Living with FASD is suuuuuch a mix!!!! There are things we are amazing at. We thrive there. When we live where we thrive, it is almost like there is nothing wrong with our brains. When we start to venture outside of that bubble, we really feel our deficits. I have been stretching and stretching myself lately. The more I stretch, the more I am feeling comfortable in areas I would not have before. I am finding that I am better at things then I thought. I am very proud of myself because I just keep taking one step further outside of my bubble. I started a year ago working in the office at a school for kids with Autism. IDEA House Educational Services. I stayed in the office most of the time. I didnt even go to meetings. I eventually started going to meetings, not talking, but making myself go. Fortunately, I have an amazing boss that understands disabilities. She let me work into my job. She understands, as I have over the years,…not to push faster then my disability can handle. I set myself up for failure when I do that. I gradually worked to where I am now. Getting comfortable was key to me. If I don’t feel comfortable, I’m not going to grow. If I don’t feel safe, I’m not going to grow. If I work outside of my comfort zone way too fast, I’m going down for the count. Soooo, I took very small steps! I went from just working in the office to spending more and more time out with the kids. There were quite a few crisis situations that moved me outside of the office. With my counseling degree and ability to meet people where they are, I was able to help kids out of crisis. I found myself being out more and more with the kids and less in the office. I was asked to come to more and more meetings with the director of the school. Now, this was a hard one for me. I don’t do closed rooms well. I don’t do people sitting at a table well. I don’t do shoulder to shoulder well. Processing just shuts down. I have learned some things about myself in order to be able to do meetings better than I never knew. I just am not able to take in much information at once and that is why I lose something. I can talk on the phone well. Move someone in the room and I lose the talking. If I look down, I can talk better. Once I start to try to keep the eye contact, etc. I just lose the mouth. I am constantly trying new things to help me be able to stay in the room as a person with disabilities and keep up with NT’s.
I have always been the type of person who never gave up. I always worked very hard to stay in the game. Whatever it took. I recently, just visited a cousin of mine I have not seen in years. This was the first time I have even had a real conversation with her. We touched on how I just didnt talk growing up. I was the one on the couch where everyone was interacting and the more that went on, the more I shut down.
Trapped inside myself is what I called it.
If I tried to talk when I was just not able to process fast enough, my mouth would literally just stop. I am the one who needs to be in a room first, get the first chair to make sure I’m in a secure place, to make sure that I can be in charge of my disability. If I lose that ability to be in control, it starts to get control over me. And before I know it, I’m done.
Baby steps has allowed myself to be successful. I know when I’m stepping too fast. Now, I am assistant director where I work and I am going to be an assistant teacher in social studies. This is a passion of mine and i have no trouble preparing. Stopping preparing is another problem…lol.
I also do the newsletter and the website for the school. So, they keep me very busy. See, we can do it. I just have had to find ways to do things and I have surrounded myself with people who allow me to not get ahead of my disability. Very, very important!!
I also make sure I do not venture into areas without supports! As soon as I do, I instantly become lost. I have no idea what I’m doing. The last couple days I have had off and I was doing some things that most people can do, but I struggle with. I kept my daughter close and we did it together. My external brains are crucial. I do not feel safe at all if I don’t have one with me I can completely trust. They got my back. They are my ears, my eyes, and they are the ones I look to a lot to make sure things are okay around me. If i don’t trust them, then my fears instantly go up and I just have to leave the situation and go right back to a safe place. I have to respect my disability! I have to not let it get ahead of me.
Having the right safeties in place allow us to thrive! One baby step at a time!