© 2005 Teresa Kellerman
Once you have educated yourself about FASD and really understand that this is permanent brain damage, that your child does not have much control over impulsive behavior and is likely to make poor decisions and will require close supervision and guidance throughout the growing years and into adulthood, once you know that you need to adjust your expectations and face difficult challenges, once you have faced your fears and come to terms with your frustrations and limitations, then you are ready to let go of the old dreams of the past and find new dreams of success in the future with FASD. This is what worked for me. Maybe it will work for you too.
Dream a new dream for your future and the future of your child, based on the reality of FASD (permanent brain damage with impaired judgment) and the inherent risks (injury, addiction, promiscuity, homelessness, joblessness, incarceration, death) and acceptance of what in needed for success (redefined) with realistic expectations. Hope for the best.
Rest and relaxation. R&R is essential for everyone, especially the caregivers who experience burnout. Take daily breaks. Play a computer game. Read a good novel. Plan a weekly outing. Provide for an annual get-away, even if it is to a conference on FASD. Stay in a hotel. A fun escape on a regular basis is crucial to maintaining your mental health.
Enjoy life at a different level. Find pleasure in the little things a sunset or a rainbow. Especially take pleasure in the gifts offered by your child the smile, the work of art, the song. Notice the small successes of your child and celebrate those together. Challenge yourself to find the blessing hidden in the crises and challenges you face.
Act as if your dream really will come true. If you visualize your dream and believe that it is possible to attain, you will be able to realize that dream some day. Miracles can happen when you tap into the power of positive thinking.
Mother yourself. You spend so much energy nurturing and protecting your family, but who nurtures and comforts you? Find a mentor, a psychologist, or a spiritual counselor on whom you can lean when things get rough. Make a slot in your schedule for time to spend with this source of nurturing so your well does not run dry.
Step forward into the next day, the next moment of the future, with hope that your dream will come true, with confidence in your ability to make your dreams become reality. Set aside your fears and frustrations for the moment and refuse all thoughts of I cant. or Im afraid. Take one small step toward making your dream happen, today, right now. Say to yourself and to the world, I can do this! And you will!
Teresa has been called the Queen of FASD Acronyms. Evidence:
BEAM ME UP SCOTTIE
FAS Community Resource Center