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Overcoming Adversity: The Stories of Four Resilient Adults with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum DIsorders

Date

2011-09-27

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Type

Degree Level

Masters

Abstract

The present study explored the school and life experiences of four individuals, between the ages of 19-30, who were diagnosed with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Semi-structured interviews provided insight into the lives of these adults. Their experiences with this disorder as it relates to their social interactions and peer relationships in the community, elementary, and high school, were explored. Merriam’s (2002) basic qualitative approach was utilized to explore the experiences of these individuals. A definitional focus on resiliency remained present when analyzing data generated through the interviews. Their educational and life experiences were examined with the goal of understanding how success is achieved among these individuals. Three major themes emerged from participant interviews: (1) “I don’t fit in”: negative school experiences lead to anger and frustration toward diagnosis; (2) intergenerational alcoholism, child abuse, and drug addiction; and (3) healing the wounds: sources of strength, success and helping others. Despite the hardships these participants faced, they each found sources of strength and success that have allowed them to be resilient in the face of adversity. These sources of strength and success are considered in connection with existing research literature. Practical implications of the findings, the limitations and strengths of the current study, and areas for future research are discussed.

Description

Keywords

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Resiliency, Qualitative Research

Citation

Degree

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

Department

Educational Psychology and Special Education

Program

School and Counselling Psychology

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