Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada


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Hallowe’en and FASD

Kids with FASD enjoy Hallowe’en, too!

FASD Pumpkin

The FASD Pumpkin: Remember some Trick or Treaters have mental difficulties

 

Hallowe’en and FASD

When you are handing out candies this Hallowe’en, please remember some trick or treaters might have FASD and be over-the-top exuberant. So to avoid turning ghosties or vampires into real-life monsters, please check out these tips.

  1. Many children with FASD have poor vision, so keep your porch and driveway well lit to avoid tumbles on your property.
  2. Avoid growing angry if a trick or treater pushes through the crowd for candy. Children with FASD don’t always understand rules of etiquette but are afraid of being left out.
  3. Over-exuberance can cause loud noises. But they are simply whoops of enjoyment from kids rarely involved in neighborhood events.
  4. Many children with FASD function lower than their chronological age, so if some “big kids” knock on your door, don’t panic. After all, it’s only one candy.
  5. Don’t put down kids costumes. Many caregivers of children with FASD encourage them to make their own costumes. So if a vampire has green blood, or Spiderman got confused with Superman, brush it aside.
  6. Hallowe’en is a fun night for kids with FASD as they don’t need an invitation. Unlike birthday parties, it’s for everyone, so don’t get mad if they don’t say please or thank you for the candy, or run across your lawn. When overly excited to be part of the crowd, they tend to forget their manners.

Hallowe’en and FASD: Remember, FASD is no laughing matter!

My Websites:

http://www.challengedhope.com

http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

All my books are available at:

http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

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

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FASD Day, September 9th

It is FASD Day on September 9th!

FASD Day, September 9th

September 9th each year is FASD Day to promote awareness of the disorder

 

September 9th of each year is FASD Day. Someone recently texted me to ask if I was doing anything special to promote awareness of FASD on this special day. To my shame, I could not generate one idea of how to highlight FASD, the most preventable form of mental illness. For twenty years, I have raised grandchildren with FASD, so I cope with the disorder on a daily basis, but to create an advocating event, for me, proved impossible due to time and financial limitations.

So, today, September 9th 2015,  I am relying on this blog to advocate for me. It’s where I post content about FASD. Although getting people to read it can be a struggle in itself. To give you an idea of that struggle, take note of what happened regarding my previous blog post.

As a blogger advocating for FASD, I naturally joined Facebook groups to find members who do the same. And, when my teenage granddaughter, who has FASD, offered to advocate for students with FASD through strategies for teachers, and allowed her strategies to be posted on this blog, I was ecstatic. Is this how it works?—I thought—one person raises, the next generation advocates? Perhaps my twenty years of overwhelming stress is finally paying off!

FASD Day, September 9th.

Excited over her contribution, I turned to one FASD advocating Facebook group that boasts over seventeen thousand members, to post a request for members to read my granddaughter’s strategies then offer her encouragement to continue advocating. Naturally, I hoped they would also “share” or “like” the post, but a supportive comment would have sufficed.

No, I didn’t expect seventeen thousand people to respond to my blog post, but one would have been nice. But the reaction was a disappointing zip! Last time I checked, there were two comments, not from members of the Facebook group, but from friends who care. Of course, I appreciate their supportive comments, but where are the advocates? Isn’t that what FASD day is all about—promoting and advocating? If not one in seventeen thousand advocates are interested in supporting a newbie advocate like my granddaughter who struggles daily with FASD, why would we expect people who know little to nothing about FASD to show interest in the topic?

This turning of backs by people on the front line needs to end. So, fearing I might become one of them, while it is too late this year, I promise to promote awareness of FASD on FASD Day, September 9th 2016! Please join me!

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FAS: Starting a New School

FAS: Starting a New School

Tips to Remember for FAS: Starting a New School

FAS: Starting a New School

All children react when starting a new school, whether they have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or not, but kids with FAS can overreact to the situation. The following tips for starting a new school stem from my own experiences with FAS grandchildren.

  • Before school begins, drive by the school while out shopping, etc., using a positive tone to remind the child it will be their new school.
    • Tour the school with your child before the start date.
  • Take your child to meet the teacher. Then ask the child to draw/paint a picture of their new school and teacher. Post it on fridge and admire it in front of the child when family or friends visit.
  • Take photos of the school and interior as a reminder for the child of what to expect and post them on fridge. Apply colorful, funny stickers to the photos.
  • Do a count down a week before on the calendar. Use fun stickers. Encourage your child to cross off the days.
  • If you work, take a photo of yourself smiling at your job then remind the child that is where you will be, and you will be thinking of them the entire day.
  • Acknowledge separation anxiety and its consequences.
  • Explain there will be something special waiting for them on their return: favorite food, dollar-store items.
  • Let the child ask as many questions as needed. Smile whenever you mention school. It’s important to keep the mood upbeat.
  • Prepare the child the night before by preparing the lunch, laying out clothes, and stuffing backpack, avoiding a rushed atmosphere the following morning.
  • If friends will be attending the new school, remind your child of who they are.
  • Reassure the child as much as possible, but don’t give in to pressure.
  • Have an emergency contact at the ready in case the child is dismissed early due to behavior.
  • Expect problems so you won’t be disappointed.

