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  • Special Topics: Grief and Loss (2) Curriculum Development Team:

    Dorothy Badry, PhD, RSW Jamie Hickey, BA, MSW (c) Faculty of Social Work University of Calgary

    Project Funder: Public Health Agency of Canada (2011-2014)

    CHILDWELFARE.CA

    & Child WelfareCommunity of Practice

    The Caregiver Curriculum on FASD

  • Special Topics Module 5.2

    Concerns of Grief and Loss for Children and Caregivers

  • How to use this module

    Open in PowerPoint or PowerPoint viewer Click the Slideshow tab then click the From Beginning menu buSon that appears below

    Use your mouse to click on the arrows and items on the slides to navigate

    For longer modules, terms that appear in blue within the table of contents with an underline can be clicked to navigate the module.

  • How to use this module, conTnued

    The main navigaTon buSons work like this

    Go back to the very start Go to the end

    of this module

    Go forward Go back

    Go to the Table of Contents

  • How to use this module, conTnued

    There are also 2 special navigaTon buSons

    This buSon will return you to a list if you are asked to click to learn more about different topics

    This buSon will return you to the main chapter if you click on a colored box to see an example

  • Table of Contents

    IntroducTon to Grief and Loss What is Grief? 5 Stages of Grief What Should I Do About Grief? Tips for Caregivers Caring for the Child With Grief

  • Grief and Loss

    One important, yet oZen ignored, concern that affects both the caregiver and the child is grief and loss. FASD is a complex diagnosis for both the individual affected and his or her caregiver. The individual affected by FASD may struggle with physical, psychological, emoTonal and behavioral challenges while caregivers must manage the stress of obtaining appropriate medical appointments, advocaTng within the school system and providing behavioural supports at home.

  • Grief and Loss You may be surprised to see grief and loss addressed in this curriculum when so much of the focus is centered around the childs potenTal. Indeed, children affected by FASD can thrive when provided with the right supports and guidance, however it is also important to acknowledge that the diagnosis of an FASD can also bring feelings of grief or a sense of loss. Not all people will experience grief and loss when receiving a diagnosis. For some, the diagnosis may bring feelings of relief while others may experience conflicTng feelings of both relief and grief. Every caregiver and every child will experience the process of receiving a diagnosis differently.

  • Grief and Loss

    There is no right or wrong way to feel in the face of a diagnosis. The following secTon is intended to provide some brief informaTon regarding the feelings of grief and loss that may surround a diagnosis. If, on reading this secTon, you idenTfy that you or your child are having difficulTes in adjusTng aZer a diagnosis please contact your caseworker or invesTgate counseling services and/or support groups in your area.

  • Grief and Loss

    Grief is a natural and normal response to loss. A diagnosis does not need to be terminal or even life threatening to bring about feelings of grief. A serious or life-long diagnosis can also bring about emoTons of sadness and loss. Individuals diagnosed with an FASD are beginning a journey on a very different path then that travelled by their peers. This new journey requires both the child and the caregiver to shiZ and reframe expectaTons.

  • Grief and Loss

    As a caregiver, you may have envisioned a path for your child, imagined how their life would unfold and planned for the journey. Your child may have also imagined the future and set goals. This new journey may require the construcTon of new goals and aspiraTons. This change in journey represents a loss of expectaTons the expectaTons that you and your child had built prior to diagnosis.

  • Grief and Loss You may have already heard of the 5 stages of grief model listed below:

    Denial Anger Bargaining Sadness/Depression Acceptance

    These stages were iniTally defined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and many people do experience one or more of these stages when they experience a loss. It is very important to note, however, that there is no right or wrong way to experience grief and loss. Many people skip some of the stages or experience the stages out of order. For the purpose of this module the stages are included as a way to represent the wide variety of emoTons within the overall experience of grief.

