Speaking Truth in Love

by Shannon Iacobacci, Collaborator
Sometimes as foster parents we find ourselves in situations we don’t understand or know how to navigate. The hardest one…our own personal feelings. We’ve signed up to care for kids that have suffered some form of abuse or neglect from the very people that are supposed to love and care for them. Their safety was compromised, and we have volunteered to help heal their wounds the best we can. We pour out our love for them, provide for them, and hold them close through emotional roller coasters when they come. And then what?
 
The family visits arrive, court dates occur, and it seems as if our “mama bear” mode kicks in. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Am I feeling these feelings for my foster child and what they are going through, or because of my own selfish wants and needs?” It seems harsh to put it so directly, but we need to. We need to evaluate our own reasons for foster care. Are we...
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PANDA/PANS Awareness Day

alex tripp brain panda/pans Oct 09, 2021
by Alex Tripp, Collaborator
Have you heard of PANDA/PANS before? I had heard of it previously, but up until doing some reading after finding out October 9th was PANDA/PANS Awareness day, I honestly didn’t know much about it.
 
So… What is it?
PANDA (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus/Strep): caused by an autoimmune response to a streptococcus infection.
 
PANS (Pediatric Acute-Onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome): caused by a bacterial infection other than strep, creating an autoimmune response, such as (but not limited to) Lyme Disease, mononucleosis, or H1N1.
 
The bacteria or infection itself is not the issue, but rather the body’s reaction to the bacteria that can cause inflammation in certain areas of the child’s brain - resulting in sudden and drastic changes in behaviour.
 
These changes may look like…
- Sudden onset of obsessions, compulsions and/or tics (may present with OCD-like...
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What Can I Do To Spread FASD Awareness?

by Alex Tripp, Collaborator
Once I become interested in something, I try to know as much about it as I possibly can… Example: This binder started out as some handwritten pages in a notebook. I started researching and reading about FASD four years ago and basically, I never looked back. But, I kept wondering… How could I share the information I had and the things I was learning in a way that went beyond just talking to the people in my life?
 
Last September I really wanted to do something for FASD Awareness Month. What could *I*, as one person with a head full of information and nowhere to go, do to contribute to spreading awareness for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?
 
Well, I’m what some might call a “social media enthusiast” (and by that I just mean that a very large amount of my time is spent on it). So I headed to what was familiar and started posting information there. Then came the graphics, which I had so much fun making I would sit...
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Some Dreams Have to Change

Uncategorized Aug 26, 2021
by Aubrey Page, Collaborator 
I had a dream and I did it. We did it. We made it.
 
I had a dream of taking my kids on a trip throughout the southeast portion of the United States to show them a lot of history that we had studied in homeschool.
 
But how do you take kids who need ROUTINE and STRUCTURE all over the country? Well, you take your house with you! We bought an RV in the spring with the whole goal of taking our kids on this amazing road trip. In many ways it went exactly as planned and yet so much changed while on the road.
 
 
The process of planning this trip involved calculating distances between addresses, booking RV sites using the state park system of 4 different states, and figuring out how long we needed to go without being able to do laundry. I actually ordered a magnetic board from Amazon and some magnetic "push pins" to color code our plans.
 
 
 
Now WE know the plans, but do we tell the kids? No. No we do not. We told...
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No Promises, Just Try

by Alex Tripp, Collaborator
I can remember getting ready for back-to-school myself, and all of the different feelings that would come in the days leading up… Who’s class will I be in? What will I wear? Who will I sit with? Will I know my way around?
After I graduated from college, I started a position as a Child and Youth Worker at a group home for youth with various forms of neurodiversity; including FASD, ASD and ADHD. When it came time for back-to-school for these kiddos, I would think about all of those questions that I used to have and how they were feeling all of those things, and then some…
For children with brain-based disabilities who may have a hard time with transitions, new environments, sensory sensitivities and emotional regulation - I imagined these worries felt even bigger to them, especially for those kiddos who were new to the home or starting at a brand new school.
One of the first things I would do to help the kids prepare would be to...
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"All About Me" for My Kids

 
by Shannon Iacobacci, Collaborator 
Is it just me, or am I the only one feeling jittery about school starting back up this year? Maybe it’s post pandemic, maybe it’s the uncertainty that if I send my children back into school are they just going to shut it down again and we will be back to virtual learning, or maybe it’s just that my children are going into school and I’m nervous about how they will be treated because of their varying disabilities.
 
