|I believe they can fly...|
I have 2 kids with FASD, one with moderate to severe and one with mild impact. Both kids basically deal with the effects of irreversible brain damage due to actions taken by their birth mothers...and yes, they both know what they're dealing with, the hows and whys, and we talk openly about the hand they've been dealt through no fault of their own. Their issues notwithstanding, both are kids who own my heart and who amaze me each and every day with their sheer grit. to overcome their challenges. Take my girl, for example...
My younger daughter, though to a lesser degree than her brother, struggles with short term memory problems as well as executive functioning and impulse control issues...and for an adolescent girl, the impulse control issue in particular can be a problem. Sometimes my girl can be really blunt, even hurtful in her comments to peers. She has also been known in the past to adopt an in-your-face attitude when she feels she has been wronged. This has resulted in misunderstandings at school...and since teenage girls do love gossip, there's always a fair amount of drama anyway. In spite of this past history, our girl has been having a good year...no discipline events at school all year so far, no missed homework, an exemplary record that she's been very proud of. Sadly, that was all called into question recently...
Last weekend, our girl came to us and asked for help. She went to Craig first, and asked him to print out Facebook chat transcripts of a conversation with a classmate who accused her of threatening a girl at school via text messages and calling her a liar when she denied the claim. Next she brought the printed transcripts to me and asked me to take both her phone and the transcripts for her protection from the rumors that were flying. As if that weren't enough, she also asked me to take down her Facebook page. (OK, let me just mention that for a kid with FASD, this is huge; seeing the big picture, being able to predict where something is going and asking for help is pretty complex stuff.) I did just as she asked and praised her for her choices to stay out of the unfolding drama. Of course, that wasn't the end of the story...
A few days later, I got a message that the Dean of Students wanted to see me about our girl's supposed text threats. I went with my daughter, armed with phone records and Facebook chat printouts. I provided my girl's phone number and challenged the Dean to match the phone number that the texts in question came from with her number....and guess what? The numbers didn't match...someone was posing as my girl, signing her name and setting her up...and the texts continued long after my girl's phone was in my safekeeping anyway. That stinks...but my daughter handled herself with such maturity through the whole mess that it doesn't even matter.
My girl came to us for help and told us exactly what she needed. (Did I mention this is HUGE?).
My girl stood up for herself when her friends accused her falsely. (Did I mention this is HUGE for a kid with low self-esteem?)
My girl met with the Dean, made good eye contact, and told her story in a polite but assertive way. (Um...HUGE!!)
When she was vindicated, my girl didn't gloat...she just glowed quietly with pride and accepted the apologies from her peers with grace. (Also huge...but I could see how much she liked basking in the feeling of being RIGHT, being BELIEVED, being STRONG!)
So proud of my daughter and all the progress she has made...from a shy and frightened orphanage kid to a feisty young woman who can stand on her own two feet!! Here's the score in our house these days:
Home team--2 FASD--0