Peer Mentorship & Consultation
Have you ever felt alone, like no one understands what you’re going through? Finding a community of people with similar experiences can make a world of difference.
FASD impacts at least 2-3% of Canadians (more than twice as common as autism). That means at least one child per classroom has FASD, not to mention other developmental diversities that have similar symptoms. A community that big deserves to be better connected, and better understood.
FASD continues to carry stigma. This stigma reduces confidence in talking about FASD with the diagnosed person as well as in the community, thereby reinforcing misconceptions. Mentorship provides a safe space to learn about FASD and the brain. It helps the individual develop a positive self-identity and build a vocabulary to teach others a “true perspective” of FASD that fights old stereotypes.
We all do better when we understand ourselves and can ask for what we need - and communicate what we don’t. Why not learn this skill with others who have already “walked the walk”? Magical things happen when a person connects with a mentor that they identify with and look up to. This relationship sparks hope about what the future holds as the person embraces their own unique gifts.
Asante is thrilled to offer peer mentorship and consultation services provided by consultants with FASD who have training in mentorship, advocacy, and leadership. We create opportunities for children, youth, and adults with FASD or other developmental diversities to get to know each other, build life and leadership skills, come to a positive self-identity, and teach the world. We highlight personal strengths throughout.
One-to-one support helps reduce fear during the assessment process, builds positive self-identity, and inspires personal growth through connection with a role model. Mentors help the person come up with goals that they want to work towards and can “go with the flow” as personalized learning naturally emerges.
The Centre runs a mentorship program for youth with FASD in Surrey on Sat afternoons, and has invitations to expand to other communities and age groups. Groups help individuals make social connections, learn leadership and life skills, and feel “normal” among friends (however normal is defined!).
Families and service providers are often overwhelmed by symptoms the person in their care displays and want an “inside scoop” of how to support them better. Consultation helps carers ask questions in a safe place and build confidence around how to recognize and address opportunities for growth.
Through modeling behaviour and direct teaching, experts living with FASD can play a key role in guiding others in the right direction such as helping them understand what FASD means to them, developing alternative strategies, and coping with emotions. Mentors are matched to individual child, youth, or adult needs as best as possible.
Mentors will form connections based on mutual trust, helping individuals across the lifespan unleash their potential and lay the foundation for a productive, fulfilling life. Mentors help:
- Build on the strengths and abilities of the individual living with FASD;
- Increase access to relevant FASD supports and resources;
- Develop individual, family and community awareness of issues related to the impact of FASD;
- Increase recreational and social connections for individuals living with FASD;
- Increase family strategies and supports for managing FASD;
- Advocate with schools, government, justice systems, and assist with connection to professional and community resources; and,
- Provide education, information and consultation to other service providers, such as collaboration with probation and child welfare providers, caregivers, teachers, etc.
Mentorship groups are currently being offered in Surrey on Saturday afternoons for youth and young adults with FASD. Call the Centre for more information.
One-to-one services are offered through the Surrey and Maple Ridge offices on a fee-for-service basis. Fees are $75 per hour including preparation and goal-setting time.