WORK WITH ME
When I found out I had FASD at 33 years of age, I was told that my brain had been "irreversible and permanently damaged by alcohol", it was beyond discouraging, my heart tore apart, I felt hopeless and I truly believed there was no bright future for me. If you or your children have been told this, please don't listen, because it isn't entirely true.
"Our brain is the cause of all of our challenges but it is the solution to all of them too." -Gilberto Spencer
I wasn't told that research has proven that we are not stuck with the brain that we were given and that we absolutely don't have to be a victim of our biology. Great news! isn't it? Then why did nobody tell me that? It would have saved me from experiencing the darkest days of my life, and because I don't want you or your children to ever experience the distress and despair of those days is that I want you to know that regardless of our FASD or if you have another type of brain injury, damage or neurodevelopmental impairment, we can improve our brains through neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity or brain plasticity is the brain's ability to reorganize pathways and create new neurons (neurogenesis) and connections (synapses). Because of this remarkable capacity, the brain has the ability to move functions from damaged areas to undamaged ones and I want to prove is possible. Here's what happened, during my official diagnosis for FASD, I completed many assessments, one of them was a neuropsychological one, its findings were not surprising at all. I had severe impairment in my executive functioning, well, guess what? I have improved so much regardless of that, in a way I never thought possible.
THROUGH A BRAIN-BASED APPROACH
My coaching approach is based on neuroscience (neuroplasticity),
psychology (metacognition), my experience living with FASD and
improving my own brain
Yes, we can shape our brains but it doesn't mean the change will always be positive, it can be to our detriment too. Our brains are always changing, evolving, and adapting in response to what we expose them to. If we expose our brains to the negative, we will strengthen the neuropathways of negative thoughts, bad and destructive habits, behaviors, and addictions. Whether we are aware or not, our brain as it is today has been shaped by everything we do and don't do every day.
What happened inside our FASD brain?
During our development, alcohol damaged the wiring of our brain and the most damaged area is our prefrontal cortex, the most evolved part of our brain and the one that tells us apart from any other species in the animal kingdom.
This most evolved and damaged area is the one responsible for our executive functioning, the one we use to plan, make decisions, moderate social behavior, see future consequences and outcomes of our actions. When our prefrontal cortex is not working properly (or is switched off) as is our case, we will be left unable to control our behaviors and impulses.
Our biggest challenges
Our prefrontal cortex is the most damaged part of our brain because it's the area farthest away from the brain stem, the area where our brain originates. Our brain grows in an upward and outward direction, creating the cauliflower-like structure we all know. During its construction, our neurons are the building blocks traveling from the brain stem to the different areas to be built, is during their journey that alcohol attacks them, disrupting, and even killing some of them. The longer the journey they have to complete, the lower the chances our neurons have to survive.
Our prefrontal cortex is not the only area of our brain not working properly, while this area is underperforming, our amygdala becomes overactive. The amygdala's main function is to regulate emotions, such as fear and aggression, when our amygdala is working correctly we can act appropriately in threatening or stressful situations, but when is not, we will respond and react illogically and irrationally to stressful situations that produce strong feelings of anxiety, anger, aggression, or fear.
Does this sound all too familiar?
Let's have a chat. I'd be happy to hear your story, where you and your child are on your FASD journey, and answer any questions you may have.