CDII TRANSITIONS QUICK NOTES
Try to make a deal with them that if they get into trouble with drinking, drugs, sex, finances, not having a place to live or food to eat that they will seek help. Ideally from you or at least you can be involved and can advocate for them.
Some common characteristics of teens moving into adulthood with FASD, not everyone with Fetal Alcohol has all of these.
• Lack of self-control
• Not learning from their mistakes
• Slow processing, which means it sometimes takes them longer to understand what was said and longer to come up with an answer.
• Unable to communicate
• As they are getting older, there is a lack of incentive, lack of drive
• They often deny that they have a disability
• They also often have even stronger feelings of “I don’t need help”
• Choosing unhealthy friends
• Trouble with those in authority/law
• Risky behaviors, both sexual and legal
• Academic problems, often can read at grade level but not comprehend, math often a problem
• Running away
• Self injuries or even attempted suicide
• Unstable, emotional and behavioral ups and downs
• Can’t keep a job
• Knows right from wrong, but can’t do it
• Totally unreasonable
• Being at odds with parents and others in authority
• At times lack of conscious
• Frustrated parents
Persons with FASD can live a good life. They often have very normal desires.
• Desire to marry
• Desire to have children
• To provide for their family
• Their biggest desire is TO BE NORMAL
FORMULA FOR SUCCESS
The team would be made up of people from the following:
• Mental health
• Social services
• FASD advocate
• Criminal justice
• Sports coach
• Youth leader from an organization such as YMCA, 4H, Scouts
• Youth leader or pastor or elder from a church
• An adult friend
• A mature older sibling
Another thing you can do to protect them is to get them involved with safe forms of recreation and friendships. This might be through the YMCA, a community program, through a church, special 4 H programs, scouting, something. But, you need to be very upfront with the leaders of the program, teach them about FASD and tell them about your child’s specific needs.
Other things that you can do to help protect them are to:
Have a dress code. Maintain structure. Maintain scheduling. Convince them to talk to their parents and teachers and caregivers. Teach them to trust the people who have taken care of them for years. Teach them to follow a routine. Teach them not to do anything different without asking.
Teach them to not even touch alcohol or street drugs
DEVELOPMENTAL GROWTH SPURTS AND BRAIN HEALTH
This next area I call “Brain Health.”
If you were trying to get into better physical shape you would eat properly, you would exercise, and you would get plenty of sleep. Doing these things may also help them have a developmental growth spurt.
• Eating healthy foods. Limit the amount of sugar and junk foods you eat. Drink water, not sodas and sugary drinks. Stay away from artificial sweeteners, caffeine, artificial colorings and dyes.
• Get plenty of exercise.
• Get plenty of sleep.
• Practice good hygiene.
o Hygiene includes:
? Hair style
? And appearance
• Do not drink any alcohol, and do not take street drugs
• Do not smoke
• Read books
• Beware of the way you talk
o Fight against negativity
o Do not swear
o Deal with anger
A person needs to be careful of how much time they spend and what type of movies or TV they watch, or electronic games they play. People need to have healthy hobbies. For example: things such as crafts, doing art, helping people. Maybe being involved in sports, maybe church activities, possibly the YMCA. But do something healthy. Be a hard worker, a person with FASD needs to be around people who care about them. They need to be around people who are also doing good in their lives.
Some of the characteristics of an ideal school would include:
• Staff that understands FASD and who receive training from several different people
• Staff which communicate with the parents
• A team approach to helping the student
• Teaching life skills
• Concrete learning not abstract
• Being sensitive to the students academic needs
• Protecting the student with FASD from other students and protecting other students from the student with FASD
• Teach drive and positive attitude
• The IEP process should be a team effort, bringing in others, such as PACER, the disability law centers, people to advocate, to come together and help set up a program
• Teaching them about FASD
• Having a counselor who will talk to the student about the tough subjects, but they must understand what the parents stand on these issues
• Socially acceptable behaviors
• How to work
• Learning to work would include:
o positive attitude
o proper behaviors
• Understanding and teach about the developmental growth spurts
• Teaching them to be nice, to stay connecter, and to accept help
Where ever the person goes to school caregivers and staff should
communicate. There should be a team approach to the person’s education.
• What do they plan to do when they turn 18
o What if they do not have the life skills to do that
o Will they accept help
• Where a person is going to live
o Living totally independently, which 20% can
o Living with assistance, and what that level of assistance will be, will depend upon what the person needs
o Living at home
o Living in an assisted living center
o For far to many, you need to prepare them for living in a jail
• Medical care
o Medical Card
• Life skills
• Whether or not they’re going to do alcohol and drugs
• Money management
• Types of friends
• Recreation, whether that’s through YMCA, whether that’s through a youth group, or an adult group. Whether that’s going to church or not, whether it’s sports. Talk about different forms of recreation.
• Guardianship or conservatory.
• Other subjects that come to mind that you really don’t want to talk about
LIFE PLANNING AND GOAL SETTING
Life Planning needs to be realistic. It needs to cover the tough subjects, subjects such as:
• do they plan on getting married
• whether they plan on having children
• where they plan on living.
These are the steps to life planning and goal setting:
• Meet with them
• Introduce the idea (theory) of this to them
• Give them some time to think about it (at least a couple of days)
• Meet with them again (start a file or a binder)
• Start writing down ideas
• Make two list
• One life goals (big picture – long term goals – you can use items from the tough subjects list)(listen to the person, do not say no)(you will tweak them later)
• and another one for immediate goals (desires to do something – behaviors – character changes – etc.)
