Monday, November 27, 2017

Striving For Success - Living With FASD

The best outcome for individuals with Fetal Alcohol comes from making sure they can. Ask yourself, "Am I setting them up for success or failure?" Don't put them in a situation you know isn't going to turn out well. - Jeff Noble

Jeff is spot on with this advice. Time and again when I talk with parents who have a child with FASD they say, "But I want my child to be able to have fun in life. It isn't fair if he can't go out with his friends or have his own pocket money." Parents of younger children say, "It isn't fair if my child can't have toys in his room and no media time when his siblings can." First, FASD isn't fair to anyone. Not to the individual affected, not to the parents, not to the siblings. It is best for everyone if you can simply stop trying to be fair. Try to be understanding and empathetic instead. You may be surprised at the outcome.

I will admit that it is hard to give up the hopes and dreams you had for your child. But just because your child has FASD doesn't mean you can't dream at all, it may simply mean changing your dreams. Helping your child succeed while he is young will set the stage for when he is older, plus it will greatly improve your relationship with him/her. 

If your child isn't doing well at school, find out what you can do to support him. Many times individuals with FASD can succeed if given the right supports. Joseph wasn't doing well in a regular classroom at school. He was distracted and distracted others. The field trips and parties were too stimulating for him causing him to meltdown. So we tried one on one with him. He was in a room with his own teacher to guide and direct him. When he still struggled, we revamped his curriculum, when that didn't seem to solve the problem, we decided to home school. Guess what? He is doing amazingly well! He isn't doing 4th grade work, but he is doing a full work load in a lower grade and succeeding. Succeeding is the word we are focusing on. Not grade level work, not working in a classroom, but succeeding in what he is able to do.

Joseph can't handle crowds, or playing with a group of children. He gets overstimulated which will inevitably result in a meltdown. If he plays by himself or with one other child, he has fun without the meltdowns. Success! 

Joseph has a few chores which including helping clear the table, drying the cups and silverware and sometimes sweeping the kitchen floor. These are repetitious tasks and I am right there to help him out if he forgets how to do something. He does an excellent job with these chores. He puts the silver ware neatly in the door and makes sure the cups are dry and stacked in the cupboard. Sweeping the floor is a bit of a challenge but he is learning. I find if I teach him to do a job and make sure to teach him well, he can succeed and feel good about himself. 

Sometimes parenting a child with FASD can begin to feel hopeless. The child cannot seem to remember anything and is constantly acting out leaving you and him feeling like a failure. I suggest you mentally view him as several years younger than his chronological age and parent him accordingly. Give him chores, or jobs as Joseph calls them, that are within his "new age range." Keep your expectations within that range and you will find your child can succeed!

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