Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada

Hamilton ON ODSP leaflet. www.challengedhope.com


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Hamilton ON ODSP Office/Changes

A Welcome Change to Hamilton ON ODSP Services!

Hamilton ON ODSP leaflet. www.challengedhope.com

Hamilton ON ODSP leaflet

I’m not conceited enough to believe that my post HERE had anything to do with the changes at the Hamilton ON ODSP office, but it is good to know that enough people complained about the service thereby causing changes to be implemented.

Hamilton ON ODSP Office/Changes

As you can see from a recent leaflet, ODSP is striving to improve their service. Always a good sign. Readers, don’t sit back on your laurels, however, or the service will slip again. Keep ODSP on its toes by continually voicing your complaints whenever they arise. The leaflet suggests you speak to a member of the management team if you are dissatisfied with the service. You can also visit the following link to complete a survey. 

ontario.ca/socialassistancesurvey
Barbara Studham’s bio.

For over twenty years, Barbara Studham has parented grandchildren diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Her two memoirs Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years, describe her challenges during their toddler years and teens. She has also written fiction, including a six-book series titled, Under The Shanklin Sky, set in the seaside town of Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight. She is currently creating a children’s FASD picture book series Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Now available is the first in the series titled THE SCHOOL DAY. The second in the series titled FIDGET! is soon to be released.

Barbara Studham’s books are available from AMAZON.

Author blog: http://www.barbarastudham.com

FASD blog: http://www.challengedhope.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

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FIDGET! Children’s FASD picture book, by Barbara Studham

Coming soon — the second in the Strawberry & Cracker

FASD picture book series!

I’m concerned. Very concerned. No matter the number of times I blog, tweet, or write about FASD, I’m not sure potential adoptive and foster parents are fully aware of the challenges involved with the disorder. Having raised grandchildren with the FASD, I know it can destroy families. I know it can be heartbreaking. I know the fear, the hopes, the dreams, the realities, and the exhaustion of raising a child with FASD.  Through my writing, I try to bring an awareness to FASD.

Grandma featured in Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with FAS, by Barbara Studham. www.barbarastudham.com

Grandma featured in Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with FAS, by Barbara Studham.

Meet Grandma. She is also very concerned. Her role as an advocate for FASD is to show people just how difficult raising a child with FASD can be, especially when people around her do not understand the disorder and blame the children’s acting out on bad parenting.

Grandma is a character in my children’s FASD picture book series, titled, Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She is the twins’ sole guardian, much like me to my grandchildren.  In the first book of the series titled THE SCHOOL DAY, Grandma supports the twins by creating a visual aid to help them learn the expectations of the day, the school bus then arrives to take them to their special needs class. There, the story shows how supports are in place to ensure the twins experience a successful day.

My purpose for creating this particular children’s picture book series is to give children between the ages of 5-12, who struggle with FASD, a book with stories to which they can relate.

FIDGET! Children’s FASD picture book, by Barbara Studham

Soon to be released is the second in the Strawberry & Cracker FASD series titled FIDGET!

Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. FIDGET! www.barbarastudham.com

Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. FIDGET!

Meet Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome who live with their grandma and her dog, Thunder. The twins struggle with fidgeting. All children fidget, but a child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome frequently over-fidgets, thereby annoying people who do not understand impulsive behaviors. However, there are strategies to calm the child and control fidgeting.

FIDGET! introduces the reader to Strawberry & Cracker’s typical fidgeting scenarios. While no one strategy for avoiding fidgeting will work for every child, Grandma realizes the importance of discovering which ones work for the twins. By discussing those strategies with other adults, she hopes people will apply the calming methods and lessen the stress of fidgeting.

Don’t miss the first in the series titled THE SCHOOL DAY.

Strawberry and Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome by Barbara Studham. Available from AMAZON www.barbarastudham.com

Strawberry and Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome by Barbara Studham. Available from AMAZON

Meet Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)! With over twenty years of experience parenting four grandchildren with FAS, I have created the children’s picture book through my perception of the disorder. Illustrated in the first of the Strawberry & Cracker series titled, The School Day, is the twins’ use of visual aids, the necessity to attend a special needs class, and living with a caregiver other than a biological parent. Initially featuring Strawberry and Cracker’s strengths, the story subsequently introduces the reader to a typical school day in the life of a child with FAS, and the supports required for a successful outcome. Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the picture book series, is designed to be enjoyed by children with FAS, for caregivers with a desire to introduce their children to FAS, and for the public to learn about the challenges associated with the disorder.

