Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada


Leave a comment

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

Advertisements


Leave a comment

FASD Podcast

Hear My Radio Interview!

FASD Art Waves Radio Podcast

Hear my FASD Art Waves Radio Podcast

It was my privilege to be interviewed live by Art Waves radio host, Bernadette Rule, on Sunday, March 13, 2016, on the subject of FASD and also my memoirs: Two Decades Of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, plus my novellas. My two memoirs are FREE to download to an e-reader from my website,

http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

My memoirs and novellas are available from

http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and other ebook distributors

Follow this link to my FASD Podcast:

https://archive.org/details/279BarbaraStudhamMar.132016

and discover the wonderful opportunity Bernadette gave me to voice my experiences raising four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; the mental health disorders caused by mixing pregnancy and alcohol, and the FASD resources available in Hamilton/Wentworth, ON, including the Hamilton FASD Caregiver Support Group. I also spoke on the gaps in services for caregivers raising children with FASD, and my upcoming event on FASD Awareness with speakers Mark Courtepatte and Tim Groenewegen at Turner Park Library in Hamilton, ON, on March 24th at 7:00 pm. We hope to see YOU there!

Download my two memoirs on FASD for FREE from http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com.


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

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

 

 


Leave a comment

FASD: Getting the Word out!

Speak Up!

 

FASD 2016

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

FASD: Getting the Word out! In 2016, let’s get the word out on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Let’s give those with this mental illness a voice. So often, individuals with FASD don’t speak out because they either don’t know how to, or don’t know who to ask for support. It is up to us caregivers, support workers, and people who care, to be their voice.

FASD: Getting the Word out! Speaking up for those who struggle with mental illness is not difficult, especially if you like to voice your opinion through social networks. Discuss Fetal Alcohol Syndrome with your followers. Do they know what it is? Do you know what it is? If not, read the following, then forward this post to your contacts through emails and social networking sites.

Speak Up!

What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? According to health information, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the most severe form of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): a term used to describe the full range of permanent birth defects caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. Meaning, if a woman drinks during her pregnancy, she runs the risk of her child being born with a mental disorder. Physical signs of FAS include growth deficiency, craniofacial abnormalities, and brain damage that presents as structural, functional, and neurological impairments. Significant traits of FAS affect the memory, the ability to plan or process directions, reasoning, judgment, and assessment.

FASD: Getting the Word out! For twenty years, I raised four grandchildren, each with a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Responsible for their relentless behavior disorders, social anxieties, sensory issues, and defiance, FAS disrupted our world. With no cure for the disorder, their futures look bleak because without continuous support, children with FAS are more likely to grow into homeless, law-breaking adults, with substance addictions, and a loss of family ties.

Securing a diagnosis of FASD can be difficult. In some locations, a diagnosis will only be confirmed when symptoms are present and the birth mother admits to drinking alcohol during her pregnancy. Some argue that a woman might drink alcohol unaware she is pregnant or what alcohol can do to the fetus, and are therefore blameless for the child’s Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. But if a woman is planning a pregnancy, is sexually active without using birth control, or is relying on an unpredictable form of birth control, it makes sense for her to avoid alcohol at all times.

FASD: Getting the Word out! Given the high rate of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in children, one has to question if enough information is available to women on the risks involved when drinking alcohol during pregnancy. To encourage responsibility, the woman’s partner, family, and friends also need such information. Their encouraging the mother not to drink alcohol while sexually active, or pregnant, will lower the risk of the child being born with FAS.

Testing for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can be arduous and expensive but is the only sure way to discover if an individual has the disorder. Without the diagnosis, supports and services are often inaccessible; services essential to managing the monumental challenges of FAS.

Teens with FAS are more likely to self-medicate with alcohol and illegal drugs and, due to behavioral concerns associated with the disorder, invariably have trouble with authority, often leading to incarceration and isolation. As the brain with FAS is permanently impaired, it is a life-long mental illness.

FAS is the most easily  prevented mental illness through

the abstinence

of alcohol during pregnancy.

Speak Up!

Thank you for sharing this post with your friends and followers. My book, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years (available soon) offers a glimpse into various challenging episodes my four grandchildren with FAS and I experienced during the past twenty years. While distressing to read, such crises can occur often in the life of an individual with FAS. If you are considering adopting a child with FAS, or are a mental health worker, a teen with FAS, or want to broaden your understanding of this very preventable mental illness, my first memoir: Two Decades Of Diapers which describes my journey to becoming a grandmother raising four young grandchildren with FAS, and my new memoir Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, are essential reading.

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


Leave a comment

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

https://www.store.kobobooks.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Other fine ebook distributors

 


2 Comments

A Sofa Full Of Memories

A New Sofa, A New Era!

Today, I’m getting a new sofa. My old one is twenty-two years old, sagging, food stained, crumb-filled, and most likely a bit smelly. But, oh my gosh, does that couch hold memories! I purchased it way back in l993—one year before I bought a sweet, little, black and white kitten who eventually died at the old age of twenty; two years before I discovered my teenage daughter was pregnant; three years before I took custody of my eldest grandson; six years before I had custody of my next two grandchildren born eleven months apart, and nine years before I was granted custody of my youngest granddaughter.

A sofa full of memories!

That sofa has seen a lot of activity—it’s been jumped on, screamed on, napped on, had food spilled on, climbed on, been vomited on, drawn on, watched tv from, and been timed-out on. It has had baby’s diapers changed on, Christmas and Birthday gifts opened on, and tears shed on (mostly mine).  It’s been dusted, vacuumed, and washed umpteen times. It’s been moved around rooms and moved to another house. But it’s now so uncomfortable that I had to slide a piece of wood under the cushions so I wouldn’t sink down to the floor when I sit. Even visitors avoid it.

So, it lies, a sorry sight, out in the yard waiting to be picked up by the garbage collectors. How sad it looks, as if it knows it is no longer welcome in our home. And sadly, it isn’t.

A sofa full of memories!

I can’t wait for my new sofa to arrive! It’s like waiting for the New Year’s Eve disco ball to drop in Times Square, because a new couch means a new era in life—hopefully a happy one. And, even though, my grandchildren will destroy it little by little, it too will embrace our memories as I continue to raise my grandchildren, write blog posts and books, and advocate for those with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Its only consolation being, by the time it reaches twenty-two years of age, I will most likely not be around to replace it!

Some Of My Books

All 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