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!
My friend Dan Dubovsky often says in his training sessions that people with an FASD have concrete thinking and they often have moments of great insight. I want to share two such moments that my son had when he was very young. One day he was visiting my mother at the recreational community she spent her summers in and she was taking him for a ride on her golf cart through the beautiful wooded area. The golf cart broke down a great distance from her summer place and they had to wait in the woods for quite awhile for my stepfather to come and rescue them. After a good deal of time spent waiting, talking together, and looking at the nature surrounding them my son said, “Mom-Mom, I think God is giving us a Time-Out.”
He offered me another unique perspective one day as we were driving in the car. He asked, “Dad, is Mom-Mom going to have an Easter Egg Hunt for me again this year?” I answered, “Of course she will, it is a tradition.” My son said slyly, “I know what a tradition is.” So I took the bait and asked, “What is it?” He replied, “It’s when you do the same old thing, only it’s still fun.”
I adopted my son, Andre, when he was three. He was living in an orphanage in Belarus, and had been there for six months. Prior to that, he was in the hospital for four months for treatment for rickets and malnutrition. Prior to that, he’d been with his birth family. His parents were both alcoholics and neglected the 5 children – Andre was the youngest.
I had no idea when I adopted him that he had fetal alcohol, but by the time he was in kindergarten the gap started really showing between what he could do and learn and what his peers were doing. In second grade he was finally given a comprehensive evaluation at school (after a HUGE push by me) and it showed he was two standard deviations below the norm in many areas, which in US special education law is when SPED services kick in. In some areas he wasn’t even on the chart yet. The school psychologist said she was afraid to even tell me, as she’d never seen scores that low.
He started receiving services at school, but probably more importantly, I started researching what could help him, and began to implement things at home. This was a lot of neurodevelopment work with his body and mind. I also began using pictures to help him with his routines. I fed information to his teacher’s non-stop and many of them listened and learned! I sought out social skills training, which he totally dug, as it allowed him the tools to succeed in the social realm. The one great FASD trait he has is his drive; he doesn’t give up but continually works hard. He has learned this strategy works for him.
Now, 6 years later I have a 13 year old young man who is solidly in the average to above average in his classes. He reads as often as he can. He is getting math scores in the high 90’s! He has friends. He is able to negotiate the school building, and remembers to bring his materials to class and home, and complete his homework. He uses the tools we’ve all worked so hard to develop for him, such as a planner, visual schedules, asking appropriate questions, etc. Next year he will go to high school and I really think he will be ready to tackle that.
So it’s possible, once all the tools have been put in place and the players have been educated, to create methods and places where kids with FA can function and succeed.