ADULTING WITH FASD
I am 41 years old, yet my memories from my MUCH younger, elementary school days remain with me. Looking back at my school days, I have #takeaways for #educators that were the backbone of my success in school. Check 'em out:
IDEAS for EDUCATORS:
1. Write directions down for the student to copy.
2. Ask the student if they understand the directions.
3. Be open for questions.
4. Have the student buddy up with another student to assist with writing down assignments that have to be completed.
5. Don't have your classroom too colorful or "busy."
6. Allow the student more time to process questions before requiring an answer.
7. One on One help in school, after school, before school; either by a teacher or a fellow student.
8. Try to limit the number of directions given at once to the student.
9. If you use a "Play on Words," just make sure the student understands the true meaning.
10. Patience. This one applies to all involved!
#FASD, # patience, #starwars,#education #teachers #students
In 2019, the Center for Disease Control did a study. In the United States, it was discovered that approximately 1 in 9 women reported drinking alcohol when pregnant in the prior 30 days of the study (2019, WWW.CDC.GOV). One third of these women admitted to binge drinking in the past 30 days, averaging 4.5 drinking EPISODES, NOT DRINKS, during this time. 1 IN 9. ONE IN NINE. UNO EN NUEVE.
Here is another set of numbers for you. According to www.reuters.com in 2018, up to 1 IN 10 CHILDREN may have an FASD. Think of a classroom. Many classrooms have 20 children. Tha would be 2 kids in a class.
These are staggering numbers, numbers that need to be abolished, and ones that in a perfect world never would have existed. There is NO SAFE AMOUNT of ALCOHOL When Pregnant. I AM A STATISTIC. I am one of those babies born with an FASD. I live with struggles from the choice my birth mom made. Every…Single…Day.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Institute of Health clearly state that there is no safe amount of alcohol to be consumed by a pregnant woman during pregnancy. Women need to heed this advice. The implications for the baby are lifelong. The brain damage is irreversible. In 2016 the CDC stated for women who are planning to become pregnant or trying to conceive to ALSO abstain from drinking. Alcohol could be consumed by an unsuspected baby in utero. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are the only disorders that where Brain Damage is 100% preventable.
Alcohol is a teratogen, a substance that can and DOES interfere with the development of a fetus. The alcohol goes from the mom’s lips into her blood stream, and then into the baby’s bloodstream.
WHAT ABOUT ONE SIP? WHY? JUST SAY NO. SAY NO, LET YOUR BABY GROW. #FASD #9months #invisibledisability
So, tomorrow I turn 41. 41 years of quirking it. Quirking it Rebecca style. Many of my quirks are subtle, and many people will tell me, "My mom didn't drink when she was pregnant with me, and I do the same thing!" Yes, yes, some of my quirks many people without an FASD experience as well. Like what? Well, math for one. I suck at word problems. If two word problems have the same method of operations to get to the answer, but one problem uses apples, and the other one uses oranges, I get lost. Yep. My brain struggles to focus on the fact that the means to get to the answer is the same. "Stop focusing on the fruits!" I would, but they are reminding me I am hungry, and they look delicious! Reading maps? Let me just say I believe God brought me into the world on January 12, 1980 for a reason. He knew about GPS coming down the pike. He knew it would save me! Hmm, oh here is a BIGGIE: IMPULSIVE BEHAVIOR. This is a HUGE one for many, if not all those with an FASD. The part of the brain that gets effected the most when a mother drinks while pregnant is the frontal lobe. Where all the executive functioning takes place. Where our goals are made and executed. The frontal lobe is where we organize our thoughts, feelings, our day, schoolwork, meetings, on and on...and on. Below is a perfect example:
Before I got diagnosed, heck, before my husband and I had children, we used to peruse this store. #LeGourmetChef. My husband loves to cook, and this store had spices, and marinades, and sauces, and then things to dip in these delectable liquids, and try them out, in the store! He lvoes to cook, I love to eat snacks, it was a perfect place for a date. We would go into Le Gourmet Chef and count it as our appetizer prior to dinner. We were young, we were in love, and we were broke. Of course, a store like this, for an FASD brain can be very overwhelming. The tastes, the colors, the smells. Oh, and don't forget the bright lights! This one night, I didn't so much care about the free tastings. I saw this AMAZING CONTRAPTION, and at 25 years old, I HAD TO HAVE IT. THE MOO MIXER. That's right . For one to make chocolate milk. Yes, I said I was 25 at the time, not 8. It was a cup with an electric motor built in the bottom. You pour the milk, then the chocolate, press the button on the handle, and VIOLA! Chocolate milk! INGENIUS! Ok, here is where the impulsivity kicked in. They had one on display. They had it filled with water. What happened next my husband and I laugh about to this day but at least now I know it was my impulsive brain on milk. Chocolate milk that is. I took the Moo Mixer, and I flipped it over. I saw the water in in, but cause and effect is not my strong suit, impulsivity steps in WAAAAY before Effect comes to check things out. Water went all over. I started to laugh, and couldn't stop. I am sure there are people in the universe, maybe people reading this, thinking, " I don't have an FASD, and I can see myself doing something like this!" This may be true, for that person, and for others. For me though? The REASONS I DO certain things is because my brain works differently than others. It IS because of the damage to my brain because of the alcohol my birth mom decided to ingest, even the night I was born. I no longer have the Moo Mixer. I think it went out with my Quesadilla Maker. Maybe I will indulge for my birthday, and buy another MOO MIXER. Now at least I have children to blame my impulsive behavior on this time.
