Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada


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FASD: Change Default Setting!

Because it is 2016 !

FASD 2016

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

 

Our new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, made headlines recently for, not only bringing a breath of fresh air to Canadian politics but, when asked why he chose to fill his cabinet equally with men and women, he said, “Because it is 2015.”

Well, folks, it is now 2016, the year for Canadians to recognize the struggles of the mentally ill. No kidding, it is time to change our mental default settings from indifferent to supportive of those with mental disorders.

FASD: Change Default Setting!

But how does a person change their point of view toward individuals with mental disorders? Surprisingly, there are many ways. Of course the most obvious would be to volunteer your time working with the mentally disabled, but if you are don’t have the time, nor the inclination, there are other ways.

FASD: Change Default Setting!

First, if you know any woman who is pregnant, please encourage her not to drink alcohol during her pregnancy as she runs a high risk of her child being born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: a severe form of mental illness. Your encouraging her to abstain throughout her pregnancy is vital, especially during times of celebration. It is difficult for a pregnant woman who normally enjoys a glass of wine or two, to see others drinking during birthdays, anniversaries, and holiday events, when she cannot drink herself. So, show support by promising to avoid alcohol along with her during her pregnancy.  If she has an upcoming celebratory event, offer to send her reminders to avoid alcohol via email or social media,

FASD: Change Default Setting!

Second, because many adults with FAS run the risk of becoming homeless, another way to show support to those with mental disorders is to pledge a monthly financial donation to your city’s local homelessness prevention programs. Most do not solely offer shelter, but also programs of support. Check for local locations and programs on the Internet and see what you can do to help.

FASD: Change Default Setting!

Third, wise up! Learn as much as possible on the subject of FAS and its symptoms. Knowledge is power. The power associated with understanding mental disorders will show in your compassion toward those who struggle. The simplest act like, not getting angry when a child in melt-down mode upsets your shopping exhibition will have a positive effect on both the child and caregiver. We’ve all been there; strolling the aisles when a child shopping with a caregiver begins screaming and writhing on the floor. Naturally, we put it down to the child wanting a candy bar, and blame the outburst on bad parenting skills. But in 2016, think again.

Due to the increase of children born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the child melting down could be a victim of mental illness and overwhelmed with the amount of people in the store, or the noise of the shopping carts being pushed close by, or the smells of cooked food that so many supermarkets offer nowadays. All these are sensory triggers for individuals with mental disorders, and can cause a meltdown as easily as any chocolate bar.

So in 2016, please resolve to change your default setting from indifferent to support of individuals with mental illness, and expect to be seen as cool as our new prime minister.

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