Ko ngā whakamāramatanga mō te hunga FASD | Information for Individuals with FASD

Facebook Group for people with FASD – join us now!

Did you know you have your very own Facebook page where you can connect with others in Aotearoa who have FASD? It can be really helpful to connect with others who know exactly what life is like for you, and it's a great way to make new friends who 'get it'. 

Click here to find out more...

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Changemakers at FASD-CAN Hui

On October 29, at the FASD-CAN Hui 2022, we had a live Zoom session with three member of the Adult Leadership Collaborative (ALC) of the FASD Changemakers – a global group of adults with FASD who want to change the way the world sees those affected by FASD. 

The session was very inspiring for those watching! It shows that people with FASD have the same needs and wants as everyone else but they just need a bit of extra help to get there. These women are smart, they are great talkers and they are determined to make their lives the best they can be.

Watch the video – it may change the way you think about having FASD!


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Me and my FASD

Based in the UK, this website is full of ideas to help you understand and own your FASD diagnosis – and your uniqueness!

It’s written with advice from adults and young people who have FASD, along with a whole team of whānau and experts. Check it out here – and don't forget to watch some of the YouTube videos...

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Anxiety Helpline in NZ

If you have have felt anxious about life (and who hasn't!) you'll know it can be a horrible experience. Did you know that there's a 24 hour, seven days a week helpline available that you can call? It's completely free and confidential. 

If you need immediate help call 0800 269 4389 (0800 ANXIETY) or check out their website for some tips and tools on how to cope with feeling anxious. (Please note that calls between midnight and 8am are for emergency calls only.)

Click here to go to the website

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Tips for people with FASD

This is a helpful document to read if you are in your late teens or are a young adult with FASD. 

Although it was written in Canada, it works here in New Zealand as well! There are some really great ideas in it about how to make life a little bit easier for yourself. 

Click here to read Tips for Individuals.

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Leaving school and getting a job

The thought of leaving school and heading out into the big wide world to university or work can be exciting – and sometimes pretty scary and overwhelming. 

Hopefully your school may have been helping you think about transitioning from school to a university or towards getting a job for a while now. Your parents or caregivers will be keen to help too, and guess what - even the government of NZ is keen to help you find work! 

The good news is that there are lots of nice people out there who know it's going to be a bit harder for you to move towards your goals, and who really are keen to help you make it work.

There are lots of great Transition Programmes – these are all about helping you to move as smoothly as possible into employment, community services or other activities. They'll work with you, your family/whānau and your school to make the transition to adult life as easy as possible. Your planning will involve working through setting goals and developing skills and experiences to lead a happy, purposeful and productive life after school.

Here are some based in Auckland but there are many others around the country.

Transition Programme - from school to adult life - Life Unlimited

Supporting teens with disabilities to find employment | Service | Enrich+

Workbridge | Building a bridge over employment barriers

Transition Services – CCS Disability Action

Transition Support from school to work - Spectrum Care

Employment Services for NZ Job Seekers - Let Us Help You Find a Job | APM NZ - A free 12-week programme

All universities and other tertiary institutions in NZ have whole departments to look after students who may need learning support:

Student Disability Services - The University of Auckland

Disability support services | Manukau Institute of Technology

Disability Support Services - Student Support - AUT

Disability Support Services | Study Support | Unitec

Disability Services – Victoria University of Wellington

Disability Services – University of Canterbury

Disability information and support – University of Otago

Disability services – Massey University


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Te Tiaki Kare-ā-roto Managing Emotions

If you have FASD, understanding your feelings and emotions is vital to good communication, but they can be hard to get your head around. You may first need some concrete methods to help identify WHAT you're feeling.

In order to be able to react appropriately to any emotion, you must first have some way to recognise exactly what you are feeling. That feeling can then be named and 'rules' for appropriate reaction to that feeling can be made.

