Challenged Hope

Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FASD in Hamilton Ontario Canada

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Letting Life’s Transitions Lead to Extraordinary Destiny

Guest post by Caleb Anderson of Recovery Hope

Todays post is written by Caleb Anderson of Recovery Hope. The purpose of Recovery Hope website is to … give hope to those facing recovery from unhealthy addictions. We bring together stories, advice, and resources to help others on their journeys. 

Given many individuals with FASD struggle with addiction, I decided Caleb’s post would be a great addition to this blog. 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an

extraordinary destiny.”  –C.S. Lewis

Transitions are an inevitable part of life, and each can feel magnificently positive or overwhelmingly painful, depending on the way we uniquely handle them. Whether you’re recently widowed or acclimating to an empty nest, expecting a baby or graduating college; all can seem daunting. Managing change will rely on your ability to be nimble and open to life’s new norms. Consider this…

Exercise and Meditation  

 Numerous studies link exercise to improved mental health. Consider incorporating:

  • Yoga – Licensed psychotherapist Ashley Turner says, “yoga is the key to psychological and emotional healing as well as resolving issues with self-confidence, relationships, and more.”
  • Aerobic Exercise – According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise is critical for maintaining mental fitness and stress reduction. They report it works by, “reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.”

Find Positive, Wherever Possible

There are numerous ways to keep your focus on the good, versus the negative.

  • Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Focus on your attributes by practicing positive self-talk.
  • Be thankful for what you do have. It’s easy, in a transitional moment, to think of all we have lost. Instead, try remembering what positive things still exist.
  • Reframe your change, by thinking what positive will come from it. If you’ve lost a spouse, for example, consider how nice it will be to downsize to a smaller home, perhaps on the waterfront, where you’ve always wanted to be.

Be Your Own Best Friend

Stephen Richards, author of Think Your Way to Success: Let Your Dreams Run Free, said “Before you can successfully make friends with others, first you have to become your own friend.” Times of transition are a good time to reacquaint yourself with yourself; after all, no one will be getting you through your change period, but you. Discover new things about yourself, consider changing habits that weigh you down, and learn to love the new emerging you.

The Importance of Your Environment

 Your home is likely where you spend the majority of time, and it contributes greatly to your sense of well-being.

  • Keep your room bright with both natural and artificial light. Light can improve both depression and anxiety.
  • A cluttered home can add to your stress and impact further behavior. If you come home to a messy home, you’re less likely to be motivated to hang up your coat, or put away new purchases.
  • Watch for negative emotional anchors, or things that weigh you down mentally. If you’re recently widowed make sure you keep around things that create positive memories, and avoid holding onto things that are triggers for sadness.

As you work through your transition, whatever it may be, try to remember that in this process there is plenty of positive. In other words, when one door closes and you’re waiting for the other to open, there’s plenty of room for personal growth in the hallways.  Here are some positive spins on what you’re experiencing.

It can make you stronger – Life’s changes each work in their own way to help us build resilience and coping skills.

It can help you re-prioritize – Frequently, the pressures around change can help us to gain new perspective forcing us to focus on new and exciting opportunities.

It can help you be a better version of you – Change and its link to positive personal growth have been scientifically proven. Perhaps, the most important part of any personal metamorphosis, is your willingness to learn from it.

When entering any of life’s transitions, one thing is sure, you won’t be the same person you were before the change, and that’s okay. Learn to accept it, and let go. Be thankful for where you’ve been, and where you’re going. And, relax; life’s new path leads to an “extraordinary destiny.”



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Activities For Children with Disabilities

While we know “time for us” is important while raising disabled children, equally important is “time for them”. While raising my mentally disabled grandchildren, one of the resources I found extremely helpful was the Hamilton (ON) Culture and Recreation Program. Due to my financial limitations, the Recreation Fee Assistance Program enabled my grandchildren to swim for free, for one year, at any of the Hamilton-Wentworth Recreation Centres; plus, a choice between a free week of camp or registration in recreational programs, or day camp during PA days, to a maximum of $150 per child, per year. There is also the opportunity to apply for a 50% fee assistance for a City’s affiliated sports program to a maximum of $100 per child, per year. To qualify for the assistance program there are stipulations, so go to for full info on how to apply.

Another service is Hamilton and District Extend-A-Family which offers friendship programs and respite to challenged children and teens and their families. Extend-A-Family offers six programs that serve the special needs community:

  • The Buddy Program – An individual volunteer befriends a child with special needs to provide respite to the family by taking the child on outings
  • The Junior Buddy Program – A volunteer provides respite to the family by visiting the special needs child in their home or by accompanying the caregiver on outings
  • The Program Buddy Program – A volunteer will meet the special needs child at ASD/Recreation Program and engages the child during the event
  • The ASD/Recreation Program – Events are offered at least six times a month in the community and are planned and supervised by the ASD/Recreation Coordinator with the help of volunteers
  • The Host Program – A volunteer family befriends a child with special needs and takes them out of the home to provide respite for the parents and other siblings
  • The Summer Support Program – Summer Support Workers help to supervise group activities throughout the summer in addition to working with children one-on-one.

There is small membership fee, and the ASD/Recreation Program events sometimes require registration and fees. For information visit or call 905-383-2885. 

Other organizations include:

  •  Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hamilton and Burlington at is a mentoring organization for children and youth whose goal is to inspire and empower young people to reach their full potential. 
  • Mountain Kidz Klub, is an organization with the goal of providing a safe and welcoming environment to the youth of our community. Website
  • Local Scouts/Guides programs are worth checking out.
  • Boy/Girls Clubs of Hamilton  at
  • Hamilton Libraries also offer many programs for children and teens.
  • The “Y” which also offers fee assistance to those on limited income.
  • More organizations are listed in detail on the website of Inform Hamilton at

I also recently discovered ACCESS 2 ENTERTAINMENT card which provides free admission (or significant discount) for support persons accompanying a person with a disability at member movie theaters across Canada. The person with the disability pays regular admission. For more information call Easter Seals Canada at 416-932-8382, website:

Other Recreation Programs for Kids with Special Needs

Funding for Recreation Programs

Having posted all that, while all these activities are undoubtedly of great help to caregivers of challenged children, from my own experience the most difficult part for me was actually getting my grandchildren to agree to attend any program. All suffer from anxiety and poor social skills and to get them out the door to attend social activities was often a hair-pulling (mine) exasperating experience which invariably saw them running to the door, not in anticipation of having fun with a group of kids, but to escape being registered in something they preferred not to do. Oh boy, there goes my respite again!