Who says Time Outs are for kids only? I have noticed, as I have aged, become a full time employee, a few times, gotten married, had children, and LIFE has fallen into my lap, and keeps plopping and plooping, my stress level is NOT what it once was. Nope. Not even close. I have gotten pretty good at reading my body's ques, and what it needs at times. One thing I have come to know is I, like many kids, need time outs. Not just one, maybe one a week, a day, a month, it just depends what is going on. How fast my mind is swirling with every thought of everything I want to accomplish that day. Now, my time out does not involve a "time out chair," or "time out stairs." It does involve a "time out" closet though. My youngest son's to be exact. It feels like it is sound proof. I have been in there twice in 8 years, but i go in there, and i go through his clothes. I pile them onto me. The weight as more and more plop down, I can feel my stress level decreasing. Add that with the sound of silence, and "thick" silence, if that makes sense, and it becomes tranquility.
I have a desk job, and my stress level can rise quickly at my job. I deal with medical claims from car accidents. I deal with fraud. Lots of it. I deal with multitasking, and it can get hairy. Well, I figured out in the blustery cold winters of upstate, NY, I could put my heavy winter jacket over my legs as a makeshift weighted blanket. It worked. Stress level would decrease. I could definitely use more time outs.
When i was diagnosed with FAS at age 34, my brain reeled backwards through the years of my life, and the "quirky" things i used to do. Like play "Meatball Sandwich" with my older brother. I would lay myself in between a Flip and Fold Chair, and my brother would jump on top of it, Yelling, "Meatball Sandwich." I loved it. Never knew why. Turns out I loved the pressure. Mademe feel tranquil and whole. I am definitely a sensory person. Bring on the time outs, for me, it is not a punishment. It centers me. What about you all? Do you engage in "self Time Outs" for sensory centering? Not sure what to call it. Sensory seeking behavior? That sounds right. Let me know! Drop a comment!
I am 41 years old. I am an adult who lives every moment, sleeping and awake, on the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum. I was diagnosed at 34 years old, in Albany, NY, by a pediatric geneticist. At this visit, I got confirmation of:
-HEAD: A small head. My head is below the 10th percentile for adult head size. The perk is that my 8 year old and i share hats, headbands when we take a journey back to the 80s, and sunglasses. The not so good part is that I feel like from the back I resemble the shape of that character in the 90s movie Beetlejuice. Yea...not so cool.
-Eyeballs: OK, I am going to use SAT words here: Palebral Fissure. The length of mine can be, and in my case were indicative of someone with an FASD. A Palebral Fissure is the distance between the upper and lower eyelid on each eye.
-UPPER LIP: I have a smooth philtrum. That is the space between the bottom of one's nose and your top lip. There is no groove in the middle.
-FOOTSIES: I have extremely narrow feet and am very flat footed. Shopping for dress shoes growing up was painful for both my mom and I. It was an all day ordeal, 5-6 stores, and usually it was the last store where we had luck (honestly, it was probably where i just said the damn shoes fit because i had been done shopping 4 stores prior).
-Boogers: My pinky toenails don't look like other nails. They honestly looklike boogers, and grow upwards, not outwards.
-Vision: Let's just see I can't even see the BIG "E" they show for the vision test, but I was able to attempt to read the next line because I had memorized the letter E. I think my vision is around 20/600.
I am an adult living with aFetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. As an adult with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, I am constantly searching for sites that share in my quirkiness, and answer my questions i have about adults living on the spectrum. Take a peek at my blogs! They describe daily quirks, and ideas for parents, educators, children and adults living with FASDs.