Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada


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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

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FASD & Homelessness

Homelessness is a serious consequence of FASD!

Wake up! to FAS

Wake up to issues associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

FASD & Homelessness. Children with FASD are often described as ten-second kids in a one-second world, meaning they are always behind in the race of life. While true, through my experience raising grandchildren with FASD, I would suggest a change to that teaching: lifetime kids in a one-second world.

Continual repetition of a directive is vital for children with FASD. While the child lives at home, such repetition is available from a supportive caregiver, but once the child becomes an adult and leaves home, the support often stops, and the individual is left to their own devices. One consequence of this is homelessness.

Homelessness is a serious issue for adults with FASD. The stress of homelessness can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, isolation, loneliness, substance abuse, and criminal activity. One might believe homeless people are lazy and should pick themselves up, get support, and make some kind of effort to get off the streets, but guess what, a person with FASD is not always aware of available supports. No one is born knowing the availability of social services. Unless someone makes the effort to inform a disable person of the supports available, chances are they will believe they are entirely on their own when it comes to making change: an impossible task for someone with FASD.

FASD & Homelessness.

To learn more about the struggles and challenges associated with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, read my second memoir, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, the sequel to my first memoir, titled, Two Decade of Diapers.

FAS: The Teen Years

Now Available: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years. Barbara Studham’s memoir sequel to Two Decades Of Diapers

The following is an excerpt from that memoir…

It is two in the morning. I am lying on my bed. My mind races while my eyes droop sleepily but not until I hear the front door open and my fifteen-year old grandson, Cracker, walk inside, will I allow myself sleep. Yes, he will be high, that’s a given, and he more than likely shoplifted to pay for his weed… but, is he safe? Please, please, let him be safe.  

Normal teen activities elude Cracker. Arrested numerous times for criminal activity including shoplifting, stealing bikes, vandalism, threatening with a knife, and resisting arrest, he is released back into my custody each time because his Fetal Alcohol Syndrome deems him less of a delinquent and more of a victim.

“Next time, Buddy,” the police officer says, giving him a stern look. “Next time, you won’t be so lucky. Next time you will be charged. Next time you will have to pay… next time… next time… next time.”

Despite the warnings, during the four years he has broken the law, next time has never come. Will it come today? At times like this, when fearful over Cracker’s whereabouts and craving reassurance, my thoughts slip back fifteen years to when I first saw him… excerpt from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years. Chapter 3. Copyright 2016 Barbara Studham.

Barbara Studham's ebooks

Barbara Studham’s ebooks

FASD & Homelessness.

All my books, memoir and fiction, including Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, are available from your Amazon Store, the following links, and many ebook distributors.

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

https://www.store.kobobooks.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

For more information visit my author blog at 

http://www.barbarastudham.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: Interrupting Conversation

Hearing Their Voice

FASD 2016

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

FASD: Interrupting Conversation. Many individuals with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome interrupt when people are talking. Often the interruption is loud and urgent with no similarity to what is being discussed. Feeling ignored, they intrude on others’ conversation to attract attention, but they are then left wondering what to say. If the people initially speaking are unaware of their mental disorder, they see this intrusion as annoying.

FASD: Interrupting Conversation

But, such an intrusion should be managed with a smile and an invitation to join in the conversation. The initial discussion can be resumed later when the individual is reassured they are not being ignored. Feeling overlooked can frighten an individual with a mental disorder as it can be perceived as permanent; hence, their anxious interruption. But, when the attention is turned toward them, they panic equally over the limelight and expectation of having something important to say. This often results in them blurting out a triviality or even nonsense. It is, of course, then up to the able-minded person to take what is said and run with it to make a conversation, thereby putting the individual at ease and assured what they say is important.

FASD: Interrupting Conversation

When speaking with an individual with FAS or any mental illness, avoid asking questions as they can become frustrated at not knowing how to answer. Instead, say something along the lines of—“It is very cold today. I need to make sure I wear my hat and gloves when I go out. I noticed that you have gloves in your pocket; good for you. That’s a wise decision.” But don’t expect an answer, rather a reaction, as the child will most likely pull the gloves from their pocket and put them on. Then you can say—“I like your gloves. They look very warm. I have nice gloves too. Look at the snowflake on the front. I chose them because I particularly like snowflakes.”