  • Grief and Loss So, is grief harmful? Well, the answer to that quesTon depends on many things. Grief is a normal process. It is a natural human reacTon. Grief is not a bad emoTon or something to be feared. It is a normal response to an event that causes a severe life disrupTon and loss of the lifestyle, life path or life events you expected. Can grief be harmful? It certainly can be if it is experienced for a long Tme or experienced at extreme intensiTes. If you are concerned that your grief may be causing harm, we recommend that you speak with a mental health pracTToner immediately. Many services and support groups may be available and a mental health pracTToner will be the best person to advise you as to your opTons.

  • Grief and Loss While they can be painful, the situaTons that cause grief can also provide a tremendous opportunity for growth. Major life events, like a life-long diagnosis, demand acTon. Caregivers and children must come up with new goals and adaptaTons in the face of the new informaTon provided by the diagnosis. The discomfort that comes with grief assists us not only in saying goodbye to the old expectaTons but it inspires us to take acTon to remedy the feeling.

    Think of a situaTon or problem that you have solved. Prior to the situaTon or problem being resolved, how did you feel? Go back in your mind to the Tme it was happening and think about what you did when faced with the problem. What acTons did you take? How did you feel aZer you took those acTons?

  • Grief and Loss What should I do if I, or the child I am caring for, is experiencing grief aNer a diagnosis? As menToned before, for severe or prolonged cases of grief and loss please contact your childs caseworker or a mental health pracTToner to assess what resources and programs may be available. This secTon is not intended to address situaTons where grief is incapacitaTng (you or your child cannot complete your daily rouTne due to grief) or cases where severe mental health concerns are indicated (grief lasTng more than 6 months, symptoms of traumaTzaTon are present or suicidal thoughts/acTons are present) as these situaTons require immediate aSenTon by qualified medical and mental health pracTToners.

  • Grief and Loss Caregiver Support One of the best things you, as a caregiver experiencing grief, can do is engage in good self care. There will be a module later in this package with self-care suggesTons. In the face of crisis the importance of self-care is oZen ignored, but is imperaTve to understand that you cannot effec1vely support the child if you do not care for yourself. A few self-care suggesTons are listed below: Take Tme to relax or engage in enjoyable acTviTes Eat a balanced diet and set Tme aside to engage in exercise (even light

    walking) Engage your personal support network by asking for help when you need

    it. Talk to supporTve friends or family members Take advantage of the respite care opportuniTes available Seek counseling if you are feeling overwhelmed or distressed

  • Grief and Loss In addiTon to self-care, you may also want to begin assembling a network of support for the coming months. Diagnosis is the beginning of a new journey and you may find it helpful to speak with those who have travelled the post-diagnosis path. Ask your childs caseworker or contact an agency that offers programming to individuals with FASD and ask if they can provide contact informaTon for caregivers who have gone through the process of diagnosis before. Many individuals and families have also self-published blogs and websites about their experiences aZer diagnosis.

  • Grief and Loss Your network of support can also involve friends and family members. As you reach out be prepared to provide some educaTon. Some people may not know what FASD is and others may be experiencing their own grief surrounding the diagnosis. If you have been given (or have found) good informaTon and resources be sure to provide copies to family members and supporTve friends. Keep in mind that many people may be unsure of how to help. It is important that you make your needs known. Look for ways to engage the unique talents and experiences of your support network. If you find yourself overwhelmed with caring inquiries choose a few key friends or family members who can distribute updates to everyone for you.

  • Grief and Loss

    Keep a list or chart of who can provide what support along with their contact informaTon. This informaTon will not only help you, but is also important in the event of an emergency.

  • Grief and Loss

    SupporOng the Child Providing support to child diagnosed with an FASD can be complex. As you read through the following secTon be mindful that due to differences in development and processing ability not all of the suggesTons will be appropriate for all children.

  • Grief and Loss Provide a safe environment Provide a safe and secure environment for your child to express their feelings and emoTons surrounding the diagnosis. Do not pre

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