Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada


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Two new books in the series Strawberry and Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, by Barbara Studham

New releases on AMAZON

The Birthday Bash

The Twins Learn Of Their Disorder

THE BIRTHDAY BASH

Strawberry and Cracker are twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. They live with their grandma and her dog, Thunder.  In The Birthday Bash, the twins receive a party invitation from their big brother Rocky who lives with his foster parents. But, Grandma is nervous. The noise and liveliness associated with parties can overwhelm a child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and result in misbehavior or meltdowns. Rocky’s Foster dad, Sergio, suggests strategies for a successful celebration, but when the festivities begin, the stimulation escalates the twins’ behavior to the point of ruining Rocky’s party. With Strawberry’s attempt to start a food fight, the twins’ destruction of the decorations, and their howls at the noise of musical chairs, Grandma decides it is time to leave!

THE BIRTHDAY BASH is suitable for children ages 5-12. Available from AMAZON.
ISBN: 978-1-988092-15-7 Story by Barbara Studham, illustrated by Heather Lamb.

THE TWINS LEARN OF THEIR DISORDER

The Twins Learn of Their Disorder is one in the Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome series.  In the story, the twins’ recent medical evaluation resulted in a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Now, they are at their pediatrician’s office to learn of their disorder. When the doctor informs them of the diagnosis, the twins imagine whimsical and whacky problems associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; however, the doctor helps them avoid panic through a positive and constructive discussion in her office. The Twins Learn of Their Disorder is a helpful teaching tool during discussion with a child about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

THE TWINS LEARN OF THEIR DISORDER is suitable for children ages 5-12. Available from AMAZON.
ISBN: 978-1-988092-17-1 Story and illustrations by Barbara Studham

Other books in the series Strawberry and Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


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.

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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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

 


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Great Expectations

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is preventable, not curable.

FASD 2016

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

 

After twenty years of raising four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, my care-giving duties are winding down and will eventually end. For my grandchildren, however, FAS will never end. For their entire lives, they will wake up each day facing mental illness. My heart cries for them, especially when FAS is preventable.

Great Expectations

Societies’ expectations for individuals with FAS to overcome the challenges associated with mental illness and achieve success are considerable. However, despite my intense care-giving, their special education, and services they receive for people with mental disabilities, every day, my grandchildren struggle to fulfill the basics of daily living, let alone have the ability to reach some idealized expectation placed upon them by the world. Why waste time setting far-fetched goals for people with FAS? Instead, learn about the disability, their individual needs, complex behaviors, social skills, and learning disabilities, and, despite the limitations of mental illness, strive to make them feel worthwhile within their communities.

My Memoirs

For a limited time, my two memoirs describing the twenty years I raised my grandchildren with FAS, are FREE to download to an e-reader from my website:

http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com.

They are also available to purchase from Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook distributors.


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FASD: Changing Viewpoints

That Was Easy!

This is a long post, but anyone caring for an individual with FASD will find it encouraging!

FASD: Changing Viewpoints. 

I recently invited three friends to attend the Hamilton (Ontario) FASD Caregiver Support Group, hosted by Mark Courtepatte and Savanna Pietrantonio. The group meets on the last Saturday of each month, and is attended by caregivers and guardians of children and teens with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Its informal environment allows for the exchange of frustrations, references to services, discussions of prayers, hopes, and dreams for the children, the release of anxiety, and the reassurance that one is not alone in raising children with FASD.

On my invitation, my friends graciously agreed to attend. Though they knew little of FASD going in, when the session began, it took only minutes for their eyes to be opened to the realities of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and how it plays out for the majority of families. Here, in my friends’ own unedited words are their thoughts on how that group meeting affected them.

Heather… “Glad you could make it,” said Barbara, as I walked into the conference room and took a chair beside her.  Barbara had invited members of our writing group to attend her monthly group support meeting. It was my first time at an FASD meeting. I thought I knew what to expect. The room soon filled to the brim with parents, grandparents, and young teens. A family sat next to me; Mom, Dad and two daughters. The girls were loud, boisterous, and unsettled.  They twirled in the rotating chairs, bumping my chair as they fidgeted. They couldn’t sit still for more than a few minutes. When the meeting began, they giggled and talked to each other, instead of keeping a “respectful” silence.

Wow, I thought to myself, if these girls acted like this in church, or at a school play, or somewhere else, I would have ‘tut-tutted’ and been annoyed their parents didn’t discipline them. Maybe I would have thought they had ADHD. I may have assumed the girls had not been taught “civilized” manners by their parents. But because I knew their condition, I simply sat quietly and accepted them.  I didn’t know much, but I knew FASD children had behavioral issues.

However, I didn’t know those girls were jumping out of their skins in that conference room. I didn’t know that crowds, loud noises, changes to daily routines and strangers made it impossible for them to remain quiet. I didn’t know they left the room to get relief from the atmosphere they were in. I didn’t know it was a coping mechanism they used to keep themselves from unraveling. It seems I knew little to nothing about the behavioral issues of FASD children.

