“The Worst Day Ever”

This %22Worst Day Ever%22has been brewing for a while.

By @FASD_Mum

Tears slowly welling in the corner of his eyes, our son has reached some new level sadness.  He usually storms or screams or flashes out in frustration, shouting his misery with short, sharp bursts.  Curling up on the couch, silently crying, this is new.  And for all the times I thought his outbursts too extreme, too tiring, too much, now I wonder if I fully understood there is something worse.  We just sit here in this new space.  In the ten minutes he has been home, he has repeatedly said this was “the worst day ever.”  I am not yet sure just how bad it all was.  But I deflate inside.  I have a quick vision of him curled up like this in his future, on more lonely nights with more silent tears.  A lost and confused soul in a world that doesn’t conform to the way his brain works.  I stroke his head.  I do what I can: I tell him I am sorry the day was a bad one.  I ask him to move closer so I can give him a cuddle.  I tell him it won’t always be like this.

Our son’s beloved phone got crushed today at break time.  Smashed, actually.  By him.  Because he couldn’t find his “VIP” pass for the food line during break.  The pass that allows him to skip ahead and avoid the several hundred person scrum, with all the noise and chaos so many hungry teens can create in a small harried space.  The two items are usually in the same pocket.  In his hurry, he wouldn’t have been thinking that the phone is expensive.  He wouldn’t have been thinking that it would break if he threw it.  He wouldn’t have been thinking.  He was upset, overwhelmed in the moment, probably hungry and confused, and he threw the phone.  I imagine him instantly seeing the damage.  I imagine his fear at seeing the broken, shattered screen.  I imagine he just cried.  And then the other parts of his brain realized the phone was broken and probably unfixable.  And distress would have set in.  Luckily his older brother saw him crying and guided him toward help.

Today is Monday. This “worst day ever” has been building for a while.  Let’s rewind to last Monday.  That was the day he didn’t go to his afterschool homework club but went to a local shop with friends.  That’s the day when one of his friends texted us to say he had stolen some candy.  That’s the day we marched him back to the shop and made him give the candy back to the store security and shake hands.  That’s the day we gave the shop a note with his picture asking them if they see him in the shop without an adult to please call.  (What our son doesn’t know is the sign also explains he has brain injury due to FASD and doesn’t always link cause and effect.)

Last week was long and difficult.  Kicked dogs, spitting, shoes thrown, foul language, extreme behaviours.  A very long week.  Calls out to the doctor (who has been away on holiday) seeking advice about switching medications since these behaviours are new, increasing, and alarming.

The school had warned us his that on Friday his science class would cover in utero damage to fetuses from alcohol and did we want him to attend.  We offered to go in for the class.  We offered to talk with the teacher.  We asked to see what they would cover.  They said they decided to limit what they would say, that they would go into it in more detail in Year 9.  We still don’t know exactly what was said in the class, but we do know that after the class our son had innocent if inappropriate questions for a female classmate.

Then, this morning.  A cold, grey, Monday morning.  Our son told us in every way he could that he didn’t want to go to school.  He hates science (first lesson today), he hates sex education, he hates learning, he doesn’t want to go to school.  He kicked his shoes off outside.  He tried to go back into the house.  It almost felt cruel to be encouraging in the face of distress like this.

And guess what? The day was in fact “the worst day ever.”

I tease out tidbits over more than an hour.  I kind of get a picture, but it’s all jumbled.  Disjointed.  I hear about big kids that knocked over little kids and spilled coffee on them, including my son – but FASD scrambles time and while it wasn’t today it’s hard to know when this all happened. It’s another reason why he wants a different school.  I still don’t understand what is happening with the Illicit Candy Ring and money and why our son whose pockets we shook out this morning now has a pound on him.  Why he was standing under a tree this morning, rather than go to class, was it because we took four pounds off him before he went?

I fear people are mistreating him but I can’t identify the threat, I just feel the danger lurking in these tween years.

