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Adoption support comes in many forms. One source many adoptive families utilize is a wonderful organization called the Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE), which focuses on strengthening the well-being of foster and adoptive families through awareness, sensitivity, and empowerment as they help their children thrive. One issue many foster and adoptive families face is that of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Bringing awareness to this condition, CASE provides substantial support and education. Funding to provide this is essential and you can help in a simple way through vehicle donation.
The “Hidden” Syndrome
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is often called a “hidden” or “invisible” disability because its physical characteristics can be subtle and may go unrecognized. There is a high incidence of FAS in children who are adopted. If this is the case in your family, there are many resources and means of support and education to help and your family navigate this challenging issue. Many alcohol-affected children are endearing and affectionate, and these qualities can mask the seriousness of this lifelong neurological disability.
There are many strategies for supporting your child through daily living as they meet the extra challenges that come from having fetal alcohol syndrome. It is not uncommon to find things that work for a few weeks that will need tweaking to better assist your child. Each child is unique and faces problem areas as well as strengths that need to be considered when creating a positive environment for them to navigate. No two children affected by FAS are the same and parenting a child with FAS is not an easy task.
While it is easy to focus on the struggles these children have, many children possess positive characteristics that, when incorporated into their treatment, can greatly benefit their self-perception. These include a dominant creative intelligence (eg artistic, musical), perseverance (determined, willing, committed, hard worker, energetic) highly moral with a deep sense of fairness, friendly and trusting, loyal, affectionate, gentle, tactile/cuddly, concerned, love nurturing children and animals, highly verbal, exceptional memory, curious, and a great sense of humor.
Routines are Vital to FAS Affected Families
A way to integrate these strengths is give your child a safe and predictable environment in which to thrive. Routines are vital to the security and structure of your child’s day and greatly contribute to well-being and personal control while significantly reducing break-downs.
- Take daily activities down into specific step-by-step goals. Consider mini-routines within larger routines. Create an order to everything and stick to that standard every day. For example, begin your morning routine with the same wake-up time and steps. An example of this could inclue
1. Enter room, “Henry, time to get up.”
2. Open curtains
3. Turn on the lights
4. Gentle touch child
5. Pull back covers
6. Help child sit up, assist them in getting their feet on the floor
7. Communicate clearly to your child what comes next
- Create and make visible lists of daily events. You can use a diagram, pictures or simple words to illustrate what needs to be accomplished. For example, what needs to happen before school may look like this:
1. Get up
2. Bathroom time (wash face, brush teeth, brush hair)
3. Get dressed
4. Eat Breakfast
5. Put school items together (backpack, homework)
6. Make lunch and pack it
7. Put on shoes and coat
There are many invaluable resources that can help you to learn more about FAS and what it like to parent a child who will someday become an adult with FAS. CASE is pro-active in helping families who deal with this challenge, offering much-needed support and education. In order to provide this support, CASE relies on fundraising, contributions, and your car donations.