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Competence 5: Continuing Care of Families Affected by FASD

Relapse Prevention, Continued


Many persons with an FASD are unemployed due to their lack of social skills and difficulty with workplace skills such as time management and personal hygiene. However, work can help provide the structure that clients with an FASD need to maintain sobriety. Therefore, if work is to become an achievable goal for individuals with an FASD, vocational rehabilitation and substance abuse treatment must be closely integrated. As part of the treatment plan, referrals to job placement resources and job coaches may be needed. More information about incorporating vocational rehabilitation into treatment is available in Integrating Substance Abuse Treatment and Vocational Services.

Social and Recreational Resources
young man pushing carts

Social and recreational activities are important in providing opportunities to practice social skills. They also provide creative outlets for fun activities that focus on the individual’s strengths and abilities. Activities can be tailored to the person’s interest, such as art or music. In addition, local recreation departments may have activities for adults with disabilities, such as dances and exercise classes. Although few activities exist specifically for adults with an FASD, many programs accommodate persons with various abilities and may be able to include persons with an FASD.

Value of Mentor and Support Group Network

A person who has impaired vision may use a seeing eye dog. The person with impaired hearing may have an interpreter or a hearing aid. People with an FASD have a physical impairment in the area of the brain, especially the forebrain or frontal lobes that regulates executive functions. They need help with daily activities, such as getting ready for and getting to work, shopping, and arranging and keeping appointments. Some people refer to this help as an “external brain,” a person who interprets the world for the person with an FASD and helps him or her avoid risky behaviors.

An external brain is a responsible person (e.g., parent, teacher, job coach, sibling) who can mentor, assist, guide, supervise, and support the person with an FASD to maximize success. Success may be defined as the avoidance of addiction, arrest, unwanted pregnancy, homelessness, or accidental death. In addition, the person may need a “circle of support,” to be developed and stabilized during the early adult years. The circle of support needs to function well enough to be sustained when the parents can no longer function as primary external brains.10 Support may come from family members, other persons with an FASD, teachers, job coaches, and friends. The addiction professional may want to seek support groups for persons with an FASD as part of aftercare and ongoing recovery.

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