Genre: Family and relationships/special needs children. Glossy front and back cover. The picture book includes twenty-six inside pages with color images and large print. Size: 8.5” x 8.5”. Price: $9.99 USD. Now available at AMAZON.

Barbara Studham’s bio.

For over twenty years, Barbara Studham has parented grandchildren diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Her two memoirs: Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years, describe her challenges during their toddler years and teens. She has also written fiction, including a six-book series titled, Under The Shanklin Sky, set in the seaside town of Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight. She is currently creating a children’s FASD picture book series Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Now available is the first in the series titled The School Day. The second in the series titled FIDGET! is soon to be released.

Barbara Studham’s books are available from AMAZON.

Author blog: http://www.barbarastudham.com

FASD blog: http://www.challengedhope.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

 


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FASD and Christmas: Beat the Blues.

Ah, the DREADED fasd Christmas vacation!

Tips to beat the FASD Christmas Blues by author, Barbara Studham. www.challengedhope.com

Tips to beat the FASD Christmas Blues

If you are a caregiver to a child with FASD, you know Christmas can be an intolerable time. Children with FASD find Christmas activities overwhelming, causing meltdowns during the event, and leaving their non-FASD siblings resenting such behavior during what they consider the best day of the year. 

FASD and Christmas

Most kids love Christmas: the lights, the laughter, endless gifts, and visits from relatives. Children with FASD are unable to handle such stimulation, and so the caregiver(s) modifies the celebrations to the point of non-existence. I know because I downplayed Christmas for the many years I raised grandchildren with FASD. This, however, robs siblings in the family who don’t have FASD and love the noise and stimulation Christmas brings. So how does one cater to both needs? 

There are ways, but if the caregiver was raised to enjoy Christmas all on one day, it is often difficult to break that cycle of expectation. However, now that you are caregiver to a child with FASD and his/her siblings, your Christmas customs need updating. 

Keeping Christmas fun for the whole family.

  • With an FASD child in your home, understand that Christmas festivities no longer have to be packed into one day. So, invite relatives to celebrate with your family a few days before Christmas when your sitter, or respite worker, is still available. A family party is great for siblings without FASD, but not so much for those with the disorder, so alternative arrangements benefit all children. While the boisterous family gathering is on, low-key time away from the home with the babysitter is appropriate for the FASD child.
  • During the family gathering, exchange gifts, including those from relatives. Your kids will love opening their presents in front of everyone and enjoy hearing the oohs and ahhs without the worry of upsetting their FASD sibling. Children with FASD can find the rustle of ripping paper and squeals of enjoyment, overstimulating, so if you must exchange Christmas morning gifts, keep them to a minimum.
  • Avoid the excitement of Santa’s arrival. He wasn’t mentioned in front of my FASD grandchildren and wasn’t missed. Many children find Santa scary, even more so those with FASD.
  • Prepare that wonderful Christmas dinner, but don’t be disappointed if your child with FASD refuses to eat with the family. Prepare their favorite food, let them know it is available to them when they are ready, but don’t insist they eat typical Christmas fare that triggers their sensory issues simply because it is Christmas. Don’t be offended if he/she prefers to eat in their room. The non-FASD siblings will enjoy the family meal knowing their FASD sibling is as happy as they.

The above tips are simply my way of saying keep Christmas fun for all the kids. You know your FASD child, and what he/she can tolerate, but be aware that your non-FASD child has Christmas expectations. Being prepared before the day arrives helps heighten family fun, and lessen those Christmas blues! 

Merry Christmas to all my readers! 

Barbara Studham’s bio.

For the past twenty years, Barbara Studham parented four grandchildren, all diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Her two memoirs: Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years, describe her challenges during their toddler years and teens. She has also written fiction, including a six-book series titled, Under The Shanklin Sky, set in the seaside town of Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight. She is currently creating a children’s FASD picture book series Strawberry  & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Now available is the first in the series titled The School Day.

