OUR STORY ...
We are a service set up by two professional women of adopted children, later diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder [FASD]. Collectively, we have professional qualifications and experience in social work, nursing (particularly paediatrics), government management and administration, policy development, FASD and behavioural support programme implementation, dispute resolution, budgeting, fostering, and small business management.
More importantly, we collectively have over 36 years’ experience as mothers in dealing with FASD from infancy right through to adulthood. We also have experience in other co-morbid diagnoses particularly ADHD and depression, and have dealt with issues relating to sexual orientation, high anxiety, fears and phobias, and other mental health issues.
Through our collective experience we have had to deal with just about every imaginable issue and problem arising from an FASD disability. If it has happened to an FASD individual, or because of an FASD individual, then between the two of us we have probably had to deal with the problem or issue.
We have had to navigate the complex and limited pathways of financial and other supports for our children, and we have experienced and identified the gaps in current service and support provision. Our aim is to fill these gaps.
We also found we have needed to "educate the educators", organisations, and some government department employees about FASD. This is because their practical knowledge of the disability and what actually works for our children and their families/whānau can be limited and/or unrealistic.
Having experienced what it is like to live with FASD, and having seen the effect on the individual, ourselves, other family/whānau, and members of the community, we decided to set up BEACON Aotearoa. We wanted to share our practical and hard-won knowledge and experience to achieve better outcomes for FASD-affected individuals and their families/whānau or caregivers. We believe we have a unique insight, understanding, and knowledge as to what it takes to raise, and live with, an FASD individual every day. We are also aware of those types of interventions that are most likely to succeed.
Our services are increasingly important and relevant in New Zealand society given the growing number of individuals being diagnosed with FASD every year, and the associated growing need to properly support them and their families/whānau.
The New Zealand Government's launch of the strategy document: “Taking Action on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: 2016-2019; An Action Plan (Aug 2016)” bodes well for future supports offered to those individuals and families/whānau living with the FAS disorder.
We will be working with the government and other agencies to address the multiple and complex needs posed by FASD in our society and communities.
At BEACON Aotearoa we are passionate and committed to making positive change for those affected by FASD.