What is it Really Like to Raise a Child with FASD?

Radio Show

0

 

What is it really like to parent a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder? Prenatal exposure causes brain damage and this damage causes specific behaviors that can make parenting challenging. What works to help these kids? Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility, adoption, & foster care education and support nonprofit, interviews Suzanne Emery, a Program Director with FASCETS, a nonprofit focused on helping parents raise children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. She is also the mom of a son with FASD.


+ Hit the Highlights

  • Parenting a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a challenge faced by many adoptive and foster parents.
  • Often don’t know how impacted child will be at the time of adoption, especially if the child is young.
  • How does alcohol affect the brain of a developing fetus?
  • What are the primary behaviors most characteristic of the brain damage associated with FASD?
  • Significant memory problems – short and long term
  • Gaps in the thinking process including difficulty forming associations, predicting, abstract reasoning, cause and effect reasoning, and generalizations
  • Slower pace of thinking, understanding and listening
  • Impulsivity and distractibility
  • Different responses to stimuli including sensitivity to lights, sounds, temperature, taste and touch
  • Difficulty Cause and effect
  • Challenges in managing free time
  • Difficulty weighing and evaluating, resulting in possible difficulty understanding safety and danger and possible heightened risk for victimization and exploitation
  • Difficulty managing time, money, and schedules
  • Dysmaturity (wide variation between developmental and chronological age)
  • Are children with FASD generally more of a behavioral problem than a child without fetal alcohol exposure?
  • Secondary behaviors that may develop from constant exposure to failure, frustration, and not being understood.
  • Fatigue and frustration
  • Anxiety
  • Anger and aggression
  • Withdrawing and avoidance
  • Poor self esteem
  • Difficulty making friends
  • Depression and other mental health concerns including
  • Opposition and defiance
  • Self aggrandizement
  • Wide gaps between different types of maturity: chronological age of 15, language skill/expressive language of 20, social skills of 10, reading decoding of 15, reading comprehension of 8, math skills of 8.
  • FASD is sometimes called an invisible disability. Children and adults with FASD can have strong areas, such as expressive language, but this often makes others respond to the child as if they are on that level. What type of problems does this cause?
  • Do children outgrow the affects of FASD?
  • Individuals with FASD are literal, concrete learners who tend to grasp pieces, rather than concepts.
  • Slower thinking and hearing speed
  • Problems storing and retrieving information
  • Difficulty forming links, associations
  • Difficulty generalizing
  • Difficulty with abstract concepts
  • Difficulty seeing next steps/outcomes
  • Disconnections: says one thing and does another
  • Highly suggestible and thus at risk for exploitation
  • Do not experience risk and rewards the way a non brain injured person would
  • Parenting tips for what works.
  • Focus on strengths
  • Consider developmental age over chronological age.
  • Distinguish, if possible, between what behaviors are a direct result of the brain damage, and what behaviors are the result of the frustration with living with this brain damage.
    • Sticky notes throughout the house “It’s brain damage.”
  • Provide structure: Lists, schedules, timers, and supportive technology can be very helpful. Assistance in managing these aids. Set up a system of reminders and consider using visual reminders/lists if child learns better by sight. As the child ages, involve them in setting up the reminders and system.
  • Language processing if often impaired so:
    • Use fewer words,
    • Slow down your speech,
    • Give time for the person to answer one thing at a time
    • Avoid conditional words such as however, instead of, provided that, probably, likely
    • Be specific and concrete
    • Keep it simple. Give only one or two directions at a time
    • If possible, give visual cues
    • Check for understanding frequently in your conversation.
  • Include child in problem solving
  • Don’t expect-immediate obedience-give time
  • Don’t over-explain things. Avoid the why behind your statement. Stick with black and white, yes and no, bad and good. “Walk home without stopping.” “Be home by 5:00.” “No TV until homework has been checked by Dad.”
  • Limit choices. Too many choices may cause confusion about what to do. When giving a choice keep it simple: “Do you want to clean your room now or in 30 minutes.”
  • Help child put their feelings into words and give them something they can do to make it better (take a break, count to 10)
  • Simplify the child’s environment. Too much stuff/toys/papers can be distracting and are harder to take care of. Have a place for everything and be consistent.
  • Allow enough time in the morning to get ready with the least amount of stress. Accept that the child will likely need more time and thus the morning must start earlier. Set up a predictable morning routine.
  • Sleep issues, especially as child ages, are common because of time management, lack of structure, and difficulties with self-regulation.
    • Set up a simple to maintain bedtime routine.
  • Teach the child how to ask for help and that asking is a strength not a weakness.
  • What is the prognosis for a child with significant prenatal alcohol exposure?


+ Can’t listen now? Be sure to subscribe.

Image credit: University of the Fraser Valley

14/03/2019 | by Radio Show | Categories: 2019 Shows, Adoption, Adoption Radio Shows, Fostering, Fostering Radio Shows, Radio Show | 0 Comments



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑

Content created by Creating a Family. And remember, there are no guarantees in adoption or infertility treatment. The information provided or referenced on this website should be used only as part of an overall plan to help educate you about the joys and challenges of adopting a child or dealing with infertility. Although the following seems obvious, our attorney insists that we tell you specifically that the information provided on this site may not be appropriate or applicable to you, and despite our best efforts, it may contain errors or important omissions. You should rely only upon the professionals you employ to assist you directly with your individual circumstances. CREATING A FAMILY DOES NOT WARRANT THE INFORMATION OR MATERIALS contained or referenced on this website. CREATING A FAMILY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR ERRORS or omissions in this information and materials and PROVIDES NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, implied, express or statutory. IN NO EVENT WILL CREATING A FAMILY BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising out of or in connection with the use of the information or materials, EVEN IF CREATING A FAMILY OR ITS AGENTS ARE NEGLIGENT AND/OR ARE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.