At the time, you might think your conversation was meaningless to the child, but you can be assured that next time he/she is bought gloves, he/she will insist they have snowflakes on them—just like the snowflake man/woman that you will be remembered as.

The simplest kind act of chatting and laughing with a child with FAS can have an enormous positive outcome, so don’t think your time has not made an impression. By the same token, shunning or ignoring the child influences them negatively.

Download for FREE my two memoirs:

Two Decades Of Diapers

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years

from my website

http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com 

Two Decades Of Diapers

Barbara Studham’s memoir: Two Decades Of Diapers

Two Decades Of Diapers. Are you an individual with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or a caregiver/support worker to an individual with FAS? Are you considering adopting or fostering a child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? Or are you a reader simply interested in the effects of mental illness. If so, then for these, and many other reasons, Two Decades of Diapers is essential reading. During my twenty years of single-handedly raising four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the temptation to run from this often uncontrollable mental illness and all the struggles it brought into my 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 illness. 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. FREE to download! Also available in paperback from http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com.

FAS: The Teen Years

Now Available: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years. Barbara Studham’s memoir sequel to Two Decades Of Diapers

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years.  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 illness caused by pre-natal exposure to alcohol. I spent twenty years raising grandchildren with FAS. 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.

However, 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 mental illness 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 and FREE to download from my website: http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

See my Fetal Alcohol Syndrome playlist on Youtube.com


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New Book Now Available

FREE to DOWNLOAD!

My memoir, Two Decades Of Diapers, and its sequel,

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years,

are now free to download to an e-reader from my website

http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

FREE to DOWNLOAD!

Two Decades Of Diapers

Barbara Studham’s memoir: Two Decades Of Diapers

Two Decades Of Diapers. 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 illness. If so, then for these, and many other reasons, Two Decades of Diapers is essential reading. During author, Barbara Studham’s, twenty years of single-handedly raising four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the temptation to run from this often uncontrollable mental illness and all the struggles it brought into her world, was significant. Despite her grandchildren’s strengths, their Fetal Alcohol Syndrome caused severe behavioral issues, eventually overwhelming her parenting abilities resulting in a breakdown of the family unit she 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 illness. In her memoir, Barbara describes the challenges her adopted daughter with FAS endured, her teen pregnancies, how Barbara became a grandmother raising grandchildren with FAS, and the crises, shattered dreams, and strength and love they share.

NEW BOOK NOW AVAILABLE

FREE to DOWNLOAD!

FAS: The Teen Years

Now Available: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, The Teen Years. Barbara Studham’s memoir sequel to Two Decades Of Diapers

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years is the sequel to author, Barbara Studham’s, first memoir: Two Decades Of Diapers. In each memoir, Barbara gives insight into how family life can be ruthlessly disrupted by behavior disorders caused by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: a mental illness caused by pre-natal exposure to alcohol. Barbara Studham spent twenty years raising grandchildren with FAS. Through her wealth of experience with the disorder, she leads us through her desperation, fears, hopes, and prayers while coping with her grandchildren’s teen years. However, Barbara would be the first to admit that while FAS brought a whirlwind of emotions into her life, her grandchildren’s struggles to cope with mental illness far outweighs any trauma she has 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.

 

All of my books are available at http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble,

and other fine ebook distributors.


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FASD: Following Directions

Easily Distracted

FASD 2016

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

 

FASD: Following Directions. Individuals with FASD often have difficulty following directions as external stimuli cause distraction. While instructing my grandchildren, who struggle with FAS, in a particular task, I’ve lost count of the number of times they were distracted by a single sound or movement in the room. Getting them back on track meant starting all over again; only to be interrupted by a similar distraction.

FASD: Following Directions

To offset the distractions, it is important to provide as quiet an environment as possible then keep the instructions short and understandable. Showing the child what to do, as opposed to explaining the expectation, will produce a more positive result.

FASD: Following Directions

Having the child repeat the directions might help. Giving them plenty of time to fulfill the expectation is vital; as is, watching for undue stress, and reminding them of instructions along the way. Never set up a child with FASD to fail. Positive reinforcement of their attempts to succeed will encourage them to keep trying.

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


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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.

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