Was difficult to decide to go to the conference this weekend, though both of our adopted children have some fetal alcohol exposure, so this conference seemed like a good choice; even though I am a homebody and wanted the weekend with my sweetheart. I am so glad that we went! My daughter traveled with me. We had a lot to talk about on our over two hour drive in the dark on Friday. Checked into the hotel and the conference was on Saturday. She & I got up super early on Saturday so that we could have an early breakfast and get to the trail before the conference, it was beautiful.
We were greeted by a loving sunrise, warmer than typical weather and this beautiful lake! And several other small lakes in this area. We were so taken by the Hartman State Park that we barely remembered to get the workout in! In all that morning we only honestly meandered .77 of a mile just taken by this glorious place.
We decided to return in the evening to get a real workout. So we just soaked in the beauty & it was a great way to start the day. Waupaca looks like a great place to live, if we decide a move in our later years, I would seriously consider this area.
The trainings we usually go to are sleepers, I'm not exaggerating, and am not gonna lie to pretend that they are better- because rarely they are. THIS WAS THE EXCEPTION!!! WOW, was I surprised and so exhilarated to be there right away.
You know, when you are working with a child with many areas of special needs, it is often like trying to put out the biggest fire first. And let me tell you, there were some big fires to put out.
Now that things are going really well, there are all of these very persistent medium sized fires randomly sparking & this training just gave me to ways to quench the fires. Really, I think the biggest thing I learned was what my expectations could be, and that they (FASD affected children) simply have difficulty processing things.
The things they do that feel manipulative or personal, really are not. The repetitive things they say, are not to frustrate adults, at all. Like autism, FASD children tend to perseverate on things. They get stuck, on saying something, telling you something, asking the same question over and again and again and again and again. They get stuck in an activity and blow up or have a completely ruined mood when asked to move on--- because it is more difficult for them than it is for someone with a brain not affected by alcohol in utero. One of the 'fires' that often are dealt with are when they are asked to transition from one activity to another, this is why bedtime can seem like a fail time after time, why school can be so difficult and frustrating to them (( now think about how many transitions a day there are in Homelife, in school life )). If an adult dealing with a FASD child doesn't know this, they can think that the child is being ill tempered, broody or disrespectful, and if you think of it this way, in the negative, then you can the course of this reaction day after day after day, or as the trainer said every 5 min after 5 min after 5 min, then you can get quite stressed, exhausted and burned out very quickly. Jeff (the trainer) said that after the first hour and a half of dealing with his FASD client he (Jeff) was more exhausted & beaten down than he had been in his entire life.
it was this initial experience that led him down a long path of learning, discovery and training into FASD because of not only his compassion for the FASD client, though the sheer burnout, frustration and hopelessness he found among the families of FASD affected children. ALSO, there is NO safe amount of alcohol to ingest while pregnant. NONE.
It was a huge training, mostly on the functioning of the brain & the adaptive ways to deal with the challenges our children face. Ultimately, it isn't that they are not capable, it is that it may take longer for their brain to process somethings. You could still access the internet on dial up, it just takes longer. It is the same for them. And as they age into their 30's things typically get much better as they get older. And I learned that there is a vast difference in how people are affected with FASD, it all depends on the amount of consumption and when in the development of the fetus. Some people show FASD effects in their face, ears and hands, some do not. Though the brain is always affected, even if it doesn't show on their face. My heart has been completely refilled with understanding, compassion and patience. God knew I needed this training, and He made sure I got there to hear it. My life is changed, as are my entire families, my frustration level is gone- compassion is in it's place. God is so good. When you pray fervently, you have no idea how that prayer is going to be answered. God surprises me often, though I am forever grateful. Do not be surprised that when you cry out in earnest prayer that you are answered back with a set of tools to help you cope. God is not the fairy godmother with a sparkling wand to wisk away issues in our lives. I think instead He helps us to grow through them in this great classroom called life.
Like trees that grow through hardship, the ones who delve their roots in deep & stay flexible grow the strongest. We can take some good advice from the beautiful trees, when faced with drought or storm. Dig deep, stay flexible.
We did head back for another 1.76 miles that late afternoon and even got some trail running in. Love my daughter, I asked her after the run/walk/run how she felt, how working out made her feel. Her response was perfection. "Refreshed"
Blessings & Love,