We can all agree that reading success stories is nothing less than awesome! Real life stories about other FASD families, caregivers and FASD persons can provide us with that little bit of hope that we need to get through the day or to add some new perspective to a situation at home or school that you are dealing with.
The success stories that you will read about on these next few pages are from Caregivers and families all over the world who share many of the same challenges and battles, but they also share all the amazing little A-Ha! moments and celebrations, but mostly importantly, these stories are from families just like yours.
Enjoy the read!
We live in Colorado USA. Left to right is Carlton-5 now 6, Johnathon-2 now 3, Josh-1 now 2, Tiffany-4 now 5.. In 2012 we became empty nesters with our youngest son moving out to start his life in the Navy and now living in Japan. Then we started a journey of foster parents to our Great Niece and Nephews as an ICPC transfer from VA to Co. We were recently given custody and we are looking forward to adoption some day. During our fourteen month journey we are discovering that the children came with two IEP’s and two IFSP’s, asthma and vision issues. Now, we have discovered that all four have FASD a few have PTSD, ADHD, LD and Mood issues. Two of the children have come from one to two hour long melt downs every other day to one time a week or every other week and thirty minutes maybe. My six year old gave me a hug and said he was glad that he gets to live with us and that he is glad I’m his Mom!!! My five year old has been working on shopping skills, such has not tearing up the store, taking everything off the shelf’s to play with and not licking shopping carts, today she chose one out of her three coping strategies on her OWN to put her hands in her pockets when she feels that she can’t stop getting in to everything she sees!!
These are children that have talked about wanting to die since the age of three and would try to run in to a street full of cars and now walk with me and do not run off!!! Thank you Jeff and everyone this website helped me to understand it’s not my fault, that I can’t fix everything, but I am trying my best to manage, to look back and see how far we have come and value that. I still catch myself stressing and worrying about their futures, but not as much. I am grateful for the small things like being able to go shopping for food and my daughter can make it through the store and feel success and my son not speaking words of hate but learning to love.
Thank you and God bless all of you!
Along with raising our four adult birth children, we have had these three FASD children, right from the hospital at birth, first doing foster care for them and eventually adopting all three. They are not related to each other. We all know that each child differs in the degree of disability they have, depending on what part of the brain is affected. I have chosen to home school all three, mainly because of the “one on one” support I can give them compared to them being in a regular school classroom where there deficits could very easily not only be overlooked, but also be is interpreted for misbehavior. I was not willing to take the chance of that happening. While they each have their individual issues, all in different areas – they are thriving in this environment where there are very few distractions, no peer pressure and a very quiet, relaxed, working environment.
There are several things that have worked for me while schooling. These are a few of them…
I will ALWAYS repeat whatever math we learned the previous year again at the beginning of the new year, before teaching something new. My youngest, who is now eight and also taking Stratera for ADHD, has some pretty obvious damage to his nervous system. He is unable to keep his body still, whether it is during a haircut or during school or during sleep. I was finally able to make some major progress in that area by buying him a weighted blanket that he places on his lap during school and over his legs/lap area during sleep. It allows him to be very still and concentrate or sleep SO much better. “HE” is such a loving a charismatic boy with an incredible sense of humor!
My middle child, a daughter who is 11, was taken from us at six weeks old, supposed having found family to take her, where she was then neglected, and left in a car alone at five months old in the heat of the summer. We then got her back at five and a half months old, when she was soon diagnosed with RAD, (reactive attachment disorder). After some brief play therapy and learning some bonding techniques, she is doing incredibly well, ESPECIALLY with the one on one she gets from home schooling, with Mom as a teacher. While she is easily frustrated and struggles a little in math , “SHE” is also an INCREDIBLE reader, often helping her older and younger brothers.
My oldest adopted son who is 12, does not only have FASD, but also Autism. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but AGAIN, home schooling has benefitted him greatly. Time and time again, I hear of “normal” kids who graduate from high school without truly knowing how to read. Well, in my son’s case- it took me starting to teach him to read in 2nd grade and him not actually learning how to fully read (still with minor difficulty) until 6th grade (now in 7th). We still continue to do “extra” work on reading on a daily basis. Home schooling him has allowed me to repeat the same teaching over and over until he got it. “HE” is very quick at math and truly an INCREDIBLE artist!
After having done 25+ years of licensed daycare, often having 10-12 kids a day, to then doing foster care for as many as eight children in car seats at the same time, I learned very fast, how important “structure” & “repetition” were in training children, along with a LOT of love! Those three key elements were even more important when raising FASD kids. My three kids have been asking to be excused from the table since they were able to talk, will ask for permission to go to the bathroom and even to go to their rooms. That has worked so well and has allowed me to pretty much know where my children are and what they are doing, at all times. It has become second nature to them. Because FASD kids are known to be creatures of habit- it gives me a cute story to share… that at any given time, any one of them might be in the bathroom and all of a sudden I might hear, “Mom, can I be excused?” (It gives us all a chuckle.) I can not count how many times I have gotten compliments from other customers at restaurants or from people at church, saying how well behaved they are and how well they use their manners. I can certainly say, that none of these positive behaviors happened over night, but with lots of patience & determination – they are all developing and progressing very well. Unlike most children who are not home schooled, my kids are NOT learning about sex, drugs and alcohol by being pressured from their peers, but in a safe home environment, with books, videos and lots of dialogue. In our family, home schooling has really been one of the major keys to success!