Finding the Right Tools – FASD Success Stories Series (6th Story)
So here’s a success story for you.
First I’ll give the background:
I adopted my son, Andre, when he was three. He was living in an orphanage in Belarus, and had been there for six months. Prior to that, he was in the hospital for four months for treatment for rickets and malnutrition. Prior to that, he’d been with his birth family. His parents were both alcoholics and neglected the 5 children – Andre was the youngest.
I had no idea when I adopted him that he had fetal alcohol, but by the time he was in kindergarten the gap started really showing between what he could do and learn and what his peers were doing. In second grade he was finally given a comprehensive evaluation at school (after a HUGE push by me) and it showed he was two standard deviations below the norm in many areas, which in US special education law is when SPED services kick in. In some areas he wasn’t even on the chart yet. The school psychologist said she was afraid to even tell me, as she’d never seen scores that low.
He started receiving services at school, but probably more importantly, I started researching what could help him, and began to implement things at home. This was a lot of neurodevelopment work with his body and mind. I also began using pictures to help him with his routines. I fed information to his teacher’s non-stop and many of them listened and learned! I sought out social skills training, which he totally dug, as it allowed him the tools to succeed in the social realm. The one great FASD trait he has is his drive; he doesn’t give up but continually works hard. He has learned this strategy works for him.
Now, 6 years later I have a 13 year old young man who is solidly in the average to above average in his classes. He reads as often as he can. He is getting math scores in the high 90’s! He has friends. He is able to negotiate the school building, and remembers to bring his materials to class and home, and complete his homework. He uses the tools we’ve all worked so hard to develop for him, such as a planner, visual schedules, asking appropriate questions, etc. Next year he will go to high school and I really think he will be ready to tackle that.
So it’s possible, once all the tools have been put in place and the players have been educated, to create methods and places where kids with FA can function and succeed.