  • If you have a meltdown, think about what you're feeling; for example, a fast-beating heart, sweaty hands, hot face. Attach the physical feelings to the meltdown so you can begin to identify what feelings are connected to certain behaviours.
  • Create a 'feelings' dictionary, using line-drawings of complete stick people, rather than just facial expressions for those most common feelings you are likely to experience. A complete body can show more than just a face and is much to associate with what you are feeling. Have one emotion per page.
  • Always name emotions very clearly. Get help from a family member or friend if you need it! With teens and adults, name the emotion first and then follow with the words your friends might use (say 'angry' or 'pissed off').
  • To clarify your emotions, try using an outline drawing of a person, make copies of it and keep them handy. Decide on some simple colour codes e.g. red for anger, blue for sad, yellow for happy, and gray for blank. Colour the outline in with the colour of your feelings – this can give you a quick and immediate idea of the state of your emotional health (e.g., red in the head and the hands is a good indicator of being ready to lose it; gray in the head and on the body is a good indication of being shut down). This might help, especially when you are not able to describe your feelings.

Once the feeling is identified, have some simple plans to express it the right way. For instance:

  • If you feel like you're about to have a meltdown, use 'calm down' techniques – take yourself away and do some breathing, maybe lie down or go for a walk
  • If your parent or caregiver is annoyed – stand still, look at them and listen 
  • Tired – lie down and rest
  • Frustrated – have a list of physical activities you can do and choose one
  • Angry – express it physically in an acceptable and safe manner – punch a cushion or rip up some newspaper!
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Te whakahaere pūtea Money Management

How often do you run out of money for kai?  How often do you seem to owe money to people, and not be able to pay them back. Are you unable to pay your bills? If you find managing your money difficult, you are not alone.

It is a relatively common problem for people with FASD, and it is all to do with the way your brain works. However, there are things you can do to manage your money better.

Why it's hard to get your head around money

  • Children and teens with FASD often have trouble with abstract concepts such as money. Although you can touch money and hold it in your hand, the value of it and the worth of items are ideas that can be hard to get a grip on!
  • As an FASD individual it's pretty common to ‘live in the moment’ – you may not always think about past mistakes or future consequences of your actions as these concepts are hard to think about, too.
  • It's also tricky to remember that a certain amount of money must last a certain amount of time. Making an impulsive purchase without thinking about what other, more important things you might need to buy is common – but try to avoid it! 

Strategies to use to use your money wisely

  • Learn about handling money in real places: go shopping with a parent and practice choosing items at the grocery store, calculating the total, and buying the items.
  • Remember to ask a parent or caregiver before selling or buying things to people who might not have your best interests to avoid losing money and/or possessions.
  • Have an allowance each day/week/month that is broken up into smaller payments for certain things.
  • Plan out exactly where the money should go, write it down, and check in with a parent or caregiver.
  • Practise using money at home to match sums of money with the value of clothing, groceries, etc.
  • If you're a bit older, get help on learning to use a budget book and practice planning for monthly bills to help remember about time and money concepts.
  • Get a person you trust to help keep track of your expenses, when you owe money, and when and what you spend your money on.
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Uruwhenua Hauora Health Passport

A Health Passport is a booklet that you can take with you when you visit a health or disability service provider, or anywhere that you may need to communicate information about yourself and your FASD in a quick and easy way.

It contains information that you want these people to know so they can communicate with you in a way you will understand, and tells them how they can best support you.

Having a Health Passport with you when you visit places like your doctor or a hospital can help take some of the pressure off having to remember or explain things about your particular health or neurodiversity needs.

The Health and Disability Commission in Aotearoa New Zealand has developed this resource and you can find out more information about it at their website.  It comes in different sizes and formats – you choose what will suit you best. And you can either fill it in by writing in the booklet, or you can download a copy and type in your information, and then print the booklet. There is also a guide that tells you how to fill in the booklet. Ask for help to do this if you find it confusing or difficult.

To download a copy of the booklet, click here

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Tūhono mai  | Become a member

Tūhono mai | Become a member

Sign up to receive more information such as relevant news or events – it’s free, there’s no requirement for input from you, and there are some great benefits built in. By joining FASD-CAN you’ll gain access to specific resources, advocacy, webinars and hui, and you'll be sent a free printed copy of our Handbook.

But even better – by becoming part of our team, you’d be helping us out. Staying informed and sharing information with others means you’ll be walking alongside us as we campaign for those impacted by FASD for the right to live their best lives.

Join us now!

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Ko ngā pūrākau a te hunga FASD | Stories from those with FASD

Caregiver and Whānau Support

If you have an individual with FASD in your whānau, you'll find a wealth of information, education, tips, strategies and real life stories here.


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Understanding FASD

It's important and empowering to find out as much as possible about how FASD can affect people. Click through to our 'Understanding FASD' page to skill up.


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