I don’t have the answers to all my jitters, I wish I did. Life sure would be a lot easier and relaxing, wouldn’t it? I started thinking, what I have been most concerned about? My child being understood. Understood by her teachers and her peers. The more I thought about it, the more anxious I became as a parent about sending my children to school, and the more my children would feed off that anxiety of mine.
 
I decided to ease my anxiety and my children at the same time by...
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When School CAUSES Trauma

aubrey page school trauma Jun 29, 2021
by Aubrey Page, CEO

I have googled for a long time, but correct me if I just am a terrible google-r.

I cannot find discussion around the school CAUSING trauma.  When you look up school and trauma you get articles about how to provide trauma-informed care in an education setting. How to support the kids who aren't eating at home and the kids who have to sleep with one eye open.

Let's talk about the kids who have to go to school with one eye open.  The kids for whom school is the most dangerous place.  Why would school be like that?  What would cause that?

Children who should be eligible for special education services can be traumatized by school in the following ways:

- Not being identified and therefore being treated like a child who doesn't need support. Consistently failing at assignments and/or getting in trouble leading to a heightened vigilance or avoidance of assignments altogether.

- Being identified as a "behavior only" child when really the behavior...

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When the Doctor Said "No Babies"

By Melissa Jan
I remember the day I was told that the % of getting pregnant was well below zero...
 
I was around the age of 18 and when I was told I wouldn’t be able to carry my own baby. I immediately felt a sense of shame and that there was something wrong with me. I never shared this information with anyone, not my mom or my sister. I was ashamed that my body couldn’t produce what other woman’s could.
 
This isn’t my first time telling the story, but it may be the first time for you reading it. I often get asked what are the reasons for not being able to conceive. I am very transparent about my story and once I was told “no babies” I accepted what my doctor told me, which was that due to my Epilepsy and the medication I was taking it did harm to my body in that area. I mean, he was my doctor, I should trust him right?!
 
Fast forward five years and I am about to get married to my first husband, I am at my stagette with my...
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Why Dr. Greene Says You Won't Get to the Bahamas

by Aubrey Page, Collaborator/CEO

I talk to a lot of parents.  I talk to parents in crisis, parents who think they've gotten it all figured out, and parents who think this "new age" positive parenting movement is ruining society.

If only they understood "Kids Do Well If They Can" like I do.  Dr. Ross Greene uses this as the foundation of his approach of "Collaborative and Proactive Solutions" (CPS).  His website says, "The model is based on the premise that concerning behavior occurs when the expectations being placed on a kid exceed the kid’s capacity to respond adaptively."

He says the opposite of "kids do well if they can" is "kids do well if they wanna."  That is, our belief shifts to the idea that kids have to be motivated to do the right thing.  Then we are in a position of adjusting bad behavior rather than correcting a skill deficit or altering an expectation.

I often explain it like this...
I used to drive ships.  So say you and I...

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Their Story: A Biological Mother of an Amazing Daughter with FASD

by Melissa Jan, Collaborator 
I was 12 when I had my first seizure. I had so many that my parents stopped counting. The doctors diagnosed me with Epilepsy. Just a typical 12 year old having to take medication to control them and hoping and praying that I’d never have a seizure in front of my friends was one of the hardest things I went through in my teenage years. Then something even worse happened. I was told by my doctors that my chances of being able to have a baby of my own were less than 1%. My world as I saw it in the future, ended. No, it wasn’t my life goal to just be a mom to my own blood, but knowing now that it wasn’t going to happen, I was crushed.  I didn’t tell anyone, no friends, no boyfriend, not even my family. I blamed myself, if only my brain worked properly if only I didn’t have to take medication that I was told was decreasing my chances of reproducing one day. If only…
 
Fast forward to me at 24 years old....
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