers are often oblivious to the fact that the new service is bound to be underfunded, and therefore understaffed, causing long wait lists. Add to that, the fact that the child’s disability has to fit a long list of requirements to be eligible for the service, and that services cannot be “doubled-up” which means, should the child be receiving support from one agency, he cannot receive similar help from another. In addition, should an urgent case for the new resource surface, names on the non-urgent list are pushed down a space, making wait times even longer.

Oh, the frustration!

During my twenty years raising grandchildren with FAS, I learned not to hold my breath while waiting for services, especially where the Children’s Aid Society was concerned. Despite their frequent promises of support should I ever need it—which I often did—I was invariably brushed aside due to lack of funding, or told my requirements were outside of their service. Now, as my grandchildren approach adulthood, the DSO (Developmental Services Ontario) referrals for adult services come with guaranteed wait lists. Here we go, again!

FASD Pumpkin

The FASD Pumpkin: Remember some Trick or Treaters have mental challenges.

Be Patient!

Exercising patience while waiting for services is difficult, however, we can demonstrate patience toward all trick-or-treaters this Halloween by remembering there are children in our neighborhoods with developmental, physical, and mental disabilities, and act appropriately when they approach our doors. Despite my protests that my grandchildren are too old to knock on doors for candy, given their mental immaturity, they never outgrow Halloween, so I insist they at least dress the part, thereby giving householders a reason to hand over that much coveted chocolate bar. So, please, if you are approached by teens who you believe are well over the age of trick-or-treating, remember there could be an underlying health reason for their wanting to join in the neighborhood fun.

My author link: http://www.barbarastudham.com


Leave a comment

Pregnancy kits and FASD

Getting the FASD word out!

FASD 2016

FASD 2016. Speak Up, and make this year the last year for FASD.

One problem with FASD is, people are unaware it can be prevented, so here is a thought: One way to let mothers know how to keep their baby FASD free, is to print the words – AVOID ALCOHOL WHEN PREGNANT—not only on the packaging of pregnancy test kits, but on the testing unit itself. Though no method is foolproof, especially when the mother has drunk alcohol before realizing she is pregnant, this one could help. Having that advice printed clearly and in bold letters on the testing unit, could convince a woman who has just discovered she is pregnant, to abstain from alcohol during her pregnancy. What do you think?

A front line perspective on FASD

If you would like a front line perspective on FASD, read my two ebook memoirs, Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, both of which address my twenty years raising four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. and available from your Amazon, these links, and many other ebook distributors. Both are only .99 cents (usd).

http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

https://www.store.kobobooks.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

 


6 Comments

Hello? Is anyone listening?

Does anyone really care?

Is it just me, or does the incident I experienced recently also shock others. I was so appalled by what I saw that I contacted The Hamilton (ON) Spectator newspaper, the ODS (Ontario Disability Services), the Hamilton mayor, Fred Eisenberger, Monique Taylor, NDP MPP for Hamilton Mountain, and Scott Duvall, MP for Hamilton Mountain, to get their reaction to the event.

A letter of concern

By reading the following email I sent to those recipients, you will discover what concerned me:

“During the past twenty years, I have raised four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: a severe disability caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. So, you can imagine my horror when, on Tuesday, August 30th, 2016, I arrived at 119 King West with my granddaughter for an appointment, and saw a long line-up of people with disabilities outside the government building, waiting behind a sign clearly marked “ODSP Line-Up”. When I asked one person what they were lining up for, I discovered that ODSP cheques were being hand distributed due to the probability of a postal strike.

The area is precarious with heavy traffic, excessive noise, and bustling crowds, and that morning was no exception. Exposing people with disabilities to those elements in that manner undermined their safety and their right to privacy as ODSP recipients.

From my experiences raising grandchildren with mental health issues, I am fully aware of the intense disdain harbored by many in our city toward the mentally disabled. Such contempt makes them vulnerable targets in such situations. Given the intense challenges associated with organizing large gatherings of disabled persons, it only makes sense that outside line-ups on public streets should be avoided at all times.

I hope you seek the opportunity to ask the organizer of that planned line-up what they were thinking by putting convenience above the safety, and privacy of our citizens within the disabled community.”

I sent that email on August 31st 2016. On September 2nd, I received this reply from Mayor Eisenberger:

Hi Barbara,

Thank you for reaching out to me and I am sorry to hear of your recent experience at 119 King Street West. I have copied MPP Horwath’s office as the office is in her riding, and please again accept my apologies.

He’s right, I should have contacted MPP Horwath, as the incident happened in her riding, but despite the mayor forwarding my email to her office I have yet to hear from her, and wonder if I ever will. Neither has The Spectator, the ODS, nor the MPP or MP answered my email. So my question–Am I the only one shocked by such disregard toward individuals with disabilities?–remains unanswered. Perhaps, you, my blog reader, can answer that question for me. If you are a person with a disability, or are involved with one, I would love to hear your comment on this matter.

If you have never been involved with an individual with a disability, you might not fully understand, nor share my concern, so I have put the situation in perspective through the following illustration. Note the signs forcing people to reveal their medical information to all who happen be in the vicinity, which is what the ODSP office did to their recipients.

Disregard of Privacy

Disregard of Privacy