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.
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.