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FASD1201 Family And Caregivers For Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

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  • Course Code: FASD1201
  • University: Bow Valley College
  • Country: Canada


Background Information

One of the primary stressors in the family is about the behaviors associated with the condition. Frequently parents and caregivers find behavior very challenging. To come up with effective accommodations, supports and interventions, caregivers and professionals need to view specific behaviors through an FASD-informed lens. This workbook will guide you through the steps needed to support an individual and their family from an FASD-informed perspective.

Step 1: Choose a scenario to assess

Read the scenarios below and choose one to use for this assignment. If you prefer, you may use a scenario from real life experience, but please discuss it with your instructor first.

Scenario 1:

My daughter Eve, is 18 years old. She was adopted when she was 4 from an orphanage in Russia. She lives with me (her mom), her father Jim, and two younger sisters, ages 14 and 12. She is the only one who is adopted and the only one with FASD.

When she was adopted she showed a number of negative attachment behaviors. Those were addressed through counselling and therapy. FASD was not diagnosed until she was 11 years old, when she started struggling in school. She is also diagnosed with ADHD.
She has some of the FASD traits but not all and she is considered “high-functioning.” At school she is in mainstream classes but on an IEP. She has never been a stellar student but that may be because of her lack of motivation more than ability. Looking at the list of traits, I have to say she also may have memory issues but they seem to be selective. LOL. She always had a problem with hygiene and I had to stay right on top of that and remind her all the time. She is a very literal thinker and although she laughs a lot, she doesn’t really get jokes. She prefers hanging out with younger girls. Eve is very social and has always been the life of the party. She frequently acts like the clown in social situations. She is pretty, giggly, and has a sparkle about her that is very endearing. She is a really good cook, although she isn’t as good at cleaning up.  

Recently we have had a lot of problems with her online interactions. She has been talking to men online a lot. We took away her phone and limited her computer use so she could only use the internet to do homework. She also was caught drunk in the boy’s restroom at a school dance with two male classmates and suspended.

Last week she found a way around our security and managed to get back online. Within a week she had made a fake email and social media accounts, stole her guardianship account card from me (then put it back after) but used it to buy a prepaid cell phone (which she had delivered to our next door neighbor!). She then made arrangements to be picked up from her volunteer job by a total stranger, ostensibly for a swim party but he intended sex.

My husband is out of town, and I am busy but didn’t notice. Luckily her sister saw something was up and let me know before the meeting happened.

How should I handle this?

What should I do to prevent it from happening again?

Scenario 2:

Jason is 7 years old but he is the size of a 4 year old kid. He is an only child, and I am a single mother. I work as a waitress at a café. I don’t make a lot of money but we survive. We live in an apartment with our dog, Ralph, who is Jason’s best friend.
Jason was diagnosed at birth. I have been clean now for 6 ½ years. Jason was my motivation because at birth he was put in foster care and I had to get clean and dry to get him back.

Jason was diagnosed with FASD because he has the facial features and also I admitted to drinking during pregnancy. He has always been behind in development and I only got him toilet trained 2 years ago. He is in a special school for kids with disabilities. He is a very active kid and exhausts me because he’s always on the go. He doesn’t have many friends but that’s okay because neither do I so it is me and him.  Right now I am having big problems because he won’t sleep. I need him to sleep because I work hard during the day and I need my rest. Also I think it is hard on his body to just be going all the time. I put him to bed at 8 and he starts getting out of bed about 9:30 p.m. From 10pm till well past 3am he gets out of bed over and over. He said he’s scared and wanted ALL the lights on in the apartment. It doesn’t matter what I say or do, he wouldn't stay in bed. He has a night light in his room but that isn’t good enough. One day I even took him to the trampoline park for 4 hours before bed, and even though he uses up a lot of energy and should be exhausted, he still didn’t sleep. He does take 5 mg melatonin and he has a regular bedtime routine. I am EXHAUSTED and frustrated.  Any advice on what to do?