Barbara Studham’s books are available from AMAZON.

Author blog: http://www.barbarastudham.com

FASD blog: http://www.challengedhope.com

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

 


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FASD everywhere

FASD is a global disorder!

Make no mistake, FASD is everywhere! It is a global disaster and growing. Stats prove this. Education on the disorder is essential. Discussion vital, as we discover alcoholic sperm can cause FASD during conception. Visit the following links for information.

http://allparenting.com/my-pregnancy/articles/970449/dads-can-also-cause-fetal-alcohol-syndrome

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140214075405.htm

FASD everywhere

The immediate global interest in my children’s FASD picture book Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome confirms my original instinct that caregivers crave appropriate books for their children with FASD. I know because I was one of them. Too bad a picture book like Strawberry & Cracker wasn’t available when I was raising my young grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. The book would have helped me introduce my grandchildren to their disorder, and they would have loved characters with whom they could identify. Not stereotypical super-heroes, but everyday kids challenged by life’s FASD struggles. Caregivers of children with FASD need all the help they deserve, and I believe Strawberry & Cracker children’s picture book is high on the list of must-haves. What a wonderful way to educate both children and society about FASD and the children’s special needs.

FASD everywhere

Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome would make a great gift for a child with FASD, so don’t forget to add it to your Christmas, or any other day, list. Genre: Family relationships/special needs children. Glossy front and back cover. The picture book includes twenty-six inside pages with color images and large print. Size: 8.5” x 8.5”. Price: $9.99 USD. Available from AMAZON.

FASD everywhere

Coming in 2018! The second in the Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, series, titled,

FIDGET!

Bio: Barbara Studham has written FASD memoirs, fiction, and is currently working on the next in the Strawberry & Cracker series, titled, FIDGET!

Visit her  Amazon Author Page at the following link.

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

Twitter: @barbarastudham

Also on: Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn,

Barbara Studham’s blogs:

www.barbarastudham.com

 www.challengedhope.com


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Letting Life’s Transitions Lead to Extraordinary Destiny

Guest post by Caleb Anderson of Recovery Hope

http://www.recoveryhope.org

Todays post is written by Caleb Anderson of Recovery Hope. The purpose of Recovery Hope website is to … give hope to those facing recovery from unhealthy addictions. We bring together stories, advice, and resources to help others on their journeys. 

Given many individuals with FASD struggle with addiction, I decided Caleb’s post would be a great addition to this blog. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an

extraordinary destiny.”  –C.S. Lewis

Transitions are an inevitable part of life, and each can feel magnificently positive or overwhelmingly painful, depending on the way we uniquely handle them. Whether you’re recently widowed or acclimating to an empty nest, expecting a baby or graduating college; all can seem daunting. Managing change will rely on your ability to be nimble and open to life’s new norms. Consider this…

Exercise and Meditation  

 Numerous studies link exercise to improved mental health. Consider incorporating:

  • Yoga – Licensed psychotherapist Ashley Turner says, “yoga is the key to psychological and emotional healing as well as resolving issues with self-confidence, relationships, and more.”
  • Aerobic Exercise – According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise is critical for maintaining mental fitness and stress reduction. They report it works by, “reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.”

Find Positive, Wherever Possible

There are numerous ways to keep your focus on the good, versus the negative.

  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Focus on your attributes by practicing positive self-talk.
  • Be thankful for what you do have. It’s easy, in a transitional moment, to think of all we have lost. Instead, try remembering what positive things still exist.
  • Reframe your change, by thinking what positive will come from it. If you’ve lost a spouse, for example, consider how nice it will be to downsize to a smaller home, perhaps on the waterfront, where you’ve always wanted to be.

Be Your Own Best Friend

Stephen Richards, author of Think Your Way to Success: Let Your Dreams Run Free, said “Before you can successfully make friends with others, first you have to become your own friend.” Times of transition are a good time to reacquaint yourself with yourself; after all, no one will be getting you through your change period, but you. Discover new things about yourself, consider changing habits that weigh you down, and learn to love the new emerging you.

The Importance of Your Environment

 Your home is likely where you spend the majority of time, and it contributes greatly to your sense of well-being.

