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Thankless?

Thankless? - Thanks Fasd

I started a parenting course a couple of weeks ago. It’s run by Social Services in my local area, and I've found it really interesting. It doesn't take into account any form of disability or mental health issues but I'm sticking with it, as I've made some nice connections there. However, a Social Worker made a statement towards to end of a session last week and It's stuck with me. She said that parenting an, "adoptive, tramatised or disabled child is a thankless task."

At the time I completely agreed. We'd had a bad, challenging day at home. Then I slept and woke up and I got annoyed.

From my birth son, I get thanks every day, just seeing his little face light up when I enter the room or to help him stand makes my heart warm. So it got me thinking this week, when does my adopted, tramatised and disabled child thank me?

My first thought was, why does he need to thank me? Some would say that we gave him a home and a good life and therefore he should be thankful but I do not see it like that at all. We chose to have him; we literally chose him on paper and got him. We should be the thankful ones.

Then I couldn't help but think - and it does take a lot of thinking sometimes, when you've had a day and night from hell - that of course he thanks me. Not the same as my birth son, of course not, who has been brought up so far without any trauma and with a stable loving family home. But he does it in his own way. I turned-up at school today and got pulled in to his classroom because he was having a meltdown. The fear I saw in him when I came around the corner broke my heart but the sobs and the tears of me being there thanked me – which to most people would make no sense. However, I know that I'm making sense to other FASD parents out there.

The gratitude I get when the meltdowns end, or the memories come back make my job of being a parent worthwhile. Even though some days, weeks and even months I don't feel this way; I feel like the world is against me and that my son hates me, actually I know that’s just the face of his disability.

This week we attended our mental health appointment for him and got told that he needs to be diagnosed as ASD as well as FASD. I've suspected as much considering how similar the characteristics are, but then I got really upset that he'd been labelled again. To me, this labelling seems to make life easier for professionals because then they can go on that diagnosis alone and not worry about FASD or doing any research on it!

I fight locally to raise awareness and obviously I write these pieces so that I can hopefully reach someone, somewhere to either help the or raise awareness. Even if it just reaches one person somewhere on Facebook or Twitter it's done its job. But I almost feel like I've slightly lost my fight to raise awareness because it's so much easier for him to be ASD as well that his FASD will always be overlooked.

However, this will not stop me! I will not stop writing and telling people about our lives, our adventures or our difficulties and I so hope that someone somewhere reads this and feels the same.

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  • Claire Davies

    Totally disagree that this is a thankless task. This morning my son’s trauma meant he tried to attack me with the toy tweezers from his doctor’s set (!) but this is only part of our morning and I got snuggles as well.

  • Jay Nicol

    Thank you so much for your valiant efforts on behalf of your son, your family and the wider population, it is only with such indefatigable efforts that change is possible. Rolling that burden up the hill not knowing if things will ever change is stage one! Your little boy is lucky to have you not just as a loving parent who gets him but as someone who advocates for him behind the scenes, things he knows nothing about. I agree you are also lucky to have him for his response me to you - recognising you as his safe haven, knowing you understand his difficulties and “get him” as an individual. In his world (and in the wider world) you are a rare and precious presence, you make him feel valued, protected and loved. Our vulnerable little people don’t get this feeling in school (where they spend most of their time) Where the quality of their day is determined by the quality of their relationships. They can’t manage meaningful relationships because of their difficulties so they are viewed as an annoyance, an outlier, a problem to be managed rather than a beautiful but damaged human being trying their best to feel safe in what they perceive to be a hostile world (and those making his world feel that way carry on regardless - almost blinded by their competencies to manage their environment, they don’t help him to manage his because it’s too much effort or outside the norm or outside their sphere of competence). I only meant to say thank you and I’ve gone ahead eith a bit of a rant! You are appreciated. ????

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