I soon learned how difficult the job of an FASD parent is. Discipline, I discovered, is the exact wrong thing to use. Yelling at a child with FASD increases the problem. Quiet reasoning, understanding and respect are required. Repetition is necessary to teach daily routines and consequences. Vigilance is needed to keep the children safe, because FASD kids lack the ability to fully understand the ramifications of their actions. I had no idea the strength and tenacity it takes to be a parent of one of these children.

“The mental healthcare system needs major training in the area of FASD treatment,” said the facilitator of the group. “Misdiagnosis is rampant. Doctors often lack the knowledge to differentiate FASD from ADHD, autism, and other conditions. Medications used to treat these other conditions are drastically wrong for kids with FASD. Changes are coming slowly as the medical field starts to understand what parents of FASD children have been saying for years.”

How was it possible that doctors knew little more than I did? And not only doctors! Teachers, caregivers, social workers and adoption agencies are woefully under-educated about this syndrome. The public, too, is drastically uninformed. Changes are coming in these areas, but once again, time is crawling by. Parents are left to lobby for funding and assistance, to educate the public and to support each other until the changes come. Parents and children of FASD have been suffering alone and misunderstood for decades, perhaps for centuries. I say centuries, because I also learned that FASD can manifest itself in a child across three generations. And the condition can come through the father or the mother. I had often misjudged mothers of FASD children. I thought I knew it all about those mothers. They must have drunk alcohol throughout their pregnancies. How could they be so careless, selfish and neglectful?

Well, guess what? Even one drink may be enough to cause FASD in an unborn child!  And that drink may have passed the lips of the mother or the father. I was astounded to learn that any of us on the earth could be affected, since it is certain that very few had parents, grandparents or great-grandparents who never imbibed a single glass of alcohol. No, I didn’t know much about FASD at all, until I attended that FASD support group. I listened in awe to the stories, challenges and advice discussed by those who are passionate about and affected by FASD. I learned a lot. But, the most important thing I learned is that it is so very easy to pass judgment while living in a world shrouded in ignorance.  It’s a lesson I won’t forget… Heather.

Viga… I recently attended an FASD group meeting that dispelled any illusions I had about the long-term, very harmful effects of drinking alcohol while pregnant. I was unfamiliar with FASD until I read Barbara Studham’s remarkable book, “Two Decades of Diapers”. What I read there both concerned and shocked me, especially since I have a teenage granddaughter who has always exhibited many characteristics of FASD children. As so many parents and doctors do, I had put her often-upsetting behaviours down to ADHD and/or Dyslexia.

After attending the FASD support group, my suspicions were confirmed: I learned that a mother, even having just one drink when she doesn’t yet know she’s pregnant runs the risk of having a child with FASD. Sadly, I now have to conclude that my dear granddaughter may indeed be an FASD child, not ADHD. At that meeting, if was further upsetting to learn from parents of FASD children that the medical profession is far from enlightened about FASD and prescribes meds for ADHD instead. This is unacceptable!

My friend, Barbara Studham’s books: Two Decades Of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, will shed much needed light on this issue. I highly recommend that groups interested in knowing more about FASD read Barbara’s books. This is a woman who has lived with what she now writes about to help others. Invite her to speak to your groups. The child you help may well be your own… Viga

Karen… My knowledge of FASD was very limited until I had the opportunity to visit a meeting of the Hamilton FASD support group. I learned that although most children with FASD ‘look normal’ they do have issues with attention span, behavior and authority. I also learned that there are various degrees of FASD and that all have been recently acknowledged under the umbrella of FASD. Some children with FASD are very bright and do well in school academically but are emotionally exhausted by the end of the day resulting in ‘melt downs’ at home. These children require a lot of ‘one-on-one’ sessions to understand and control their outbursts. Others are bullied because they don’t fit the norm and have learning difficulties.

It was interesting to see the working companion FASD dog in-training brought to the group by an attendee with FASD. This puppy was progressing so well that he diffused two melt-downs during the meeting. This dog had just returned with his trainer from an FASD conference where, we were told, he sat patiently through the full two days of meetings.

All the parents attending the support group appeared to be adoptive parents who were championing for these children. They are advocating for diagnostic testing, support to work with the children, and education of the public. This was relevant for me as I’m involved with a Youth Leadership Program and need to be aware of the possibilities affecting personalities… Karen.

Changing Viewpoints

From the above comments from my friends, you can imagine my delight at their learning so much about FASD from only one group meeting. This proves that getting information out on FASD is vital. So let’s get it in the medical community; schools; the workplace; on social media; in women’s group; community meetings, and anywhere else possible! Tell your friends, family, colleagues, and anyone else you know about the problems related to drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

If you would like more information on the Hamilton (Ontario) Caregiver Support Group, please visit this website:

Hamilton FASD Parent & Caregiver Support GroupWebsite:  http://hamiltonfasdsupport.ca 

email: Hamilton.FASD@gmail.com 


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FASD: Consider the Consequences

I didn’t mean to do it!

