Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada


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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


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Available Now!

 My memoir: Two Decades Of Diapers is now available. My book describes the events leading to my becoming a grandma raising four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and the challenges and struggles we faced as a family.

To read a sample, and reviews, and order my book in printed or ebook format, please visit http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com

Two Decades of Diapers is also available in ebook format from Amazon and Smashwords at the following links:

http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Studham/e/B00S3ZJ5R8/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1421779163&sr=8-1

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/BabsAnne


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FASD and Duct Tape!

Hope the title didn’t mislead you! But when a child has FASD it seems EVERYTHING has to be secured to avoid injury.

I remember duct tape being my best friend. One day, many years ago when my grandchildren with FASD were youngsters, on hearing–Mom, come and see!–I went from the kitchen into the living room to see all four tucked neatly into the shelving of the TV unit. They had climbed the shelves and curled up one atop another with the youngest being at the bottom with the door closed.

They were giggling and squirming making the unit shake and creak and look as if any minute it would collapse! After freaking, I purchased cheap plastic panels; those awful opaque yellow ones that were so popular back then, cut them to size and duct taped them over the shelving with enough tape that the panels could not be removed. Goodness, it looked awful–but safe!


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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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FASD Teens and Change in Routine

Teens with FASD struggle, just a much as youngsters with FASD, with change in daily routines, tasks, and unexpected schedules like: medical appointments, outings, bus trips, trips to the hairstylist or clothing stores; anything or anywhere which is not part of their everyday habits. One way to combat their stress and potential behaviour issues during such changes is to explain in advance what their week will look like and what will be involved via a chart posted to the fridge.

My teen grandchildren with mental disabilities always ask how long the appointment or errand will last but, as they have difficulty understanding time, I try to describe time in events, not hours, such as: “We will be back by lunch/supper/bed time.” For some reason, when they have the return time locked in, they are much more comfortable with the idea of going somewhere, or doing something unexpected which tells me just how much they see their home as a foundation of security and the outside world as an intimidating place. The assurance of the return to their home seems to be the deciding factor to their agreeing to the change in routine, and lessens the anxiety they might otherwise experience during an outside event.