Inspiration exists in all forms and they are so important when traveling down unpaved road.
Thanks to our FASD service provider, the hubby and I recently joined a cohort of parents and caregivers for a weekly support group.
It’s an 8-week pilot initiative hosted by Surrey Place, an amazing organization that has supported T since his toddler years, including providing his assessment and diagnosis earlier this year.
These virtual sessions take place over the lunch hour, which is great, as I can join from work.
The sessions are informal, with short presentations, resource sharing, and time for parents to ask questions and to meet special guests.
During the fourth session this session, we had special guest, Myles Himmelreich, an individual with FASD.
When we first received T’s prognosis six years ago, it was quite the emotional punch, and we went through the usual cycle of grief.
I tried to search for success stories. They were few and far in between but Myles’ story repeatedly came up over the years.
So it was so wonderful to meet him.
He spoke about what it was like to live with a brain and body disability, covering similar points from this video he filmed years ago.
It was refreshing to hear his candor about his struggles and reassuring to hear about his many successes, including his work as a motivational speaker which takes him all over the world.
Even though we’ve read and learned a lot about FASD over the years, it was still sobering and heartbreaking to hear Myles speak about his many struggles – being misunderstood and unsupported at school, drug use in his adolescence, homelessness in young adulthood.
During the Q&A session, one parent asked him for advice on how to help kids who threaten to hurt themselves. I listened intently as the hubby and I see some these behaviours emerging in T when he’s very disregulated.
I asked Myles for his advice on friendships, as this is an area where T struggles, and the two-year disruption of the pandemic certainly wasn’t helpful in this regard.
What resonated with me the most about Myles’ message to parents was the importance to create a safe, supportive and accommodating environment in helping kids like T to thrive.
I left the session feeling recharged.
I have no doubt there’ll be lots of bumps along the way, especially as T enters adolescence, but it was inspiring to see there are positive outcomes ahead, thanks to individuals like Myles.
Our service coordinator let us know they are looking at piloting other initiatives in the near future, including meetup events for families and kids, like outdoor hikes and equestrian therapy, and possibly an opportunity for kids like T to meet role models like Myles.
I think this is so important, not just for parents and caregivers, but especially for kids like T. To see that there is a path, many paths, that lead towards hopeful and positive outcomes.