We are two-thirds through our journey with Day 66 of our 99 Days to FASDay. Today we offer a reminder for those who are working with, supporting or just hanging out with someone with FASD – remember stage, not age.
This classic sign of FASD described by Clarren, Malbin and Streissguth. A person with FASD will simultaneously exhibit behaviours common to people of different ages. For example, someone with FASD might be 18 years of age, sound like a 22 year old (expressive language), act like a 6 year old in a social and moral sense, read like a young teen and understand time and money at about the same level as a 12 year old.
People with FASD tend to catch up to themselves as much as they are going to by their early to mid-thirties.
Known as dysmaturity, it is the developmental “gaps” between a person’s chronological age vs. his/her developmental age in different domains (eg. life skills, expressive language, money and time concepts, etc). You can find a simple one page handout on the website for FAS Arizona.
NOFAS describes it this way:
The actions of a person with FASD may be inappropriate for chronological age while still being appropriate for the developmental age. Expecting a person with FASD to correct inappropriate behavior can be frustrating for both the caregiver and the child.
Clicking on the NOFAS link above shows a useful chart: Chronological Age Appropriate Expectations vs Developmental Age Appropriate Expectations.
Generally as parents or caregivers we are told to “cut the age in half” and meet the child where they are developmentally. This can be difficult to do – and I have found although I understand the concept, actually putting it into practice, as the maiden has grown older, becomes more difficult to do. When the maiden was in grade 5 – she was 11 years old. However in some of her skills sets she was much younger. This is the age where she really began to express herself differently from those around her. Now at 18, this chart shows she is at an 11 year old level for daily living skills (give or take – this is an example, not every person will be exactly like this). I find she is much younger than 11. And this is where it becomes difficult to support a youth or young adult with FASD. You need to respect their actual age, their desire to do what people their age are doing, but you also know for many activities you still need to supervise or support. However, legally, the maiden is an adult and has adult rights and privileges.
The next few days will highlight some lessons learned in providing successful support for adults with FASD.