Supporting Adult Clients
The disabilities associated with FASD are lifelong. It is a common misconception that individuals with FASD will outgrow their difficulties, this is not true. The primary disabilities linked with FASD are permanent, the damage to the brain from prenatal alcohol exposure does not lessen or improve.
Difficulties with memory, troubles with problem-solving, communication problems, and all the other primary disabilities associated with FASD will be lifelong struggles. In fact, research shows that as individuals with FASD grow, the gap between their chronological age and developmental abilities can actually widen. Yet, as they age out of systems and become adults, they will face increased expectations and responsibilities, with a decrease in the services available to them.
Instead of this drop-off in services, as individuals with FASD become adults they may require even more intensive supports. Becoming an adult means a lot will change in a person’s life, for instance losing the routine and structure of school, the huge transition into the workforce, growing expectations to take charge of their own daily living, and the effects on their mental health when they can’t achieve the same independence as their peers. All of this change and pressure while still struggling with cognitive, physical, behavioural, and sensory disabilities is what results in the secondary effects of FASD, in particular, substance use disorders, employment problems, homelessness, and mental health issues. It is very important that we continue to offer individuals with FASD the same level of support, no matter what their age.
Encouraging interdependence, adjusting our expectations, and continuing to offer all the supports possible can help individuals with FASD lead happy and successful adult lives.