And now we have silent tears.  Internalized pain.  And I stare down the long road ahead of him and ache inside for him.  He reels off the specifics of several different models of phones.  He cautiously asks about replacement despite my non-committal responses.  He sobs because his “memory” is on the phone.  (I shrug it off, I assume he is talking about how many gigabytes he used up.)  He cries because his friends’ contact information is there.  But as he talks, I realize this phone, infuriating and imperfect as it is, has become a lifeline for him to have some interaction with other kids outside of school. It also tells him what day it is, what time it is, what the weather is here and in other cities, what homework he has due, what his schedule is that day in school.  It links him with us and family friends via text messages, family photo sharing and FaceTime.  I remind myself very belatedly that this phone is so much more than the world’s most irritating App (Talking Tom) and access to the charming “Hello Bitches” music video.  For him, it is a way to have some moderated independence.  It is beginning the steps to teach him how to use technology to support his needs, to use modern technology (timers, calculators, maps) to fill in those fuzzy areas his brain can’t reliably process – life lessons we know he needs to learn well.  I stumble through the conversation with “I don’t knows” and “we’ll sees,” confused myself now as to what would be the best outcome: to replace (we have insurance), to wait, or to nix the phone altogether.  My earlier relief at the thought of this being the end of our never-ending Phone Struggles is quickly dissipating.

And while I ponder this, after some quiet but deliberate swooshing of warm water from one end of the bath to the other, he eventually starts talking very quietly – in that tone I know is from somewhere deeper inside him.  I am alert. “Mummy people were asking about my phone.”  We are directly speaking now, not in language I need to decipher.  He says, looking at me from the corner of his eyes to see if I understand, “I don’t want to tell them.”  Ah.  Smart boy.  Slow Mummy.  Now I get it.  He doesn’t want to tell them how it broke, that he threw it because he couldn’t find his pass.  He feels ashamed, embarrassed, confused as to what to say.  He knows what he did isn’t “normal.”  I tell him it’s not their business.  “Just tell them you dropped it.”   As I tell him to lie I fear I am creating future problems.  I am in over my head here.  Yet another page missing from my parental guidebook.  I tell him it’s enough he has told us the the truth.  Then, when I am blow drying his hair, I stop and look into his eyes.  I tell him it won’t always be like this. He looks down, dejected.  I say we understand he can’t stop himself from doing silly things sometimes when he is frustrated.  But he will learn some day how to control his frustration so he won’t throw things.  It will get better.  I am not sure he believes that, or can picture that.  Not yet.  Certainly not today.

I intend to go into his room to discuss “upstairs brain” and “downstairs brain.”  To explain again that when the fight and flight part of his brain is in control, as it was when he realized he lost his VIP lunchroom pass, that he isn’t able to use the thinking part of his brain.  But he is already in his bed, contented for now with a CD player we borrowed from his brother’s room, since his iMusic lifeline is now severed.  He has adjusted the heavy fuzzy blanket, covered the end of the bed just so with another blanket,  wants all the lights off.  I know he will rock himself to sleep.  Sure, it’s only 5.30pm.  But it has after all been “the worst day ever.” I’d want to go to sleep early too.

Tomorrow, then.

We will face a whole new day all over again.  One phone down.  Without his “memory.”

 

 

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Respite (noun): A break from something difficult

Respite (noun)_ A break from something difficult

By @FASD_Mum

(Post 1 of 2 about our respite weekend)

Respite.  To be honest, I never got it.  Until we got it.  And now I see just how important it can be.  I am typing now on a Sunday morning, in a quiet room lit by Christmas lights.  The dog is snoring by my feet.  My cup of coffee is nearly finished.  Thoughts of a second one are tickling the back of my mind in a lazy, vaguely defined sort of way.  It’s the second morning in a row I have been able to slowly wake up.  I actually slept until 8.30 am today (if we don’t count the 5.30 am hiccup of the dog demanding to be let outside).  We had a nice dinner on Friday night.  We spent Saturday with friends, shopping and dining at a relaxed pace – making some spontaneous decisions, getting sidetracked once in a while in a very pleasant and refreshing way. I spent hours wrapping some presents.  We went out with friends to a local pub and stayed until the chairs were put up on the table, just like those student days.

Respite always sounded clinical to me, legalistic, some ‘demand’ that people make who have been engaged closely with ‘The System’.  And for some, it is those things. It is a right. A break provided in recognition of the important role caregivers of various sorts take on.

But we never saw how it applies to us, too.  We are parents.  We ‘soldiered on,’ as the Brits like to say.  We pushed through the tiredness, the diminishing energy reserves draining our patience and our resilience.  We just did it, because that is what we do.  That is what parents do for their kids.  For ever. That’s the deal that we signed up for equally with our birth son and when we adopted our youngest son. It doesn’t matter that our youngest has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, he is our child and we are his forever, no matter what life throws at him or us.  That’s the deal.

