Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada


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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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There’s a New Group in town!

Over the past few years, first cities, now countries are becoming more tolerant of LGBTQ individuals. It is wonderful to see how accepting communities can be when they open their minds to groups or individuals who are considered minorities, undesirables, or less vital to the community.

But there is another group in town who, for many years, has been overlooked in the acceptance department. They are the FASD’s who, like LGBTQ’s, struggle to maintain an identity.

Why? Because persons with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder are considered less valuable than those who don’t struggle with mental illness and are therefore disposable. Yet, despite their struggles, with proper supports, such individuals are equally capable of contributing to society in positive ways. And not only to society, but to people involved in their lives.

For example, having been sole caregiver to one daughter, and four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome over a span of three decades, I am not the person I was before parenting. Due to a difficult childhood, I was withdrawn, had few goals for my life, and cared little for others. Now, I advocate for individuals with FASD through speaking engagements and my memoir: Two Decades Of Diapers. I search for resources for my grandchildren to get them the best support they deserve; I blog on FASD (www.challengedhope.com) and have a website on FASD (www.twodecadesofdiapers.com), all in the hope of raising awareness about FASD. Awareness leads to eventual acceptance, so those who struggle with the disorder will no longer need to hang their heads in shame. Tolerance of FASD is long overdue. Let’s start opening our minds to mental health disorders today.

My memoir: Two Decades Of Diapers is available in paperback and ebook from:

Also available in ebook format from:


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FASD Teens and Directions

As with youngsters with FASD, teens with FASD also struggle with following multiple directions, often saying, and looking as if, they understand when in fact they don’t. Although repeating directions can be tiring, success depends on only one or two directions being given at a time.

My experience with raising teen grandchildren with FASD has been that if the requirement needs multiple directions, for example: tidying their room, they were more likely to succeed if they knew where everything “goes”- those books go together on the shelf; your jeans belong in this drawer (label); the fitted sheet which goes over the mattress is sewn at the ends (show them); etc.

As they struggled to understand, tidying their rooms with them several times at first and repeating where everything belonged helped. The next time I showed them how to make the bed plus ask them to put a few things away. This allowed for the multiple directions to be understood at a slower pace until it was “locked in” and they understood the requirements. I realize it’s all so time consuming, but in the long term single directions will save time and energy and produce successful results both for child and caregiver.

Of course, nothing is ever perfect, but that’s okay because I don’t expect perfection from anyone. And even now I will offer to help my grandchildren tidy their rooms as they have accumulated lots of “stuff” and get confused as to where it all belongs, but that’s okay too, as it’s time spent together and that’s never a bad thing!


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Childhood Incest

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Viga Boland, author of No Tears For My Father. She is a survivor of incest and, in her book, writes about her experiences with this terrible crime. I realize this subject is of a sensitive nature, but if you would like to read how this evil oppression can destroy the minds of children, please go to the top menu bar of my website and hover over Expert Views, reading down the list until you find Viga Boland, Incest Survivor or visit her website at http://www.vigaboland.com.