Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada


Leave a comment

Hamilton ON ODSP Office.

The Appointment.

I’m sitting in the Hamilton, ON, ODSP office. My grandson has an appointment. Soon, he and his caseworker will walk in and join me. Meanwhile, I take in my surroundings. Cold and unwelcoming, the waiting area easily seats twenty, but only a handful of people surround me. Some sit patiently, others pace. Sitting by the entrance affords me a view of their comings and goings.

A man, I guess to be in his forties, approaches the entrance; his appearance unkempt, his shoes mismatched. Unsure of protocol, he nervously peers around.

A receptionist’s voice strikes the air. “Next!” A number lights up behind her.

Still in the entrance, the man raises his hand.

“Do you have a number?” she calls.

Unsure, he steps back.

“Do you have a number?” she repeats. Her tone is shrill.

He smiles uneasily.

A young woman in the chair next to mine interjects. “The numbers are outside the entrance,” she explains to the man. She points. “There, just behind you. Take one then take a seat and wait your turn.”

He nods in gratitude, takes a number, but remains standing.

“Next!” we hear again.

He strides forward, number in hand. Several people with lesser numbers protest.

“What number do you have?” the receptionist asks.

He looks at the ticket, but shakes his head. He’s unsure.

“Bring it here.” She looks at the number. “You are not next,” she snaps. “You are number 32.” She points to the number sign. “This number is 25. Sit down and wait your turn.”

Gingerly, he sits beside the young woman and waits. I hear her whisper. She tells him she will let him know when they call his number. My grandson and his support worker arrive. He hugs me, which is always nice, but a problem has arisen at reception #2. A young man has received a form to complete.

“Read it, and then sign here, here, and here,” the woman is saying, pointing a finger to each area.

“Where?” the young man asks.

“Here, here, and here!” she repeats.

Body language kicks in. I recognize the signs. The young man doesn’t read well. He most likely can’t sign his name. His eyes glaze over as he tries to think of ways to avoid explaining. Both hands press down hard into his jeans’ pockets. He bites his bottom lip.

“Take the form. Read it, and sign,” she repeats.

A kind voice interjects.  “Would you like some help,” it asks. “I have some free time.”

The young man looks up to see a twenty-something blonde who has just emerged from her office. He nods appreciatively. As she leads him to a corner of the room away from glaring eyes, two men stride into the office. Their voices are loud, their demeanor arrogant. They approach receptionist #1. She appears nervous and demands they leave.

“Not without our cheques!” one bellows.

“What do you mean—your cheques?” she asks.

“We are waiting for our fucking money!” says the other.

“You can’t come in here demanding money. You will have to leave!”

“Not until we get our money!”

“If you want to discuss your situation, you must phone the office to arrange an appointment.”

One of the guys strikes a fist hard into his palm. “What’s the fucking phone number?”

She hands him a business card. The other swears at her. They both leave. She calls security. Seconds later, a guard approaches reception. “They left in the elevator,” she explains. “But they might still be in the building.” The guard speaks into his phone.

Thirty minutes later, we are still waiting. The man’s number is finally called, but the young woman who was seated beside him has left. He anxiously raises his hand as if unsure it is his turn. Receptionist #2 checks his number.

“So, what can we do for you today?” she asks.

“I have an appointment.”

Surprise lights up her face. “You have an appointment? Why did you take a number? Didn’t you see the sign?”

He looks around him. She points to a sign taped to a wall beside her, which reads: IF YOU HAVE AN APPOINTMENT, DO NOT TAKE A NUMBER. COME TO RECEPTION AND CHECK IN.

“Well, you are too late, now,” she spits. “Your appointment was half an hour ago. You will have to call to reschedule.” The sign blinks–number 33. “Who is next?” she calls.

Overlooked, the man turns and leaves the office.

It was then I understood why so many people with disabilities are homeless. Many do not know how to read nor write. They don’t understand office protocol, nor the appropriate forms to complete, nor the requirements expected of them, so they believe funding is unavailable. Not all have support workers to help them, so they go without—no income, no home, no food, no clothing, and no dignity.

KATHLEEN WYNNE, it is time to transform Ontario’s ODSP offices

into places of respect, understanding, and support.

If YOU agree, please share this post.

“The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life . . . the children; those who are in the twilight of life . . . the elderly; and those who are in the shadow of life . . . the sick . . . the needy . . . and the disabled.”

— Hubert Humphrey

To discover how I learned to recognize the body language of people who have mental health disorders, join me at the following link and click on my two FASD memoirs and my children’s FASD picture book.

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

Advertisements


Leave a comment

A Mother’s Tears

The Window

The Window

The Window

I can’t believe I cried on the bus. It would not have happened if I had driven to my dental appointment, but, with traffic heavy and parking nonexistent in the downtown core, I use public transportation on dental day. 

After an intense tooth cleaning, and consultation, I caught the bus home. Five minutes into the drive, the bus stopped in dense traffic, and there it was … the window.