But there we were having a spontaneous meal with a friend and our older son.  We were thoroughly enjoying the novelty of eating a huge bowl of sloppy Asian noodles with chopsticks, focused completely for that moment on the awesome young man our eldest has become, sitting at the restaurant of his choosing (one that did not have to have cheesy macaroni on its menu).  Then the next day, my husband and I were browsing slowly through a familiar shopping mall, the scene of many a meltdown, humming along to Christmas music piped through the speakers and not worrying if it was too loud.  There we were sipping Prosecco and I found myself actually feeling festive.  We felt ourselves lighten, interacting with our friends more freely than usual.  Our parental radar was given a rest, not constantly pinging, trying to see what was happening and whether anything was likely to slide into chaos within moments.

I feel rested, revived, grounded again, and so ready to give our youngest a huge hug when we pick him up in a little while.  I am ready.  I miss his bouncy smile at 6.00 am.  I miss his cuddles and random I-love-you-Mums.  I miss seeing him upside down on the couch searching for music on his phone.  I miss his dance routines in our living room.  I miss him.  But the part of me that loves him most is so happy for him and his independence this weekend.  I know he has had a blast, spending time with his auntie and grandmother – who have kept him engaged and active baking gingerbread, digging in the allotment, walking through fields and by streams, singing and dancing, and other normal activities slightly tweaked to make them enjoyable and do-able for him.  And they have gained new confidence in their interactions with him, they have gained new experiences, they have already offered a next time.  As an experiment, it has worked wonderfully…

…but only after I made myself more vulnerable, which is not an easy thing to do for someone who prides herself on being ‘together’ and ‘in control.’  This weekend came after I very clearly and directly said to our closest friends and family that we were struggling this month.  Proud though I am, at a moment of deep angst, I wrote on Facebook that I was tired enough to admit that we need help.  I did it then on purpose because I knew once that moment passed I would not allow myself to admit to ‘weakness’ like that.  I had thought it was obvious.  I had thought people closest to us knew.  We have been more open about our family’s struggles.  But it took my being very direct, and within hours the offer of this weekend of respite was made.  Another very direct (and difficult for me) conversation with some family members opened the door a little more.  “Let us know when you need help,” they said.  I said, “We always need help.  Just assume we need help. When it gets most difficult we are so focused on getting through the day we don’t always have the energy even to ask.”  And then I got specific.  The biggest help is to call and say, “Would it be okay to take the little guy to the playground for an hour?”  “Do you think the little guy would like to go for a hot chocolate?” Just an hour or two here or there, giving us space to reset and reinvigorate is the most precious thing anyone can do, in my opinion, for someone raising a child with special needs.

I have carried with me heavily for many years the comment once made when I was complaining about things being difficult, “Well, why did you have kids then?”  I have been feeling like I have no right as a parent to complain about the need for ‘respite.’  But now that we got it, I get it.  And if you love and are caring for a child with FASD, you need it too.  If someone in your orbit has a child with FASD under their care, please know they may not ask, but they need it.  Even an hour matters. Don’t wait for them to ask.  On their behalf, I am asking you now.  Admitting we need respite – a break from something difficult – does not mean we do not love our children. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to be with them. It means we are better able to be the parents we want to be when we can recharge our own batteries, clear out the cobwebs, and just turn that radar off for a little while so we can hear our own heart beating strongly for the children we love so much.

——

See also:

Respite (verb) – to to grant a temporary period of relief, guest blog by the Auntie

 

A Love Song for the Men My Sons Will Be

 

I want to write a love song to the men my sons will be-2

By @FASD_Mum

I want to write a love song.

I want to write a love song to the men my boys will become.  I sit here surrounded by the chaos of our busy and fast-flying lives, and I want to stop now to tell those men how very proud I am of who I know they will be.  I don’t want to wait until that day that I am dying to say these things, I want to have every day of my hopefully long life guided by the knowledge that this song is inside me and that someday they will hear it.

It’s important that they hear it.  As a family grappling with special needs, our days can be so harried, so moment-to-moment, so full of assumptions and things taken for granted. We struggle.  We all struggle each and every day, each of us wearing the pressures in our own different ways.  Our house is not picture-perfect.  Our family doesn’t have two-cats-and-a-dog blissful scenes by toasty fireplaces. These years are difficult. Draining.  Numbing.  Our youngest walks through this world with hidden the brain injury of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  In addition (though not the focus of this blog), our eldest has been struck with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’s weariness.