• Pick out a couple of goals from each list (you will be doing more of them)
• Try hard to make this fun
• Talk about whether they are realistic
• Keep in mind developmental growth spurts
• Especially with long term goals
• Explore with them whether they are realistic
• See if you can tweak the goals
• Try to make this fun
• when they have reached their saturation point stop and do it again later
• You can always put items on a list to be talked about later
• Do not be pressured into answering questions that you are not comfortable with (see 1 below)
• Make sure that you put it on a list to talk about later
• Seek wisdom from others before you answer
• Start making to-do list from their goals
• Try to keep this simple
• steps involved to reach their goal
• Developmental changes
• Skills needed
• Changes that they need to make
• Educational requirements
• Their strong points
• Meet with them on a regular basis
• Check their progress on their to-do list
• This can become a time that you find out what they are thinking
• It can be
o a special time for the two of you
o a time when you work on behaviors
o a time when the two of you tweak their goals or their to-do list
o a time when you teach them to communicate
o a time when you teach them perseverance
o extremely frustrating
• Unfortunately reason does not always prevail
• Be sensitive to them and yourself tell them you will meet again
• Give both of you some time to think about certain subjects
• Seek help from others for ideas
• Calm down – this can be frustrating for both of you
• When they are doing things which go against their goals list remind them of their goals
• Be patient with both them and yourself, this is a long term process
• Sometimes it is helpful to only work on two immediate goals at a time(see 2 below)
List of things you need to talk about:
• Unsociably acceptable behaviors
• Strong points
• Weak points
• Where a person is going to live
• Money management
• Life skills
• Types of friends
• Whether or not they’re going to do alcohol and street drugs
• Talk about whether they possibly will need a guardianship or conservatory.
As parents and professionals we need to be sensitive to our young adults’ abilities and desires. Help them to find work that matches them not your desires for them. Remember the developmental growth spurt, later they may be able to have a better job, or be able to keep a relationship, or maybe even stay out of jail.
New track 10)
Life skills – teach them normal daily life skills. Life skills such as cooking, hygiene, money management, communicating, being nice. Then you add to that list their personal one from life planning which comes from dealing with the tough subjects. Remember to give them hope.
• have a good attitude.
• to be nice
• team player,
• to stay on task
• teach them to be positive
• teach them to have drive.
They also need life skills such as learning to cook, money management, practicing good hygiene. The way a person dresses, they’re cleanliness, their appearance, their hair is very important.
They need to develop safe and healthy forms of recreation. That is a life skill. They need to learn to communicate effectively, in a healthy manner. And realize that this may take a period of time, that it becomes a life skill and one which you should work on.
They need to learn to set goals.
They need to learn about different places where they might live. They may be able to live independently, but that’s only 20%. So, they need to learn what is the proper way if you’re living with other people, if you’re living with help. You need to learn well what if you’re going to live at home. What are the proper attitudes and ways to live at home, so that they are a joy to be around, so that your parents want to have you there, so that you’re not a burden to them. They need to learn if they’re going to live in an assisted living center, what are the proper behaviors.
And I think we should even have one on teaching people what to do if they go to jail. How it’s important to obey, how it’s important to learn when to be quiet.
SERVICES AND RESOURCES AND COUNSELING
Some Services providers:
• Social Security
• DD Services at the Department of Human Services
• Mental health, both children’s mental health and adult mental health
• County Health Department
• Medical Assistance
• Adoption Assistance (in some cases can keep going until they are 22, even if they have graduated from school)
• Extended or Post Foster Care programs
• Adult Foster Care
• Jobs training, there’s job coaches, there are services to help you find a job, services to help you keep a job, special jobs
• Private organizations such as:
• NACAC. a national adoption organization
• National, state, and local FASD organizations
• The ARC
There are many more services available, some of which you are going to have to find. You’re going to have to talk to people, and you’re going to have to let your needs be known. But all these services will not help if the person will not use them, if they will not stay connected and if they will not accept help.
Another service is support groups. They are a good place to learn from other parents and professionals, a place to find out about service, a place where you can realize your child’s behaviors are common for a person with FASD.
On a national level there is NOFAS, the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Here in Minnesota, we have MOFAS, Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. It is a state organization with national significance. The ARC, are a nationally and state organization. They also have a local organization in northern Minnesota which does training and advocacy on FASD. For Diagnosis there is the Fetal Alcohol Diagnostic Program in Duluth or Dr. Chang at the University of Minnesota, in the Twin Cities. There are many other organizations which you can go online and find. Just type in “FASD,” the numbers that come up are staggering
Some counseling models which have been helpful:
• Story telling
• Positive self talk
• Cognitive thinking skills
• Life planning, goal setting
• Talking about the tough subjects
• Helping them deal with the fact that they have abilities and disabilities
• Help them deal with adolescents
• Listening to the client but understanding what they say may not be reality. Knowing when to ask the parent. Knowing when to direct the counseling session.
• Someone who will be respectful of the parents values
• Having them listen (can not respond) to two or more people talk about them, then much later checking with them about what they think.
A counselor can be an important part of the team, they can really help. So try to find a counselor who meets these criteria.
• If they do not have a diagnosis, get a diagnosis
• Get services in place
• Teach them about fetal alcohol
• Do realistic life planning and goal setting
• Convince them to stay connected and to accept help.
• Talk about those hard subjects
• Remember about developmental growth spurts
• Have hope
• Remember it’s organic brain damage
• Educate your self, learn from more than one source. Different teachers will give you different ideas.
• Become a good advocate
• Teach to them to be nice
• Be nice to them
.If you’d like to contact us, you can e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And of course, you can go online and look up “HaysKids,” our organization, http://www.hayskids.com.