Saturday, August 16, 2008

FASD (and more non sensical ramblings about homelessness)

I'm convinced a large percentage of our shelter population is to some extent affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. According to the Canadian Public Health Agency people with FASD have a hard time:
  • handling money, such as paying rent and buying food
  • learning from their experiences and making changes in their behaviour
  • understanding consequences of their behaviour, or "cause and effect"
  • interacting with other people socially, and
  • keeping a job.
You can see how all of those things would contribute to homelessness.

One thing that often strikes us is people's inability to budget money. Welfare cheques come out, and two days later there is no money. Granted, a lot of it goes to substances, but a lot of it is blown on fast food and random stuff as well. During the subsequent two weeks, people complain about their lack of money, wonder how to get money, question where their money has gone, but don't seem to connect it with the fact that they spent it rather quickly.

I have a client who I don't think ever enters a grocery store despite the fact he has his own place. He spends his welfare check at fast food restaurants gorging himself on hamburger after hamburger and drinking cup after cup of copy. He's able to blow through his check in two days, and then complains of gastrointestinal problems. Despite repeated interventions, he shows NO incite into this, and gets very upset that he is not "getting enough money". It's frustrating for everyone, because it happens every two weeks and yet the client NEVER seems to learn.

See and that's the thing about FASD. Brain's damaged by alcohol work differently, and it's hard to put yourself in a position to understand what people are going through. It's frustrating when people just don't seem to grasp things that come easily to you. Patience, is the important thing. And taking things one step at a time. Easier said then done.

I've been thinking a lot about FASD lately, and plan to post about it more when I have a chance, and have had some more thoughts.


illusivejoy said...

I would like to know more about FASD as well. The population I work with I think is very affected by this. zi always wonder to what extent exposure to drugs and alcohol in the womb or at a very young age affects their cognitive and social skills.

Anonymous said...

please email so I can to you about prevention of this is fetal drug exposed adopted kids

bluejeansocialwork said...

I too am fascinated by FASD. Please post more, especially if you know of any effective treatments. A number of my clients were born to alcohol abusing mothers and I do not know much about the specific ways this may affect them.

therapydoc said...

This doesn't really get much attention, but it should. I'm interested in more. Blog on!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your no nonesense approach to speaking the truth. Do you have a poster that you could send as an attachment
REMEMBER: Sept. 9th 9:09 am is the start of International FASD Awareness Day. Are there activities in your area?