My Great Adventure


It was a few years ago when our family collectively decided to take a giant step and become a foster family. Our four children were leaving elementary school, and we all wanted to open our home to children who needed it. We were able to foster many children and care for them in their time of need. It was through this process our family adopted two more girls. During this time, we were noticing not only behavioral challenges with our little ones, but also our middle schoolers. We thought it may have been the adjustment of adding to the family, but there seemed to be more to it. We tried traditional parenting methods, but they seemed to make matters worse. Our family was literally beginning to fall apart.

Desperate for help and keeping our family unit intact, we sought help from professionals. Unfortunately, this added zero benefit for our struggling teens. We were left with multiple diagnoses, and a referral to therapy, which seemed to help in the beginning, but truly did not...

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Uncategorized Jan 18, 2021

As we step into this new year so many of us have goals.  Often those goals are around working out or eating better or doing more of something we enjoy.  Basically, our new years resolutions are self care.

For parents of kids with disabilities, we so often put our needs last.  But self care is critical for us to be the best parents that we can be.  That's why The CSH Collab has started the #timeformechallenge to encourage people to take time for themselves.

The first day we will just take 5 minutes. Only 5 minutes.  Then we go to 10 minutes, then 20 minutes, then 30 minutes, then 40 minutes, and whole hour on Saturday.  On Saturday we want to gather together to hear from La Shanda Sugg. She will teach us more about how self care is more than 5 minutes and more than pedicures.  She will help us truly change how we view self care.

The class will be recorded, but purchase your tickets now because the price will go up after the course is...

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FASD and Human Trafficking

by Aubrey Page, Collaborator/CEO (originally published July 30, 2020 on

In honor of World Trafficking Against Persons Day, July 30, I want to discuss the intersectionality of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and Human Trafficking. I have been a passionate advocate for human trafficking for years, but one of the reasons that it was easy for me to be passionate about FASD was that I saw this link.

Human trafficking is a complex series of people grooming children and adults in order to exploit them. Let's look at what steps these take. Many professionals reference the AMP Model which stands for Action Means Purpose.

The AMP Model is widely accepted as how to identify the existence of trafficking, but it is important to note that children cannot consent and do not require means.

So then if we look at how FASD can be impacted, we will see that individuals with FASD struggle with cause and effect. That can mean that individuals can be more easily...
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Self-Loathing in Adoption (Guest Blogger Hishu Wea McGrady)

adoption fasd hishu Nov 25, 2020
Guest Blogger Hishu Wea McGrady, Student at U of M and Diagnosed FASD

I was formally adopted at 2 years of age and told I was adopted when I was approximately 8. I kept asking why I was darker than everyone else, why were my features different. I felt peculiar and separate and the time came where my adoptive mom couldn’t keep it from me any longer. The fact she told me I was adopted never changed my profound sense of not belonging, no matter how much she told me she loved me. I felt every single dissonant nuance of connection and communication between those in the adoptive family and me and anyone who knew I was adopted. It was like a nightmare. It wasn’t made any easier by the abuse and my extreme emotional breaks (now diagnosed FASD). In every practical sense, I was deduced to a troubled child, a troubled teenager and a troubled adult.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, lemme tell ya. I’m sure we adoptees could all write a book! So when asked about the...

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Thanksgiving Complexities (Guest Blogger Hishu Wea McGrady)

fasd hishu Nov 24, 2020
Guest Blogger Hishu Wea McGrady, Student at U of M and Diagnosed FASD

Rarely I hear people acknowledge the first “Thanksgiving” as a day the Puritans celebrated having survived their first winter in the “New World” in 1621, plundering and pillaging from the Wampanoag people for their food. The Plymouth colony had built a wall around their settlement to keep Indigenous people out and needless to say, that first unofficial “Thanksgiving” excluded Narragansett, Pequot and Wampanoag tribes. In fact, “Thanksgiving” had its first semi-official day of feast in celebration for the massacre of over 700 Pequot men, women, and children in where is now known as Mystic, Connecticut, in 1637. Afterward, year by year all of the colonies (13) would make this celebration an annual event. In 1789, President George Washington proclaimed it, 'National Day of Thanksgiving' and finally, in 1863, President Lincoln (by way of Sarah Josepha Hale) declared it a...

