Living With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Independent Living With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Independent living refers to the ability to function in a community without support. However, many people hire others to help repair their cars, cut their grass, and fix broken windows. In collaboration with a spouse, friends, and paid service providers, people can run their households more efficiently. Thus, "interdependent living" is a more accurate term than independent living.
 
Most adults with fetal alcohol syndrome will need more help than those without the disorder to meet the more routine demands of work and home. The kinds of services and the degree of help needed may vary. Areas where assistance may be important include:
 
  • Employment
  • Money management
  • Housing
  • Social skills.
 
Many also require close supervision to help them make day-to-day decisions and stay safe.
 
A supportive community is important for everyone, but it is essential for people living with fetal alcohol syndrome. They need a strong circle of support made up of family members, mentors, social workers, job coaches, and others who understand the realities and limitations of the condition.
 
Parents or guardians of children with fetal alcohol syndrome should start planning early for the transition to adulthood, when eligibility for many services will end.
 

Self-Support When Living With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Appropriate training and assistance can help many people with fetal alcohol syndrome find and hold jobs. Job training for such people should begin during high school, with the student's education team taking the lead in planning the transition from school to work.
 
The federal Division of Rehabilitation Services may be able to help with job placement and support services, such as job coaches.
 
The key to successful employment for individuals with fetal alcohol syndrome is an employer who understands the disorder, has reasonable expectations, and can provide a supportive environment. Helpful strategies include:
 
  • Using literal language
  • Establishing consistency and routine
  • Providing ongoing training
  • Reviewing job expectations frequently
  • Helping to interpret the wishes and actions of other employees and customers.
     
People with fetal alcohol syndrome often find it difficult to access financial benefits. Many states base eligibility for developmental disabilities benefits on IQ. Many people with fetal alcohol syndrome have normal IQs and therefore do not qualify. They may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income from the federal government if they can meet the strict definition of disability needed to qualify.
 
Individuals living with fetal alcohol syndrome typically lack skills managing money. They may receive a paycheck or benefits check and immediately spend it, rather than budgeting for rent and other expenses. Consulting a lawyer about designating a "representative payee" can help. The payee can be a family member, case manager, or other person who receives an individual's checks, pays his or her expenses, and provides spending money on a daily or weekly basis.
 
Pregnancy and Pain

Information on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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