Scenario 3:

Lillian is 12 years old. She is my granddaughter but lives with my husband and I. We got Lilly when she was a baby because they took her away from my daughter, her mother, who had a drinking problem, and Lilly had no place to live. It’s important to keep children in the family so my husband and I fostered her. My daughter, her mother, lives nearby but she hasn’t been an active part of Lilly’s life. I raised 5 children and now Lilly and she is by far my hardest. I am not a young woman anymore.

Lilly is a good kid though and we enjoy her too. She keeps us young, even when she exhausts us. She is always willing to help us when we need it. She is also very cheerful and gives our life meaning.

The problem is that she steals constantly. It was such a problem at school they gave her a clear book bag but then she stuck things in pants. We try taking stuff away, we tried talking, and we tried reward systems. Half the time the stuff she steals has no meaning or worth to her.  This is really causing a lot of tension in the house right now because she takes people stuff while they are sleeping and sometimes you don't even notice for days that it's gone. So far she hasn’t started stealing from stores, but I think she might if we don’t find a way to deal with this. What can we do?

Scenario 4:

I am a single father and my 14 year old son Cody has FASD. We live in a small town. His mom is not with me anymore but he is Indigenous and we live near the reserve and his mom’s family sees him sometimes. He is smart but not in the traditional ways. He likes to take apart electronics and he’s really good at fixing stuff, which is amazing since he reads at a grade one level according to his teacher. He has started refusing to go to school or do anything we ask him to do that he doesn’t want to do. This has been accompanied by incidents of explosive anger. A few weeks ago I tried calling the police when he got out of control but they came out and just made things worse. Then the next week Child Protective Services contacted me, and although they have let things go this time I sure don’t feel like dealing with them again, so I don’t feel I can ask for help from the police anymore. Cody just snaps when he doesn’t get his own way. I can hardly live with him anymore because he has scared me so bad when I say no that I just started saying yes to everything. Things got a bit better at the end of July but now he’s doing it again. I don’t know what to do anymore. Please help me.

Step 2: Assess the Individual

  1. Read the following list of traits associated with FASD and circle the ones that you think describe or may describe the person with FASD in the scenario you chose.

Developmental Dysmaturity (functions below chronological age): may seem irresponsible for chronological age, actions, and interests like a younger person; prefers younger friends

Adaptive Behaviors: difficulty with daily self-care, behaves in unsafe ways

Language Skills: expressive language is better than receptive language (can say lots, but understands little); struggles to find words or uses inappropriate words; speech is hard to understand, has difficulty reading and responding to verbal cues

may interact inappropriately in conversations ie. not act reciprocally; often doesn’t follow directions, seems to have gaps in understanding,

Attention difficulty paying attention, hyperactive behavior or shuts down

Abstract Reasoning: difficulty with math, managing and counting money, time management, frequently late, difficulty predicting outcomes; difficulty making decisions; doesn’t recognizes what others may be thinking or feeling; difficulty generalizing from one situation to another; standard parenting and behavior techniques or teaching seem ineffective.

Memory: not able to remember multi-step instructions; confabulates (tells stories that appear to be lies); inconsistent abilities on different days and times; needs frequent reteaching; doesn’t seem to learn from experience.

Executive Functioning: academic challenges; difficulty organizing and planning; has difficulty switching from one activity to another; gets upset by changes in routine; impulsive; displays strong emotional responses; emotions often seem irrational; may run away or become aggressive when stressed; perseverates

Sensory Behaviors: easily overstimulated, oversensitive to lights, touch, sounds; under sensitive e.g. Doesn’t feel pain; has sleep difficulties; stands too close or far from others; reacts strongly to sensory information like some foods, etc.; may appear clumsy; needs to eat or drink often or forgets to do so

Processing Speed: slow speaking; slow to respond; often says “I don’t know”

  1. What are the individual’s strengths and interests?
  2. Circle the learning style in the following list that you think the individual displays or might display. 
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