How FASD impacted my life and how I overcame and grown to today.
First let me say with early intervention and supports anything is possible and there is hope.
My name is Matt Sinclair and I’m from PBCN Northern Saskatchewan and I have FASD. It has been a unique journey to say the least and every day is a learning experience which is sometimes hard but rewarding.
I was told that at a young age I had FASD 6 months from birth and my bio mother drank and I don’t blame her for it because she was a young person herself. When she couldn’t care for me I was adopted.
When I was growing up what I remember the most was the lack of understanding of this overly common disorder (unique gifts). My adoptive mother fought for me and it’s how I’m here living a normal life at least to me it feels normal.
The elementary school year’s were some of my best years and the worst as well. Everyday I would go to school to only be teased and bullied for most of my years till when I finally broke and fought back. During this there was a program which helped me very much it was called Cadets. How it helped was the routine part of it and having a uniform to take care of and always learning something and interesting to have learn in the classroom and then see how it feel during hands on learning they do.
During the school years I had very little resources offered to me because of the lack of understanding and thinking of I was just a bad kid which after a while that was what I became. I was running away for home and group homes to me guess have a normal teenagers life with friends. This was want I wanted but couldn’t have because I was used as a target for some real dumb stuff I would get in trouble and no one else would. So, when I would it seemed always my fault and the worst was my adoptive mother didn’t believe me because herself has her issues to deal with which to say the least, she was abused in many forms. And this had an impact on her and the family. My grandmother had help me find the strength and to learn to become good at something you have to practice it a lot and my dad shared the same point but in a military way. Since then, this has become a part of my drive and that was when I understood I have to be better than the next guy for many reasons.
This was when I just finished my Medicine Wheel Counselor Associate Training Level 2 from Building A Nation in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan when I moved back at 17 years old after I got tired of living on the streets of Toronto and other places. This give a insight of the world which a normal person is scared of and I had my fears, but seen different when I lived on the streets I found five guys which was from the same province as I was – from Saskatchewan and we helped each other out and look out for one another. No matter what it was, if one of us had a job at a fast food place or making sure we improved our selves. Even when we traveled back and forth to Saskatchewan and we both had son’s. To this day, I still talk with Romeo he has became one of my closes friends, as well a few other people which I will share will you. When I left the Sault, like so many times before, this time was different as I had a job travelling with the carnival and set up and run the rides. This was fun and great for a bit and then I choose to live in the east coast where I met this awesome friend who helped me see even more of what I could become because our story’s, yet similar in nature was different as well (as every FASD child is) but back to where I was. When I first left the carnival I was in a homeless shelter and met her down by the river and we talked about things which started a lasting friendship to date and she has been like my external brain in some parts of my life and even better as a friend without judgment and “it’s just Matt” as she would put it. Even when I was struggling with addictions because of something bad happening and I did not know how to handle it, with time and long emails. What she told me along time ago – make life what you want and always be positive and don’t over think things. Her name is Roberta.
Today I still have an external brain, but is more of another best friend which I have come to respect and consider my family. His name is D. We met through a friend we had in common and it grew from there. When I lost my grandma in 2007 it was not known if I would relapse because my grandma Gert was everything to me. It was a dark couple of months and a lot of venting and dealing with everyday life at the time which he told me I quit or he would kick me ass. For some reason this worked.
This was how I found, with the right friends you can create your own support network and have a way to guide yourself though life as everyone story is different and not because of FASD but nobody is perfect or normal.
This has been an important to my success in life as well as my determination and if I’m going to be a stat I will be the top few that make it and help others see, just because we have a unique disorder, we are not retards, but very unique learners
Sault Ste. Marie Indian Friendship Centre
Sault Ste. Marie, ON