Following along with tips and strategies, one of the most difficult things for me to “wrap my head around” was how children with FASD are so similar, and yet how very different they can be because their brains are wired differently. I also learned the “usual” parenting strategies do not work for our children.
The maiden came from a foster home that gave time outs. Remember Super Nanny? She always had parents institute time outs. We started with time outs – but a time out requires a child to have the ability to self reflect on their behaviour and learn from it so the same action will not be repeated. Many children with FASD do not have the ability to sit and “think” about what they did. So time outs for us went out the window pretty quickly.
We also discovered that typical “counselling” does not work – again, because this involves self-reflection and the ability to understand what it is being said and to apply it to the situation. The maiden went to various social skills groups, and although understood in the moment, and could repeat what she learned, she didn’t always have to ability to transfer the knowledge into another situation – unless it was exactly the same.
I remember the Adoption Worker told me one of the reasons I was chosen over two other applicants (both couples) was because she felt I was a very creative individual. Little did I know at the time how much that creativity would serve me over the coming years!
Diane Malbin, a clinical social worker and founder of FASCETS, coined a phrase that becomes the mantra for many parents: Try differently, not harder.
Stay tuned as we continue this 99 day journey with additional tips and strategies.