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FAS and abilities not disabilities

I’m ecstatic. I mean seriously happy!!

Those of us with FAS so many times hear how we can not make it in the world. There is nothing we want more but to be like our neurotypical friends.

I am here to share with you that even though I had every odd against me, I have made it! I have beaten every odd!

Eight years ago, I had written a book. A newspaper editor got a hold of it and she read it. She loved it so much that she contacted me and asked me if I had ever considered writing for a newspaper. I gave it a try. Eight years later, I won state journalism awards.

One of the articles I covered was about a school for autistics or a school for those that are not neurotypical. A teacher who decided to leave the school system and open her own school for kids who need sensory-friendly, teacher-sensitive environments.

She started a school by Canton Ohio called Idea House (http://www.ideahouseeducationalservices.com/.) The story I was able to write for them, generated such a positive rippling that Angi (founder of Idea House) remembered me.

I recently left the newspaper business. I have been trying to figure out how to make things work financially. I don’t have the most typical brain. Finding a job that will fit is a little difficult for me.

Idea house is getting ready for their school year. Angi and I were talking. Next thing I know, I go in for an interview and I have a job with them. I will be writing their newsletter, doing their website, photography, helping with the kids, and I will be organizing her office. It fits me so perfect! I could not be more excited!

On the way home from the interview, I get a call from Jeff Noble from  http://fasdforever.com/ . and he asks me to be involved with a conference call coming up in September and we discussed possibilities of plugging me into more opportunities to help with FASD. I would do anything to advocate for this cause.

So, in one day, I got a job where I will be  working at a school for kids with neurodisabilities, and I will have another opportunity to do a conference call to help caregivers whose loved ones have FASD.

I have FASD. This is a success!

When I was in kindergarten, I got the will not graduate high school diagnosis. Ann’s disabilities are too significant. Brain damage is permanent. Well I got a  masters degree and with much determination, I can make these things happen! When I was on the phone with Jeff Noble, he said he wanted to share my success story and I told him, I know I screw up a lot. I know I have had my problems, but the thing is I don’t stay down.

I won’t stay down.

I refuse.

We might have a diagnosis with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, but that does not mean we are not able to be successful and positive contributors to this society. Don’t let the negatives you hear, be your future. Write your own future. Do it, in spite of. Do it to prove them wrong. Do it because you are a person with hopes and dreams and aspirations. You are the author of your future.

Don’t let FAS be who you are–as a negative. Don’t deny it. Grasp on to it. Be proud and use it to make a difference in other’s lives and in your own.

And don’t let other’s negative thoughts and opinions of you, consume you…
Yea, we  think differently…
Yea we are wired differently…
Yea we have sensory issues.
Yea we have meltdowns.
Yea we need time outs.
Yea we have processing problems.
Yea we don’t understand things like everyone else.
Yea, we have auditory, eyes, and speaking problems.


So What!


We might do things differently, but sometimes different is better.
Being wired differently allows for creativity and uniqueness.
We might have sensory issues, but we are so sensitive to all around us.
We have meltdowns, but we are trying to learn how to make them less frequent.
I might have no depth perception and my eyes don’t converge, but I see a tear before it falls.


We might not be like everyone, but we are not less than.


In fact, we are amazing and can be great contributors!  


Yes we can…one of my first blogs about making it in spite of the odds…http://hopefasd.blogspot.com/2012/04/all-i-hear-is-blah-blah-blah-reposted.html

Ways that we are different…but AWESOME!..Pull up a blade of grass, sit down, and get to know me. .http://hopefasd.blogspot.com/2012/04/see-world-through-my-eyes.html

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All I hear is blah, blah, blah (reposted from my blog on FASDforever)

My blog that was posted on Jeff Noble’s FASDforever. Thought I would repost on my blog. It was originally posted and can still be found on FASDforever website. With FASD, it is hard to hear what others say, a lot of times…hence the title All I hear is blah, blah, blah. Well, I’ll let you read it…




There are experts and there are experts. I don’t have a degree in genetics. I don’t have a PhD in anything. In fact,  I don’t understand a lot of what goes on around me without an interpreter. What makes me an expert? My mom drank when she was pregnant with me. I might not understand the brain, but I am still an expert. I have lived with this FASD brain for over 40 years.

I look like the average adult. I have blonde hair and blue eyes. No one would notice anything different about me just by looking at me.Most of what is wrong with me, people can’t see.
Unseen things are hard to understand. I know that one first hand.

When I was first adopted as a baby, I was diagnosed as failure to thrive. My toddler years were spent in constant struggle and by the time I hit kindergarten, there was something noticeably wrong.  My teacher contacted my adoptive parents and told them I needed tested. FASD was not a diagnosis, back then, but the neurologist had bad news. He informed them I had significant brain damage and I would not even graduate high school.

