Nine Lessons Learned: Supporting Success for Adults with FASD
This post combines the last week’s worth of posts. The information was discovered in the guidebook Supporting Success for Adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) published by Community Living British Columbia (Canada).
Rather than posting the graphics for each day on WordPress, I decided to combine them and quote the information directly – you can still find the individual infographics on the OSB Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest accounts if you would like to share one or all. The social media links are on the bottom right side of this article (just click the graphic for the specific social media site) or you can find the links on the FASD on the Web page (which also includes a Tumblr link).
I found this Guidebook to be eloquently written, accurate and respectful. I will honour the professional information they have created by simply repeating the information. A link to the Community Living BC site is at the end.
Over the past thirty years or so, we have learned a lot about the brain differences that affect people with FASD. We also know a lot more about what works and does not work in providing successful support. This knowledge comes from individuals living with FASD, their families, friends and service providers, and from research. (Below) are some key collective lessons learned.
- People with FASD have an invisible, brain-based physical disability with behavioural symptoms. They also have the same hopes, dreams and needs as everyone else. Living successfully with FASD means recognizing strengths and what each person brings to the community. It is about focussing on ability over disability.
- Each person with FASD is uniquely affected. Each individual experiences the effect of the brain damage in different ways on different days, depending upon other stressors, levels of fatigue, distractions in the environment, and the competency and appropriateness of supports.
- Individuals with FASD do not experience risk and reward in a typical way. They may not be able to make informed decisions consistently, are highly suggestible, and are often lonely and vulnerable. This creates opportunities for exploitation. Respectful supports recognize this vulnerability, are based on individualized planning, and provide safeguards to assist people with decision making and building interdependent lives in their communities.
- It is important to understand the hallmark neurobehavioral symptoms of FASD before developing accommodations. With FASD,there are brain differences which require support, rather than problem behaviours that must be eliminated.
- Adults with FASD have often experienced chronic failures and wounding. Trust may therefore come slowly. Building on successes is vital to promoting and maintaining positive self-esteem.
- Quality of life concerns—safety, recreation, employment and stable relationships— are as important as support to manage tasks like dishwashing and laundry.
- If certain life skills have not been acquired by adulthood, they may not be either teachable or retained. Arranging assistance to support daily living, such as housekeeping, does not represent failure and may make the difference between keeping and losing a place to live.
- Successful supports involve positive role modelling by carefully selected, informed, understanding and accepting mentors who are in relationships with the person, not custodial roles.
- Active participation of the individual in setting up plans and supports, as appropriate for their learning strengths, abilities and developmental age, is key. Building on what has worked in the past is important. Solutions may be found in their interests, identified needs, family members, and community contacts.
Click Community Living British Columbia to find the document which is available for download. Thanks so much to CLBC and everyone who participated in creating this wonderful and respectful resource and for having it available for download for others to share it and learn from it.
Check back tomorrow for some Wishes for FASD.