As parents, my husband and I are feeling our way forward over a landscape much different than that we could have anticipated when we stood in late-afternoon sunshine on a bridge in those heady days of our unexpected mid-30s romance and revealed to each other the wondrous secret that we both wanted a future with children, when we started to realize in earnest we might just walk that path together.

And here we are, more than 16 years and several thousand miles later, a family.  Day by day, moment-by-moment, together, we are moving toward those two men I see in my mind’s eye. Our youngest shines and sparkles and loves on a grand scale. Our eldest is resilient and giving and positive.  I forgive myself our inadequacies because I know with my whole heart that these two men-to-be are being forged out of these intensity of these days. I celebrate all that our sons are now and all that they will be.

It’s also important for the world to hear this song I wish I could sing. Yes, we are sharing our experiences more publicly.  But we don’t want anyone’s pity.  We don’t want anyone’s admiration. We are not the stars.  We are not saints.  In fact quite we are quite far from it.  Yes, we have adopted a child whose special needs profile has been unfolding over time, like a twisted up picture we are beginning to untangle. Yes, his needs have added complexity into our world.  Yes, it can be horrendously hard some days to juggle it all.  Yes, I may at times shout out at the unfairness and I may feel bitter that doors were closed to our youngest before he ever drew a breath. Yes, some days I may admit I am tired and scared and feeling overwhelmed.

But please, for this moment, hear my song. The one I want to sing.  Give it whatever soundtrack inspires you.  Look with me toward the future at those men-who-will-be.  See THEM.  My god, they are awesome.  They are awesome because of these days that are so difficult.

Yes, in a different scenario we might have been that picture-perfect family with matching sweaters, visiting art galleries and fine restaurants and delighting sophisticates with our children’s latest recitals. (Well, okay, that’s a literary excess. If you know us, I guess you know that was never really destined to happen.)  But like that much-loved and imperfect Velveteen rabbit, our family is Real.  We wouldn’t have it any other way. And these men-to-be are the best of our world.  They are the best of us.

In addition to all that he is in and of himself, by being big brother to a sibling with FASD, our eldest has learned the importance of compassion, sweetness, and careful guidance.  He has learned to know the difference between what we can change and what we must accept. He has learned to see people in their entireties, to understand that even below the most horrendous words and actions, a person can be crying out for help. He has learned that we never doubt love even when – especially when – we can see its imperfections.  He understands that it’s okay to admit that sometimes it’s hard, but that still we can celebrate the funny side of things.  He has learned the importance of nurturing himself while looking out for others.  He has learned, through his CFS, to take things slowly when that is called for and has seen how this applies also to his interactions with his brother.  He has learned to use time wisely.  He knows that education takes many forms, and it doesn’t all happen in a school. He has learned there are many ways to judge someone’s abilities, and most of them have little to do with test scores.  And he has learned to love unconditionally.  This is a man who will stand by his family.  This is a man who will lead with gentleness, humour and purpose.  This is a man who will be an outstanding father (if he so chooses), brother, cousin, friend, nephew, and of course, son and grandson.  This is a man who will be a good neighbor, co-worker, and community member.  This is a man I would recognize anywhere, just by looking into his deep brown and understanding eyes.

Our youngest will be a man of energy, of light.  He will walk with a spring in his step and a smile.  He will dance with delight when he lets the music guide him.  He will help others around him with tasks big and small. He will be a role model for and supporter of kids, a goal he has consistently held for the past several years. He will grow into a deeper understanding of his own self.  He will learn to show the complexities and nuances of of who he is and what gifts he can offer. He will love, he will cry, he will play, he will have moments of deep frustration.  He will learn to accept the support and help around him.  He will struggle hard for his own independence. He may have setbacks. He will be bitter at times against the hand he has been given to play, but always he will find his laughter. He will move forward. Through his amazing talents, he will grow. I would recognize this man anywhere, the one holding out a hand – giving as he is receiving.  He will be a powerful and strong soul, whose determination will get him up those mountains and who will soar downhill sometimes on purpose, sometimes without holding on to the handlebars – but his life will be exhilarating and spicy and rich.  He will be a good friend and companion to those who love him wholly.  He will be a contributing member of a loving community.  He will be a good partner when the right person comes along, and he will always be a loving brother, cousin, nephew, maybe a father someday, and always a deeply loved son and grandson.

