Friday, November 2, 2012

Incredible People – part one

You know I spend a lot of time complaining about how there are so many people that just don’t understand FASD and or just don’t care that I thought, now in November, maybe I should make a real effort to highlight some of the really superb, knowledgeable, caring people that are out there that I am so thankful to “know”*.   I’m going to start with one I have mentioned before, Diane Malbin. 
Diane is the executive director of FASCETS, a private, non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to prevention of FASD and to preventing secondary defensive behaviors and improving outcomes for people who have FASD (by increasing understanding of FASD as a brain-based physical disability).  She was recognized by NOFAS in August of 2012 for her outstanding contributions  to the efforts to combat FASD.
Diane is also a clinical social worker, program developer, and consultant who provides information and services for individuals, families, and agencies dealing with FASD.  She has written two books, Trying Differently Rather than Harder  and Fetal Alcohol / Neurobehavioral Conditions: Understanding and Application of a Brain-Based Approach - A Collection of Information for Parents and Professionals.  I own two copies of the first book.  I use one to loan to teachers, doctors, therapists and others that work with my son.  The other I reread myself regularly as I mentioned here because it is just that good.  I am eagerly awaiting the two copies of the second book which I currently have on order.  I fully expect it to be just as good.
I first had the opportunity to hear Diane speak as part of Jeff Nobel’s Caregiver Kickstart program.   Her approach to linking the specific brain dysfunctions suffered by those with FASD to the behaviors those dysfunctions produce made automatic sense to me.  It was one of those “A-Ha! Well Duh!” moments you have when presented with an idea that is brilliant in its simplicity.  Like a lot of things that are brilliantly simple – applying the neurobehavioral paradigm Diane proposes is not as easy as it is seems.  The change in thinking can be very hard to do, which is why I am so absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to meet Diane and speak with her in person later this month!!!
This is what I think makes Diane such an amazing and outstanding person.  A stranger (me) contacts her out of the blue and asks for her time and her answer is, “of course”.  You’ll probably see me writing more posts about Diane’s neurobehavioral approach as I work through some of the material she sent me to look at in advance of our meeting.  I think my understanding and ability to talk about and really apply it will be much enhanced by that meeting.  But that doesn’t change my earlier recommendation – if you deal with someone who has FASD – go get a copy of her books.  Heck, get two of each – they are more than worth the price. 

*For most that means “know” in the virtual sense.  I’m not a big web surfer but for finding information and support on FASD the internet is a powerful tool.

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