Family members of adults living with FASD—including parents, grandparents, siblings, and other relatives—face their own unique challenges. Their lives are often consumed with seeking suitable services for their loved one and helping them reach their potential in a safe and healthy environment. One priority for FASD families and advocates is the development of dependent residential living programs and environments designed specifically for the needs of adults with FASD. Finding housing which is appropriate for the needs of someone with FASD may be difficult. Group homes solely for FASD are uncommon and the needs of the individual may not be met at all group homes.
NOFAS affiliate, FASD Communities is a non-profit organization founded by FASD parents committed solely to, “Providing a FASD resident-based living center that combines a homey atmosphere with meaningful vocational opportunities, that focuses on what you [a person with FASD] can do, not just what you can’t. A place to develop your talents, engage in sports and recreational programs and find plenty of lifelong friends.”
Consider taking a survey to share your experiences: National FASD Communities Participant and/or Caregiver Survey
A Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area-based group comprised of parents of adults with FASD has also recently come together to discuss existing and new independent living prospects for their children and all adults with FASD. NOFAS is committed to working with FASD Communities and the new Washington, D.C. group to support their missions and to recruit more parents to the cause. Contact NOFAS to learn more and get involved.
Some adults may be able to live outside of a group home. It is important for the caregivers to continue to assist their child in daily activities. An adult with FASD may struggle to remember to pay rent or utility bills, so the caregivers must stay involved. Better yet, the parents can have money go directly from the child’s paycheck to the bills so their child will not have to remember to pay the bills. Adults living alone may forget rules regarding hygiene and cleanliness, so parents should do regular checks. This includes not just personal hygiene such as showering, brushing teeth, or washing clothes, but also food preparation. The adult may have a hard time remembering when to throw out expired food, purchase nutritional food, or store food properly.
Financial assistance from the parents is often necessary despite disability payments or employment. It is most effective if this money is given frequently and in small amounts to avoid extravagant purchases. Even though the child is no longer living at home, he or she may still need reminders to get to work and appointments on time. Alarms, text messages, and phone calls can be used as cues. He or she may also need to be accompanied to doctor’s appointments, job interviews, or other important meetings.
For those who choose to live independently and not in a group home, there are certain accommodations that a family should look for. These include:
- Close proximity to a laundromat, grocery store, or other important stores
- Close proximity to a bus stop or other mode of public transportation
- A safe area that protects the individual from victimization or crimes
- Safety measures within the building such as fire alarms and security buzzers
- Working appliances, locks, and thermostat
- A landlord who is understanding and easy to communicate with
More tips for apartment searching are available through Lutherwood.