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 daughter, Claire, will be turning five this month. She is having huge successes right now, and I can’t wait to share. Claire began the school year being transported on a van, for fear of elopement, and she rides the big bus now. She is enrolled in gymnastics, and is in an advanced class. She also is on a special needs cheer squad as a flyer as well as a main streamed squad that she is completely successful in. Most students are unaware of her FAS. Her IEP has gone to simply monitoring all areas! Go Claire! We, as a family, are constantly working hard to make our environment a successful one for her. There is a solid sensory diet in play, and that is a large part of Claire’s success. I would add that all of Claire’s therapist and teachers are subscribers to FASD Forever!
I write to you about a very special young lady who has grown leaps and bounds. Shady was not diagnosed until she was eleven years old. She also had a number of other challenges to deal with prior to the diagnoses. We as parents, were beside ourselves with worry. We knew there was a lot going on with this child and she was having such difficulty. I was her EA before I became her Mom and I would watch this little girl circle and circle the playground with hopes that someone would notice her and say hello, but did not see the total needs of this little girl. That was eight years ago and we adopted her and her sister seven years ago. There were learning challenges and behaviors that were totally out of control. I had FAS training in the year of 2001, in Bermuda and was taught by Dr. Brenda Stade. So, I had a good idea that Shady’s difficulties were FAS related, once we were living as a family and after the honeymoon period. We tried to get help and tried to cope. FAS is a tough thing to deal with, when it is diagnosed, but when you explain to educators, family, friends and strangers, who know little to none about FAS, they look at you like you are the worst of the worst parents, which we found only fed the message to Shady that we didn’t want her and that we were looking for an excuse to get rid of her. Finally we said to the adoption organization to put her sister and her back into care and get her diagnosed because they refused to do it while the girls were under our roof. Of course they had been away from their birth family for six years at this point and of course it should have been done prior to age seven. It was the hardest thing we have ever done in life, but we did it for their well being and ours! We loved our girls so very much!!
When our girls got their diagnoses and came home, the change was amazing!! Our girls and we survived and are a complete unit, learning as much as we can about FAS. Shady, who I write about today is one amazing young woman. She has directed her frustrations into singing her heart out and has a beautiful voice. She is not afraid to sing on stage in front of an audience. She focuses on the FAS when there is an opportunity. For example, she used FAS as her topic for a presentation in school and did a tremendous job of it. Shady thought that maybe it would help other kids understand that she isn’t crazy or a bad person and why she received a lap top , as this is how they referred to her. She had a diagram to show the frontal lobe and talked about the differences between her classmates and herself. I was so very proud of her. Though she still circles the playground and doesn’t have week-end chums, it has made the group work and class activities a lot easier. Shady is trying out for school clubs and recess activities. She is now enjoying her days at school and works with an IEP, to help her work at her own level and has a lap top to do her work on. Shady has started swimming for the Special Olympics and will have her first meet at the end of October. In swimming lessons, Shady is just finishing level nine and will be in her Bronze levels come January. (Even though it took three tries at level nine, Shady is very happy that she finally was able to do the one component that she was not able to do until last Friday! (Which was carrying a ten pound brick on her chest of her 62 pound body!) Shady is happy to learn at a slower rate and looks forward to high school next year. Shady is a talented, bright and happy star, enjoying her supportive family and friendship circle. It is the circle of LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING and many FILES of SUCCESS!! Which was as our adoption and wedding renewal celebration base. JUST A CIRCLE OF LOVE AND CONSISTANCY= THE ORAM FAMILY UNIT