A new normal
March 24, 2020
Creating a new normal is exactly how parents respond to the unique parenting needs of children and youth with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, our FASD Support Program team sent the following message to all families currently in the program:
“We have all been given the news that has sent us into a ‘what now’ but let me tell you… WE GOT THIS!!! Our kids have taught us to accept a new normal as we navigate their needs with FASD, and I know that every single one of us has the ability to accept our new societal normal for this moment in time. Don’t underestimate your abilities with all the skills you have learned through our program! Again, WE GOT THIS!!!”
Our program runs several networking and support groups for these families; however, as a result of directions provided by Alberta Health Services and the Government regarding COVID-19, we realized that in-person support group meetings were no longer an option. So, we immediately began setting up online groups, three times per day, to make sure our families could continue to receive the support they need, remotely.
Our 2 p.m. support group is a family-focused group that allows the youth to participate in activities that better connect them with their family and other youth in the program. In the place of in-person activities, we created daily at-home challenges for the youth to complete with their families and have even set up an online science fair! We’ve also extended the invite to this group to our amazing program volunteers, which will allow them to continue building and maintaining meaningful relationships with youth in the program.
Consistency and routines are very important for those impacted by an FASD diagnosis, and sudden changes (such as those resulting from COVID-19) can be difficult for our youth to process. Our hope with these online groups is to ensure consistency and connection with our youth and their caregivers.
So far, we’ve managed to successfully complete one full week of no school and families practicing social distancing. We love that our families have been joining us online to share their struggles, successes and most importantly, much-needed laughter. Building towers of household items, group crossword puzzles, and sharing riddles and funny jokes are just some of the ways our group has come together over the past week, and we’re so proud of the connections we’ve been able to create and maintain.
Our program goal has always been and continues to be, creating a new normal today for hope and success tomorrow.