FASD 2016

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

Consider the Consequences. Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome don’t always realize that actions have consequences, nor learn easily from their mistakes. Mental disorders are tricky; often causing the individual to either disregard their safety, or not realize there is a safety issue to consider.

One example of this is when children with FAS grow into youths and learn they are not welcome within popular friendship circles. Desperate to form their own friendships, they are often taken advantage of by those who sense their despair. These individuals can be anyone: gang members, drug dealers, sexual predators, addicts, alcoholics; anyone who knows how to use vulnerable children.

The youth has no idea of the perpetrator’s intentions which are to have their selfish needs met. The youth is simply overjoyed to have friends who appear to care and will do anything to keep the friendship alive. Unfortunately, this often involves breaking the law and/or being sexually used, and abused.

Consider the Consequences. Over time, the youth becomes so ensconced in that way of life that any semblance of normality is discarded. Their “friends” encourage them to thumb their noses at the law, use illegal drugs, carry weapons, and do unnatural things to their bodies. The youth often ends up in jail, often for their own crimes but more likely through covering for the criminal acts of others.

Consider the Consequences. If you are pregnant, or are planning a pregnancy, please stop drinking alcohol now. It is the only defense against your child having Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and possibly growing up to a life of crime, loneliness, and despair.

DOWNLOAD FREE from my website: www.twodecadesofdiapers.com: My two memoirs describing my twenty years raising four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Two Decades Of Diapers

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years

My Websites:

www.challengedhope.com

www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

Author, Barbara Studham's Collage of Books

See all of Barbara Studham’s books at http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com and http://www.amazon.com

 

See All My Books, memoir and fiction, available from:

http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

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

https://www.store.kobobooks.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Other fine ebook distributors


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Upcoming Events

Watch for these upcoming events!

  • Upcoming Event: Sunday, March 13th 2016. 7:00-8:00 pm

I will be speaking about my memoirs and FASD on ARTWAVES: a live radio broadcast from Mohawk College. ARTWAVES is an arts interview radio program which airs live every Sunday, from 7-8 pm, at 101.5 FM. Google “l0l5 The Hawk” to listen to the program in real time, or listen to podcasts at archives.org/details/artwaves.

  • Upcoming Event: Thursday, March 24th 2016, 7:00-8:30 pm

I will be hosting an FASD event evening at Turner Park Library, Hamilton, Ontario. Speakers will include Mark Courtepatte and Savanna Petriano from Hamilton FASD Caregivers Support Group, and Tim Groenewegen, a special needs educator with the HWDSB. Together we hope to bring information, guidance, and support to those interested in learning about FASD, its symptoms, challenges, and services. Event is free.

Download my two memoirs for FREE from my website

http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

Two Decades Of Diapers

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years

Also see me on Youtube

Twitter: @barbarastudham

 


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FASD: Different, Impossible, Disregarded

Feeling Left Out!

FASD 2016

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

Many individuals with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome experience isolation through societies’ apathy toward those with mental disorders. FAS is not always recognizable through physical differences, so when a child’s behavior is seen to be unpredictable, they are often labelled as different. Because people are afraid of different, the needs of children with FAS often get overlooked, or worse, disregarded.

FASD: Different, Impossible, Disregarded

While raising my four grandchildren with FAS, I witnessed people disregarding their needs and their being treated as unemotional beings with no need of inclusion in social activities. But, those to be pitied were not my grandchildren but the people (mostly adults) who misunderstood the mental disorder and saw my grandchildren as trouble. It appeared to take only one wrong step on the children’s part before they were considered impossible and therefore a lost cause.

FASD: Different, Impossible, Disregarded

Including children with FAS in neighborhood activities gives them a sense of belonging but, so often, neighbors ignore this need out of fear of losing control over the activity. To avoid losing control, if you know of a child in your neighborhood with FAS, or other mental illness, and would like to include them in an activity such as your child’s birthday party, considered inviting both the child and the caregiver to the event. Advanced plans made with the caregiver, should anything untoward happen during the party, will offset your fear of losing control. Be aware that loud noises and gatherings can overwhelm a child with FAS, so a shorter length of time for the child to attend the party would make sense; preferably missing the first half-hour when all the kids are arriving, and definitely the time when caregivers are arriving to pick up their children. Simply plan to have the caregiver slip quietly out with the child, but do remember to leave out a party loot bag for the child to enjoy at home, and a phone call to the child expressing your delight at having had them attend will make them feel special. It is called planned inclusion and will boost the child’s confidence, and give them a sense of belonging.

My Websites:

www.challengedhope.com

www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

My Books, available from:

http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

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

https://www.store.kobobooks.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Other fine ebook distributors