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We Are Still Here (Guest Blogger Hishu Wea McGrady)

fasd hishu Nov 23, 2020
Guest Blogger Hishu Wea McGrady, Student at U of M and Diagnosed FASD

My name is Hishu Wea McGrady. I am named after my great great great great grandmother, Hishu Wea. It is Hidatsa and in English is translated to Peppermint Woman. I am enrolled at Ft. Berthold, ND, Three Affiliated Tribes. Mandan (Nueta), Hidatsa and Arikara (Sahnish). My maternal grandmother was also Ft. Peck Assiniboine (Nakona) and Sioux (Dakota) and my biological father, Northern Cheyenne (Tsitsistas and So’taeo’o). My tribes have lived primarily in this northern area of Turtle Island for thousands of years. Suffice it to say, this is home. Born and currently living in Montana, I have also lived a bicoastal life. From Washington State to Pennsylvania and stops in-between, all have been learning experiences, various and unique. They have all left an indelible impact in the construct of how and who I am, to which I am so grateful for.

During my travels, I have met so many different Indigenous people...

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A Cry Out

by Shannon Iacobacci, Collaborator

Have you ever just sat and held your little one with FASD after a major episode and just sobbed? Have you ever just laid by their bedside after it was all said and done and cried out to God to help you do this better? Well I just did…again. 

I have just spent the last 30 minutes crying my eyes out because I continue to see the challenges of this disability. I mean, I know it, I’ve seen it in others, but I am in the trenches more and more every day. It’s like my baby has snapped and things are getting worse. Here I am learning more about brain-based disability so that I can help others understand it, and advocate for children with this disability. Here I am being the “teacher” on what to do when this happens, and yet in the moment, when this is happening in my own real life, I get triggered too.

Why? Why can’t I just recognize it in the moment of daily life and just roll with it? Why am I finding...

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Who is The Change Starts Here Collaborative?


We just recently launched and are excited about what is to come. We are a collaborative of advocates and educators for neurodiversity. We want to see systemic and legislative change as a part of our work to support families. We see value in neurodiverse individuals and want to see their voices lifted and valued in the discussion. We want to link arms with fellow advocates and fight to improve the quality of life of families while maintaining stability for their children.

So, who is this for?
This is for families of kids with brain-based disabilities. That includes diagnoses like ADHD, Autism, FASD, ODD, OCD, PANS/PANDAS, learning disabilities, and so much more. It also includes kids who don't necessarily have a diagnosis, but have learning or social differences.
This is for families of kids who have trauma. We will always be committed to trauma-informed practices.
This is for families of kids who have mental health challenges. This includes, things like bipolar,...

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What makes your eye twitch as a parent?

by Aubrey Page, Collaborator
Sometimes you feel like you're spinning in circles. You keep trying new parenting tactics, but you hit road blocks. And then that one thing happens. The thing that makes your eye twitch.
Maybe for you it's lying. Maybe for you it's disrespect. Maybe it's sibling fights. We all have the thing. The thing that sends you from 0 to 100 in 2.5 seconds flat.
When we are in the moment we feel like it's the thing that our kid is the worst at, but when we are able to step away we can see it's the thing that impacts us the most. Whether it reminds us of our past or happens to be a message we got about parenting that makes us feel like we are bad parents if our kids do this. Either way, it is about us. Not them.
For me, this is the hardest part of parenting. I want to hold my kids accountable for every feeling I have. Explain to myself that it's because they do x that I yell. Or because they won't do x that I took away whatever. Realistically,...
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Welcome to the Collaborative!

about us Nov 01, 2020
by Aubrey Page

Wow! Launch day!  This has been in the works for several months. We are so proud of the content we are curating for you in your endeavors to support neurodiverse individuals.  Be sure to find out who we are.

As collaborators we are working to provide you with information via short courses that give you a lesson in less than 15 minutes (so even if you're waiting in the car pickup line you can still get some learning in).  We are working on many partnerships to bring you passionate, practical, and progressive information to help you on your mission to support neurodiverse individuals.

What is neurodiversity?  According to Psychology Today:

Neurodiversity refers to the idea that neurological differences, such as those seen in autism or ADHD, reflect normal variations in brain development. Neurodiversity is often contrasted with the “medical model,” which views conditions such as autism or ADHD as disorders to...

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