I love these men-to-be.  On those days somewhere in their futures, when they feel down or low, or remember these crazy days of our struggling family, I want them to hear my love song blasting in surround sound, or whispering quietly in a desperate moment.  I want them to hear the confidence I have in them. I want them to breathe in my hope and joy at all they represent.  I want them to swaddle themselves in a melody-memory and hear my strength across the years.  I cannot promise their lives will ever be easy. In fact, I know that they won’t be. I know it will be hard, very hard at times.  However, I can assure them, always, that their lives will be rich in the most important ways.  I know this, because I know them.  I see those men in the youthful eyes I search every day.

I want to sing them a love song, just like I did when they were little.  Sweet, sweet children of mine, of ours.  You are all that I could ever have wanted.  All that I could ever have imagined.   You make waking up worthwhile.  Knowing you are dreaming peacefully brings me deep satisfaction at night. You are the best of all that I could possibly be.  I love you.  Now, and forever.

There are no ‘buts’ in this, no regrets, no wanting do-overs.  I love these two.  Our two.  Now, and always. That is the song. My song for my men-to-be.  It’s a symphony. Blasting across time and space.

Or, maybe, since we never made it to the concert halls, maybe it’s just an ear-worm, a simple song that plays itself over and over and over and over again inside your head. A melody you can’t shake. Some tune so deeply lodged that you find yourself at strange moments humming or dancing along to it without even realizing what it is that has made you move.  Some upbeat, simple-lyricked tune that just won’t lose its grip on you.

Whatever beat you set it to, you like it because you know it.

My song is a love song to the men I know will be.

The Building Storm of an FASD Meltdown

FASD Meltdowns

By @FASD_Dad

Sometimes the meltdowns are like massive thunderstorms in the summer heat. They build up, the tension mounting, the atmosphere more and more uncomfortable. And then, when the pressure is too much to bear, the storm breaks in a wild, howling stream of blows, words, noises. No-one is the target but anyone in the way can be hurt. And then, just as quickly as the storm arose, it’s over. Calm returns. All is forgotten (quite literally) and we move on. And so does he, not understanding what has happened or why.

We were away for a few days. A short family break. It all went well. The unfamiliar places. The absence of routine. Especially the hotel swimming pool open all day. Even the steam train breakdown provoked no serious reaction. Neither did the long queues on the motorway in a traffic jam. Corfe Castle and Old Sarum which might normally bore were tied joyfully to school lessons about William the Conqueror. Even a noisy, crowded Pizza Express wasn’t a problem. We had a great time.

And then, as it can, it all fell apart.

We got back home with no problems. But the next day there was homework to do. And that began the problems. Some tears. The protestation that ‘I hate school and I’m not going again’. Or ‘I want to go back to my old school, that was better’ (that’s primary school and no, it wasn’t, not when a meltdown was brewing). Somehow, with difficulty, homework got done as it had to be. But the storm was coming.

The next day it was the swimming pool, normally a favourite and a way to take the edge off. Not this time. The water was too cold. It was too hot. ‘I HATE the swimming pool and I HATE swimming’. An hour went by and it didn’t get better. Getting changed back into clothes was a major struggle. And the atmosphere was tense until he fell asleep.

And still tense Monday morning before school. So dressed early (with some shouting and struggling), out early with the dog and to school early. I heard later from school that it was a ‘bad day’. He couldn’t sit still. He couldn’t concentrate. He chewed up pens and pencils. He got detention for being rude to a teacher.

And then when he got home after school, the storm broke.

We had to drive his brother to theatre. They got in the car and I went back to pick something up. And he went into a deep, terrible meltdown. The dam broke and the wave of emotion tore through. Sitting in the back of the car kicking the seats, kicking his brother, punching, screaming, sitting, howling. The unbearable pressure inside his head releasing itself in the only way he knew how. Then his brother crying, shouting, hitting back. I manage to stop it, but only by restraining him and shouting, yelling myself. It’s a bad scene. The worst for a while. But it has broken.

The mood is awful while we drive to theatre. Then into the town centre. Suddenly he’s quiet. He’s a little sad. He doesn’t understand what he’s done. Why he’s done it. He doesn’t seem to remember the worst. ‘What were you thinking?’ ‘I wasn’t thinking.’ ‘What did it feel like?’ ‘It felt bad inside my head.’

And it was done. He held my hand as we walked to McDonalds. He smiled and played on the new tablets they’ve put in. He hugged me and told me he loved me. And I hugged him and told him I loved him too. It was finished, the storm and passed and a peaceful calm was restored.

