Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada

Poster for the disabled in London UK subway system. barbara.studham.com


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Poster advocating for the disabled in London UK subways

Fantastic Poster Advocating for the Disabled

Taking a much needed break from long-term caregiving to grandkids with #FASD, I visited London, UK. While touring, I spotted a long line of posters in the subway system. One poster in particular, of which several were displayed on the tiled subway walls, was eye-catching.

Poster for the disabled in London UK subway system. barbara.studham.com

Poster for the disabled in London UK subway system. barbara.studham.com

Fantastic Poster Advocating for the Disabled

So many people with disabilities are ignored, overlooked, or just plain detested, so posters such as these remind able-bodied society that people with disabilities are humans with needs, wants, and dreams.

I especially like the small print “Time to get equal.” Nothing could ring truer in 2018. Time to break down those barriers and stop looking through people with disabilities. If we want to be seen as a progressive country, we need to be progressive in thought and action. 

Time to get equal. 

It is not up to the person with the disability to reach out to the able-bodied. Goodness knows, they have been doing that for so long. No, it is time for the able-bodied to stop and turn to see people with disabilities for who they really are: loving, caring, striving, strong, individuals asking for acceptance within their communities. 


Barbara Studam’s bio:

Barbara Studham's FASD memoirs. Two Decades of Diapers and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years. challengedhope.com

Barbara Studham’s FASD memoirs. Two Decades of Diapers and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years. challengedhope.com

Barbara Studham, the memoir writer. I wrote my first #FASD memoir titled Two Decades of Diapers in 2014; my second #FASD memoir titled Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years in 2016. Both cover the twenty years I parented four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Barbara Studham, the fiction writer. I also write fiction, including the English seaside series, Under the Shanklin SkyBarbara Studham, the children’s FASD picture book creator. My latest creation is a children’s #FASD picture book series titled Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. See, THE SCHOOL DAY, and, FIDGET! on AMAZON. Soon available: The Birthday Bash, and, ADVOCATE! All books available from AMAZON. 

Barbara Studham’s books are available from AMAZON.

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

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

Amazon Author Page:

www.amazon.com/author/barbarastudham

 

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Looking for FASD books?

There are many books available on FASD. Here are the ones I offer.

But WAIT! There is more to come!

If your child is enjoying the Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol series, illustrator Heather Lamb and I are working on the third in the series titled The Birthday Bash scheduled for release in summer 2018.

But WAIT! There is more!

I am writing and illustrating (yes, you read it right!) the fourth in the series titled ADVOCATE! a special FASD Awareness Day edition. A great way to introduce your child (and everyone else) to FASD this September 9th, the official FASD Awareness Day.

More information to come on those two books!
STAY TUNED FOR NEW STORY DESCRIPTIONS AND AVAILABILITY!

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 in the series is, THE SCHOOL DAY, and, FIDGET! Soon to be released – THE BIRTHDAY BASH! and ADVOCATE!

Barbara Studham’s books are available from AMAZON.

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

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

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


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Hamilton ON ODSP Office.

The Appointment.

I’m sitting in the Hamilton, ON, ODSP office. My grandson has an appointment. Soon, he and his caseworker will walk in and join me. Meanwhile, I take in my surroundings. Cold and unwelcoming, the waiting area easily seats twenty, but only a handful of people surround me. Some sit patiently, others pace. Sitting by the entrance affords me a view of their comings and goings.

A man, I guess to be in his forties, approaches the entrance; his appearance unkempt, his shoes mismatched. Unsure of protocol, he nervously peers around.

A receptionist’s voice strikes the air. “Next!” A number lights up behind her.

Still in the entrance, the man raises his hand.

“Do you have a number?” she calls.

Unsure, he steps back.

“Do you have a number?” she repeats. Her tone is shrill.

He smiles uneasily.

A young woman in the chair next to mine interjects. “The numbers are outside the entrance,” she explains to the man. She points. “There, just behind you. Take one then take a seat and wait your turn.”

He nods in gratitude, takes a number, but remains standing.

“Next!” we hear again.

He strides forward, number in hand. Several people with lesser numbers protest.

“What number do you have?” the receptionist asks.

He looks at the ticket, but shakes his head. He’s unsure.

“Bring it here.” She looks at the number. “You are not next,” she snaps. “You are number 32.” She points to the number sign. “This number is 25. Sit down and wait your turn.”

Gingerly, he sits beside the young woman and waits. I hear her whisper. She tells him she will let him know when they call his number. My grandson and his support worker arrive. He hugs me, which is always nice, but a problem has arisen at reception #2. A young man has received a form to complete.

“Read it, and then sign here, here, and here,” the woman is saying, pointing a finger to each area.

“Where?” the young man asks.

“Here, here, and here!” she repeats.

Body language kicks in. I recognize the signs. The young man doesn’t read well. He most likely can’t sign his name. His eyes glaze over as he tries to think of ways to avoid explaining. Both hands press down hard into his jeans’ pockets. He bites his bottom lip.

“Take the form. Read it, and sign,” she repeats.

A kind voice interjects.  “Would you like some help,” it asks. “I have some free time.”

The young man looks up to see a twenty-something blonde who has just emerged from her office. He nods appreciatively. As she leads him to a corner of the room away from glaring eyes, two men stride into the office. Their voices are loud, their demeanor arrogant. They approach receptionist #1. She appears nervous and demands they leave.

“Not without our cheques!” one bellows.

“What do you mean—your cheques?” she asks.

