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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Using Nature As the Ultimate Accommodation

by Hishu Wea McGrady, Collaborator 
Some people look at North Dakota prairies and valleys and say no, that’s boring and lackluster. The White Earth valley was anything but. Springtime brought rich fertile land with patches of wild tiger lilies and pasque flowers, prairie roses, bluebells and prairie turnips, baby livestock and wildlife, bees, flowering berry trees and flocks of singing birds. In the summertime it teamed with sweet grasses, prairie grasses, buffalo berry trees, sage, rose hips and meadowlarks, June berries, chokecherries, gooseberries and strawberries. When the wind blew, you smelled earth. By the time I was 6 I began 1st grade, my mother as my teacher in our ranch house. Homeschooling was really the only option for a country kid like me at the time and I was more than obliged since I was very much attached to mom. I only vaguely recall learning ABC’s, 123’s, and, the toughest, reading. I did begin to read at an early age however, because I was...
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The 5 C's of Responding to an Escalation

by Shannon Iacobacci, Collaborator
I am often asked "What do you do when your child is having and emotional escalation or episode?" That is such a hard question to answer because each child is different, especially those with FASD, brain-based and neurobehavioral conditions. However, in my experience, there are a few things that I have come up with to help me with my own children. I must first remember that this is a brain issue, not a behavior issue. What I am seeing and experiencing is my child’s brain-based disability in action. That being said, first and foremost, safety is key. Keeping my child safe and those around her safe is THE most important thing, and we do what we need to do for safety first. 
 
I have come up with my own 5 C's to remind myself in the middle of an escalation:
 
  1. Stay Calm- This is THE HARDEST thing to do. When my child is turning over furniture, slamming doors, screaming, hitting, biting, throwing things, and everything in between,...
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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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#timeformechallenge

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 then...one 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 aubreypage.org)

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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