  • Keep your room bright with both natural and artificial light. Light can improve both depression and anxiety.
  • A cluttered home can add to your stress and impact further behavior. If you come home to a messy home, you’re less likely to be motivated to hang up your coat, or put away new purchases.
  • Watch for negative emotional anchors, or things that weigh you down mentally. If you’re recently widowed make sure you keep around things that create positive memories, and avoid holding onto things that are triggers for sadness.

As you work through your transition, whatever it may be, try to remember that in this process there is plenty of positive. In other words, when one door closes and you’re waiting for the other to open, there’s plenty of room for personal growth in the hallways.  Here are some positive spins on what you’re experiencing.

It can make you stronger – Life’s changes each work in their own way to help us build resilience and coping skills.

It can help you re-prioritize – Frequently, the pressures around change can help us to gain new perspective forcing us to focus on new and exciting opportunities.

It can help you be a better version of you – Change and its link to positive personal growth have been scientifically proven. Perhaps, the most important part of any personal metamorphosis, is your willingness to learn from it.

When entering any of life’s transitions, one thing is sure, you won’t be the same person you were before the change, and that’s okay. Learn to accept it, and let go. Be thankful for where you’ve been, and where you’re going. And, relax; life’s new path leads to an “extraordinary destiny.”

http://www.recoveryhope.org

 

 


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Children’s FASD picture book

People are loving

Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Here are just a few.

Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Front Cover

Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Front Cover.

Where to purchase?

Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is available from your AMAZON

or this link

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


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FASD: Support, Understanding, Patience.

What does it mean to offer

an individual with FASD, support,

understanding, and patience?

We hear it a lot. Be patient, they need time. Your understanding would go a long way. Offer support when they feel challenged. But, what does all that actually mean? It is one thing to request help and compassion for people struggling with FASD, but what are our expectations of other people?

Support.

A prime example of support happened when my granddaughter with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome recently attended an interview to register for a volunteering program designed for participants with special needs. Now 18, my granddaughter is ready to branch out into the world, wants to volunteer, but needs support to do so. As my granddaughter does not tell time well, she needs prompts and encouragement through the steps to arrive for appointments on time. My support included being sure she got up when the alarm sounded, reminding her to shower, suggesting an appropriate outfit, making sure she ate breakfast, reminding her what records to take with her, driving her to the appointment, and being in attendance with her. That was just the beginning of my support.

Understanding.

There is always hesitation on my part as to how appointments will be conducted, and my granddaughter’s reaction. This time, however, the interviewer understood FASD body language and was able to offer understanding when she saw signs of my granddaughter’s increasing anxiety: her face reddening, her head drooping, her refusal to answer questions, none of which translated as she didn’t want to volunteer after all. Fortunately, the interviewer acted accordingly by giving my granddaughter the choice to continue the interview in the office or return home and complete her registration over the phone. It might sound simple, but you would be amazed at how many people show anger when they sense my granddaughter’s anxiety. They insist she has nothing to be nervous about, and that she should sit up, stop being distracted, and LISTEN, or be dismissed. Misinterpreting signs of anxiety can result in kids with FASD missing out on activities they can handle with support. 

Patience.

If the interviewer had become irritated by my granddaughter’s anxiety, the appointment would have ended abruptly, but her patience, led her to find ways to calm the situation, speak directly but softly to my granddaughter, and ask what SHE needed to get through the interview successfully. By the end of the appointment, my granddaughter was smiling. Always a good sign!

The result of my support and the interviewer’s understanding and patience, is that my granddaughter agreed to participate in the upcoming volunteer program. The first step of many more to come! So, next time someone asks you to show support, understanding, and patience to someone with disabilities, it doesn’t mean throw them a sickly sweet smile and avert your eyes patiently until they get it. It means having knowledge of the issues associated with disabilities, and how to put that knowledge into practice.

Where to gain knowledge?

Hundreds of worldwide organizations provide assistance for the disabled and need volunteers. If you can’t find a volunteering program in your home town, go further afield: the next city, province, country. Volunteering is a great way to grow, learn, and become the person you are meant to be: one who understands people of all abilities, and able to offer appropriate support, understanding, and patience.

If you enjoyed today’s post, visit me at

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

http://www.barbarastudham.com