FAS: Starting a New School

The best people to ask for advice around starting a new school, are children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and one of those children is my youngest granddaughter with FAS who is now a teen.  Following, are her strategies for teachers educating students with FAS. She insists all the strategies worked for her, plus, she thinks my blog is cool and helpful to others, and wants to get involved.

“Thank you, darling, and congratulations on this defining moment as you take your first step toward advocating for children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. I love you and look forward to many more of your posts”

My youngest teenage granddaughter with FAS, suggests the following strategies for teachers. She told me, I just typed:

  • It helps if the child knows the teacher well before starting the school. Have more than one meetup with the teacher before the day arrives so the child remembers who the teacher is. (Grandma thinks this a great idea. Perhaps several meet ups over the month of August could be arranged with the teacher)
  • Supply fidget toys for the child, i.e. stress balls, floam, mini stuffies, available from any dollar store by either teacher or parent. Teacher must not get agitated if the child uses the fidget toys a little too noisily during a class.
  • Absolutely NO YELLING on the teacher’s part. It makes things worse and the loud noise upsets the child.
  • The teacher should give advance warning before ending one subject and beginning another.
  • If the child is becoming overwhelmed, distract the child with another activity.
  • If the child finds it difficult to write down instructions, have them take a photo (cell phone) of the instructions instead, i.e. from the chalk/white board and read the instructions from there.
  • To raise the child’s confidence promote them to helper of a chore you know they can do.
  • Supply free time on electronics, board games etc., as a reward for positive attitude.
  • Supply stuffies for recess/sick time.
  • If a fight with another student ensues, ask for an explanation then instruct the child to walk with a friend while listening to music to allow for calm down time.
That is interesting! Each one of the strategies has helped my granddaughter achieve success at school. But I hasten to add she has an amazing teacher, which helps no end when parents are advocating for their children’s education. As this is her first contribution to this website, please leave a comment of support as she steps out of her comfort zone to help others!

 My websites:

http://www.challengedhope.com

http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

All 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 Marathon

Get Your Running Shoes On

Running An FASD Marathon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I once heard it said that raising children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is like running an FASD marathon. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what the individual meant but, as my grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome progress through their teenage years, I now know exactly what it means:

  • RUN one step ahead of them. Know their moods. Recognize the onset of a meltdown.
  • EXPECT setbacks, but FORGE AHEAD.
  • Know this takes STAMINA and FOCUS and diminishes ENERGY.
  • PLAN A STRATEGY to prevent losing to their defiance.
  • Stay ON TRACK.
  • STAY HEALTHY so you can cope with the behaviors waiting to TRIP YOU UP.
  • Don’t FALL, never FAIL, NEVER GIVE UP.
  • KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE FINISH LINE; only when night falls can you say you WON.

You see, it is a marathon. So get on those sneakers and start running! I’m sure many caregivers of teens with FASD can come up with more tips on winning the FASD marathon. So, let’s hear them. Please leave a comment.

Please check out my memoir: Two Decades of Diapers, and my other books at:

 


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Event: Hamilton, Ontario

On Saturday, May 30 at 10:00 am, I will be speaking at Hamilton FASD Caregivers Support Group about my experiences while raising grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. For details, please visit this link: http://hamiltonfasdsupport.ca/10.html. Hope to see you there!

My memoir: Two Decades Of Diapers describes my twenty years raising grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Available in paperback and ebook from:

Also available in ebook format from:


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FASD: Diagnosis

Obtaining a diagnosis of FASD can be extremely difficult, often frustrating parents who recognize the signs and symptoms in their child. But a confirmed diagnosis can open the door to vital services without which the child runs the risk of becoming a homeless or incarcerated adult. I cringe on hearing that children/adults with a confirmed diagnosis of FASD are embarrassed over their diagnosis. Due to stigma attached to mental illness, their decision to never mention their disorder is understandable but can limit services they deserve and cause chaos in their future.

Accepting and supporting mental illness is the first step to removing boundaries between those who struggle with mental illness and those who don’t. Communities must start listening to caregivers, support workers, advocates and, most of all, the individuals affected by FASD who should never feel pressured to hide their diagnosis in order not to offend the sensibilities of others. We are all in this together.

My memoir: Two Decades Of Diapers describes my twenty years raising grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Available in paperback and ebook from:

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FASD Fact: Sensory Issues

Sensory issues can be a huge obstacle to individuals with FASD obtaining independence. It’s not just a case of the label at the back of the t-shirt irritating their skin. It goes much deeper, causing an abhorrence or fear of completing daily tasks like, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and hygiene. My grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome struggle daily with sensory issues, some severe enough to cause trauma. Read more in my memoir Two Decades Of Diapers, available in print or ebook from http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com. Also available from Amazon, Kobo, and other fine ebook distributors. #FASDFACTS