Parenting Through the Holidays

Nov 21, 2022
 
Parenting Through the Holidays
by Shannon Iacobacci
 
Parenting kids with brain-based differences can be especially challenging during the holiday season. Changes in routine and increased anticipation of what the holidays bring can be a recipe for overwhelm, leading to increased meltdowns. This may leave you wondering how you will get through this year’s holiday season. I have found a few things that are helpful for my children with brain-based differences that may be helpful for you too.
 
Prepare your child for what to expect. Show pictures of family members that may be present during celebrations. Explain to them who they are, how you know them, where they are traveling from, and any fun or interesting information about that person to help create a connection between them and your child. Seeing familiar faces and hearing stories about a new person can lessen the stress and anxiety when meeting them in person for the first time.
 
Food always is a...
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An Unmet Need

Nov 14, 2022
An Unmet Need
 
by Aubrey Page, Co-Founder
 
The whole reason that I started on this journey 3 years ago was because I saw a gap in the system. The system was made to function. It didn't have to function efficiently or effectively. In some ways, the system was made just so someone can add a link to their reelection campaign or resume that said "I did this." That doesn't mean that it positively impacted the community it was supposed to serve. The gap was between the families who needed the most support and everything else.
 
The biggest help to my own parenting journey was education.So I started there.
 
How could I get the information that empowered me into the hands of other families?
 
The first step was:
 
So often organizations are required to provide trainings to their clients, but was it something they could leave the training and implement immediately? Did the training match the real life experience of the audience? I was...
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What Can I Do To Spread FASD Awareness?

Sep 19, 2021
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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No Promises, Just Try

Aug 18, 2021
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

Aug 12, 2021
 
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 the Doctor Said "No Babies"

Apr 07, 2021
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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Their Story: A Biological Mother of an Amazing Daughter with FASD

Mar 27, 2021
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

Mar 16, 2021
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

Mar 09, 2021
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

Jan 31, 2021

 

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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