“We are waiting for our fucking money!” says the other.

“You can’t come in here demanding money. You will have to leave!”

“Not until we get our money!”

“If you want to discuss your situation, you must phone the office to arrange an appointment.”

One of the guys strikes a fist hard into his palm. “What’s the fucking phone number?”

She hands him a business card. The other swears at her. They both leave. She calls security. Seconds later, a guard approaches reception. “They left in the elevator,” she explains. “But they might still be in the building.” The guard speaks into his phone.

Thirty minutes later, we are still waiting. The man’s number is finally called, but the young woman who was seated beside him has left. He anxiously raises his hand as if unsure it is his turn. Receptionist #2 checks his number.

“So, what can we do for you today?” she asks.

“I have an appointment.”

Surprise lights up her face. “You have an appointment? Why did you take a number? Didn’t you see the sign?”

He looks around him. She points to a sign taped to a wall beside her, which reads: IF YOU HAVE AN APPOINTMENT, DO NOT TAKE A NUMBER. COME TO RECEPTION AND CHECK IN.

“Well, you are too late, now,” she spits. “Your appointment was half an hour ago. You will have to call to reschedule.” The sign blinks–number 33. “Who is next?” she calls.

Overlooked, the man turns and leaves the office.

It was then I understood why so many people with disabilities are homeless. Many do not know how to read nor write. They don’t understand office protocol, nor the appropriate forms to complete, nor the requirements expected of them, so they believe funding is unavailable. Not all have support workers to help them, so they go without—no income, no home, no food, no clothing, and no dignity.

KATHLEEN WYNNE, it is time to transform Ontario’s ODSP offices

into places of respect, understanding, and support.

If YOU agree, please share this post.

“The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life . . . the children; those who are in the twilight of life . . . the elderly; and those who are in the shadow of life . . . the sick . . . the needy . . . and the disabled.”

— Hubert Humphrey

To discover how I learned to recognize the body language of people who have mental health disorders, join me at the following link and click on my two FASD memoirs and my children’s FASD picture book.

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


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A Mother’s Tears

The Window

The Window

The Window

I can’t believe I cried on the bus. It would not have happened if I had driven to my dental appointment, but, with traffic heavy and parking nonexistent in the downtown core, I use public transportation on dental day. 

After an intense tooth cleaning, and consultation, I caught the bus home. Five minutes into the drive, the bus stopped in dense traffic, and there it was … the window.

At the sight, my lips trembled. Sudden tears flowed down my cheeks. I could not hold back. Amid my horrendous embarrassment, I stared at the beast. It glared back, cold and indifferent. I imagined my daughter, standing there, smiling, as she had twenty years before.

The previous day she had given birth to her first child. At fifteen she had no idea of what the future held, yet she managed a smile as she spotted me approaching the hospital to visit her and my new grandson. Today, I cried on the bus at the memory of her at the hospital window, and recalled the trauma of the past two decades. 

To read of the details of what happened during those twenty years, read my two memoirs Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years. If you are a caregiver to a child with FASD, you and your child would enjoy my children’s picture book titled, Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Along with my fiction, my memoirs, and children’s book are available from your Amazon or the following link.

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

 

 

 

 


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FASD: Childhood Memories

Many children with FASD have fond memories of their childhoods.

Despite the challenges and struggles associated with parenting a child with FASD, the child will often remember their childhood with fondness. Despite the child’s complex behaviors involving meltdowns; screaming, and defiance, which the caregiver would rather forget, the child appears able to ignore the troubled times and recall happier moments.

For example, all four of my grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), who I parented from birth, are now teenagers. Their “do you remember when…” recollections include special family days at Port Dover, Wild Water Works, and Confederation Park. The play area at McDonald’s also holds fond memories, as does shopping at Walmart for new shoes, and toys at Christmas. Though I remember them being difficult to control during our outings, I’m pleased when their recollections include a portrayal of a happy me.

My two ebook memoirs on parenting grandchildren with FAS

are available at the following links, and many other ebook distributors.

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

https://www.kobo.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

 


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FASD Friendships

Understanding FASD friendships!

Many individuals with FASD find friendships complicated, perhaps more so than initially forming the friendship. Social protocol often stands between the individual and his/her friend, forming a barrier between the two. The complex behaviors associated with FASD can cause breakdowns in communication. As the individual often does not understand people’s need for personal space, they might stand too close or interrupt when the friend’s focus is elsewhere.

Wake up! to FAS

Wake up to issues associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

FASD Friendships

Supervision is vital during your child’s play. When with friends, it is important he/she is playing considerately, and enjoying playtime. Before the two meet up, parents of the children should communicate with each other. Knowing where the children are going helps with the decision of supervising. Remember, the longer the child with FASD plays, the more risky the situation becomes. Time opens the door to tiredness, feeling overwhelmed, and, if outside, other kids’ bullying. This usually leads to physical fights. The child with FASD becomes frustrated, and, knowing no other way, might lash out at the kids, goading them into a fight.

Role playing can also help the child with FASD. When the child is in a quiet, stable mood, invite a friend into your home. When your friend arrives, greet them accordingly. Teach your child how to react toward your friend. Role playing can also help your child understand and cope more adequately with stranger-danger.

Cue cards can also help. Play out stories and ask your child to point to the card that holds the key to his/her success. Praise them when correct, direct them calmly when they misunderstand. 

For more information on raising children with FAS, see my two memoirs: Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years, both available from your Amazon, the following links, and most ebook distributors. 

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

https://www.kobo.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

 


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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