I recently attended an online Parent/Caregiver Masterclass in Stress Management. I learned a lot and wanted to share some of the excellent strategies and resources to help us support our loved ones.
Stress is a normal part of our daily lives and certain amounts of stress are important to help us function. Small doses of stress help us meet deadlines, get to places on time, and prepare for important events. However, long-term stress can be harmful and can lead to mental and physical health problems, like depression, substance use issues, and stroke.
When asked to write this blog on what FASD means to me, I struggled. FASD is a complicated disability with many challenging aspects. I finally decided that, in my experience, FASD to this point has meant missed opportunities.
I often wonder if my child’s FASD was consistently recognized from a disability lens, while framed within a strengths-based approach for interventions and support, would life be just a slight bit easier to manage?
Caregiving has meant making my kids live on their own, knowing that they may fail, but also knowing I needed to keep others safe. Sleeping when I did not know where my child was, praying continually that they would live through the night.
Researchers from across Canada are looking to study how the pandemic has changed the lives of neurodiverse individuals and their families. They are asking for families of children, youth, and adults with FASD to complete a short online survey about their experiences during COVID-19.
We are finally confident that people will understand what we mean when we say life is unpredictable and sometimes feels like it is spiralling out of control. It took a pandemic to have others experience what our lives are like routinely.
It is well documented that caregivers of children with disabilities experience increased levels of stress. But caregivers of children with FASD have been shown to experience higher levels of stress than most people. In a 2009 study, 92% of primary caregivers of individuals with FASD had clinically elevated stress levels. These number show that finding effective ways for caregivers to manage stress is especially important for this population.
A member of the CanFASD Family Advisory Committee recently had the opportunity to participate in a research program that gave caregivers of individuals with FASD the skills to better manage the challenges and stresses of their daily lives using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, frontline health care providers are working day and night to protect the health and safety of individuals all across Canada. We honor and respect their sacrifice and commitment to Canadians in this challenging time. This blog post provides a few tips to help frontline health care workers manage the specialized needs of individuals with FASD during COVID-19.