At the sight, my lips trembled. Sudden tears flowed down my cheeks. I could not hold back. Amid my horrendous embarrassment, I stared at the beast. It glared back, cold and indifferent. I imagined my daughter, standing there, smiling, as she had twenty years before.

The previous day she had given birth to her first child. At fifteen she had no idea of what the future held, yet she managed a smile as she spotted me approaching the hospital to visit her and my new grandson. Today, I cried on the bus at the memory of her at the hospital window, and recalled the trauma of the past two decades. 

To read of the details of what happened during those twenty years, read my two memoirs Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years. If you are a caregiver to a child with FASD, you and your child would enjoy my children’s picture book titled, Strawberry & Cracker, Twins with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Along with my fiction, my memoirs, and children’s book are available from your Amazon or the following link.

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

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Compile an FASD Information File

Make life easier!

While raising grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, I found compiling personal files for each grandchild helped when I reached out to service providers. In each file, I recorded my grandchildren’s medical appointments, diagnosis and results, attached school records such as reports and IEP’s, all school suspensions letters, their interactions with police, and sports/activity dates, etc. I also listed their strengths, what triggered their meltdowns, their behavior, and typical supports required. Files such as these take time to compile but offered me credibility in the eyes of professionals.

To read of the challenges and struggles I survived as a grandparent raising grandchildren with FAS, see my two ebook memoirs: Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, at your Amazon store, or follow the links below.

Two Decades Of Diapers

Two Decades Of Diapers

Two Decades of Diapers. Genre/Memoir,

Ebook, Price .99 cents (usd), Ages 18+

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 disorders. If so, then for these, and many other reasons, Two Decades of Diapers is essential reading. During my twenty years of raising four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, the temptation to run from this often uncontrollable mental disorder and all the struggles it brought into our 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 disorders. 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.

FAS: The Teen Years

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years. Genre/Memoir

Ebook, Price .99 cents (usd), Ages 18+

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 disorder caused by pre-natal exposure to alcohol. 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. Nevertheless, 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 the mental disorder 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.

Both Two Decades of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years are available from your Amazon store, or the following links:

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

https://www.kobo.com

http://www.barnesandnoble.com


2 Comments

Parents Beware!

I never thought it would happen to me!

Despite the few months I babysat a six-month old child being raised by his grandparents, as a young mother, the thought of one day having to raise my own grandchildren, never entered my mind,  In Canada, a growing number of grandparents are now parenting and raising their grandchildren. So much so, that it is time government officials raised their heads out of the sand regarding the ability of grandparents to do so. Not all grandparents have the energy to raise their grandchildren and, if the child has a mental or physical infirmity, it can be nigh on impossible. Though it appears in the best interest of the child to be placed with family, growing up with grandparents is not necessarily the optimum option.

Let grandparents be grandparents!

Too often, children’s agencies take advantage of grandparents when at their most emotionally vulnerable—i.e. when they learn their grandchild is in need of a home. There is a growing need for available foster homes where the child can be nurtured by young caregivers who have energy and use contemporary parenting strategies. Despite the propaganda, not every child placed in foster care is subject to abuse. My personal experience with foster parents has been very positive. There are many compassionate foster parents in Canada willing to give children the care they need and deserve.

Parents Beware!

Two Decades Of Diapers

Two Decades Of Diapers

FAS: The Teen Years

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years

So, parents of today, for various reasons, you might one day be faced with the decision to raise a grandchild. Life has a way of presenting us with disquieting choices that can change our lives forever. And if you believe it could never happen to you, read my two memoirs, Two Decades Of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, which describe my twenty years raising four grandchildren with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Both are available in ebook format from your Amazon store, the following links, and many other ebook distributors.

 

 


Leave a comment

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

 


Leave a comment

Dads and FASD

Wake up! to FAS

Wake up to issues associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Can a father be responsible for FASD in their newborn?

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD, does not get the attention it deserves, which is sad, because both parents, through the abstinence of alcohol, can prevent the disorder during conception and pregnancy.

Both parents, you say?

Yes, you read it right. Information is coming forward that fathers can also be responsible for causing FASD in their child, so now the world can stop mother shaming. Or, as my author friend, Viga Boland, put it, “Good to know we can stop putting the blame solely on women for yet another social ill.” And, believe me, she knows what she is talking about because I have heard people blame her for her father’s incestuous abuse during her childhood. (Read her book: No Tears For My Father).

Dads and FASD

To learn about the seriousness of fathers drinking at conception, browse the following websites for information.

http://www.allparenting.com/my-pregnancy/articles/970449/dads-can-also-cause-fetal-alcohol-syndrome

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140214075405.htm

Free Downloads

Time is running out to download my two memoirs for FREE, Two Decades Of Diapers, and, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, from my website: http://www.twodecadesofdiapers.com. The website will soon be closing and replaced with my new website http://www.barbarastudham.com.

 

 


Leave a comment

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.