Until the next time.

—–

For more information:

Meltdowns

Note that there is a difference between meltdowns and tantrums that must be understood.

FASD & Playing Alone

PlaysAlone

by @FASD_Dad

One of the things we know about kids with FASD is that they have a huge problem relating to their peers, that they tend to be socially immature and awkward. Our son is no different. But while I know how our son is affected by FASD, sometimes the reality can be hard to watch.

I took both the boys to the swimming pool today, our son with FASD and his older brother, who does not. While I’m used to watching our younger son play alongside rather than with the other kids, I was struck by it today in a way I have usually stopped being.

The two boys rushed into the pool ahead of me. It was fun swim time, so there was lots of play equipment. Our son immediately threw a ball in the deep end and dived in after it. He got out and repeated this. And again. And again. Meanwhile his big brother began a game with the four kids from our son’s class. Kids who our son was ignoring. Kids who have long since learned that our son will usually not be part of their games, and who for the most part no longer try to draw him in.

Fun swim at our pool comes in two 45 minute sessions, and our son never once really engaged with his friends during the first period. Instead, like a much younger child would, he played alongside them. He mostly ignored them, and they got on with their games. From time to time he joined them for a minute or two, and then went his way again. His big brother moved from playing with our son to playing with his friends, a sort of connection between the two sides, although no real connection was made.

Often, our son doesn’t really seem distressed by this state of affairs, he just seems to accept this is how life is. He wasn’t unhappy, he was absorbed in his games, diving, jumping, twisting, swimming under the water and coming up for air.

When his friends left, and there were fewer kids in the pool, he started diving backwards into the deep end. Another couple of kids he didn’t know were there, and without introducing himself or asking their names, he just said ‘Watch what I can do’ and did another backwards dive. The kids clearly thought this was a little strange, a little off, but one of them tried to do the same thing. After a couple of goes at this, our son meandered off across the pool and resumed his solitary play leaving the other two to get on with their own games. He began playing on the floats, jumping on and off, splashing around, alone amongst the others once more. For a few minutes, he persuaded two friends of his big brother to play piggy in the middle in the shallow end. But again the game palled, quickly and he returned to solitary jumps, dives, and swimming.

Soon the pool closed, and he clambered out and ran off to the shower. He pronounced the pool time the best in his life – a phrase he’s using a lot at the moment. And I was left to reflect on the solitary nature of FASD. How it seems to leave our son alone in a crowd of his peers.

Often he is on the edge of a group, looking in but never quite able to fully join in. At other times, like today, he’s again on the periphery but seemingly content. On other occasions, in smaller groups, usually with younger children, he’s happy to play a joint game. We have to try to guide him through the minefield that is his social life, his inability to read social signals from neuro-typical kids. His restricted ability to give appropriate social signals himself.

It can be heart-breaking to watch him when he’s trying but unable to connect. We help him find other kids he can play with. We guide him away from situations we know will be difficult. we push him towards social activities where he can do well – like singing with the choir, or performing in the school play, or doing gymnastics and trampolining. But in the end, we can’t change who he is and how his condition affects him. He has to make his own way in a confusing world with which he’s out of sync.

It’s hard to watch sometimes. It must be much harder to live.

FASD Affects Siblings Too

I try to protect my brother and guide him safely through life, but sadly someti

by FASD_BigBro

Hi, I’m the older brother. I decided to start posting things today because I feel like today is a good example of a day to talk about. So today me and my younger brother were playing with our Mum in her bedroom, filming music videos and dancing to music and such, and we were having great fun. However, during the course of this he was consuming quite a lot of sugar, which didn’t help out at all in the end, and after all the fun was done we went down stairs to watch TV. And my brother was getting a bit excitable, so I was trying to help him calm down, but that seemed to only worsen the effect. He ended up cascading into a Sensory Overload, and at that point I tried to exclude myself from the flying objects and noise as much as possible.

So what should you take away from this quick post that I have just written? I feel that the sibling of the one affected by FASD, is affected the most in the family aside from the family member or sibling suffering from the condition. I feel this way because as a brother I try to protect my brother and guide him safely through life, but sadly sometimes I’ve acted a little too late and the fun we were having a minute ago crashes and burns into screaming and flying objects. It is never fun when it happens but when it does I just try to manage during an overload. And despite all the trouble that can happen and all the negative emotions I feel towards my brother in the heat of the moment, he is still my brother, and I still love him.