Struggling was all I knew. If i was going to do what the other kids were doing, I simply had to find a creative way to make it happen. Struggling was more than everyday life.It was every moment life. I couldn’t see words like other kids. My eyes did not converge and i had no depth perception. So, I saw two of everything and the world was flat.  Yes, Christopher Columbus, the world is flat…to some.

I couldn’t cut like other kids. Scissors and buttons have never been my friends. I knew if I was going to make it in this world two things had to happen.  

Number one, I became the most determined kid in the school. I might have gotten C’s, but they were C’s  I earned. I learned how to learn. I adjusted. My life has been a continuous Thomas Edison quote. When he was inventing the lightbulb, he said, “I have not failed. I have found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Well, we all know what lights the room at night.

I know what it feels like when everyone in the room knows you are struggling.They told me I would not graduate high school. I got a masters degree. They told me I would never hit a ball. I practiced hours until I was hitting home runs.

I know there is a lot I am not able to do. Sometimes, that’s hard for me to accept. Sometimes, I blow up in frustration, but I blow up because I care. I blow up because I want to do things on my own as much as my loved ones want me to. I want to understand the world around me as much as everyone else does. I really don’t want to have to look to others to interpret. I want so badly to understand what everybody else understands, BUT, I have to accept that I have to incorporate helps in order for me to be my best.

The second thing is that I can LIVE with FASD. I might not be able to ever figure out my bank account, but I have an external brain that knows how. I might not be able to hear everything that is said, but if one of my interpreters is not there, I can always turn on my tape recorder and play it back later to get all that was said. I might have to rewind a few times to catch all the words because of auditory processing disorder, but I learned a way to beat my own brain.

I found my passions. Sure, there are so many things that people with FASD cannot do, but there is plenty they CAN do. I found I am not the best verbal communicator, but I can write. I love photography. I became a professional writer and photographer. I was a journalist/columnist for almost a decade, wrote a nonfiction book, just finished my first novel and have online photo galleries.

Hopes and dreams don’t have to be gone when a person is diagnosed with FASD, they just have to be different.

Living beyond our limitations

I had the amazing opportunity to write for Jeff Noble with FASDForever website. He asked me to write a blog from an adults perspective. This is what I wrote. http://fasdforever.com/?p=506

Because of the response I received and the amount of people I can that it helped, I want to continue to write about FASD. I want to continue to offer hope that are living with this dreadful disability. Key word: LIVING.

It is possible to LIVE with FASD. It is not a social death sentence. We absolutely can live beyond our limitations! We are so much more than what the doctors say. They only see where the brain is malfunctioning. What they don’t see is our determination to make it beyond all that. No matter how many times we are told we cannot do something, we will try that much harder to make it happen.

For a long time, I thought I was autistic. I actually had an easier time accepting that fact. When I heard that what was actually wrong with me was I was FASD, I lost my breath. I’m not sure why it affected me so much deeper, but it hit me to the core of who I am.

It actually made sense to me. I knew my biological mother had issues and had drug and alcohol problems, in those days, but I never linked that with the day to day struggles that I have. It was hard for me to realize, no matter how hard I worked, I would still have these disabilities. I am an overcomer.

The hope came in when I realized all my life I had been compensating for my disabilities. I learned how to learn. If a thousand ways did not work, I found one that did. I would not give up until I made it happen. I might spill everything along the way. I might not understand 80% of what goes on around me, but I am still going to be the best I can be, regardless of these disabilities.

I had two choices when I realized I was living with FASD. Number one, roll over and let it beat me. Number two, LIVE and no matter what, never let it beat me.

I am very anxious to do things on my own. I find external brains to go with me or I go a path I have always gone.

I have passions that are so deep that it bleeds through in everything I do. I decided to take those passions and see if I could make money from them.

We might not be able to do what everyone else can do, but they cannot do everything we can do. Many of them do not see the beauty in the world, like we do.

I stop to smell the roses.
I look up to watch a plane.
I sit in the dirt and still play.
I watch the beauty of nature with the eyes of a child.

I wouldn’t want to change these things at all.

Today, with FASD, I LIVE. I offer hope to those who think they will never be able to make it to tomorrow. I offer strength as one who has already gone before and proven that no matter how hard it is, you can do it.

If I can get a masters degree when they told me I would not even get a high school education, anyone can. I did not let my disability rule me. I had to be more creative.

I could still keep my dreams and aspirations. How I got there had to change a little, but I still got there. One frustration at a time…lol. Yea, I’m still working on that one.

I didn’t say it would be easy, but it is possible.