#013 R.J. Formanek: From Emancipation to Innovation and Inspiration

fasd success show Mar 29, 2020

R.J. Formanek is an FASD speaker, educator, creator of Flying With Broken Wings - a Facebook Support Group for Individuals with FASD, caregivers and professionals who support them, as well as the inspiration behind and partner in the Red Shoes Rock international awareness alliance. Oh and did I mention, he is on the Spectrum?

R.J.’s story is an adventure of hope and inspiration from how he began his journey to end up where he is now - the happiest he has ever been. 

Not that I was my own worst enemy – But I definitely wasn’t my best friend.

Despite a rough start, growing up in the "system," he lived a "normal" life on the outside - becoming a father, a husband, and holding down jobs. Still, it was a struggle, living with an "alphabet soup" of diagnoses, which never really fit. Until a close friend suggested maybe what he had was Fetal Alcohol.

She looked me square in the eye and said: It's not your fault. And that just broke me right there.

Getting a diagnosis turned R.J.'s life around. After being shocked at the negativity he read online, he knew having FASD did not mean a life of "no hope, nothing gets better." He made it his mission to tell the world the truth about life with FASD.

If you are a caregiver or front line worker wondering what the future holds then tune in to hear:

  • Why he considered himself a “garbage bag kid”
  • Who the monster under the bed is and why meeting it was important.
  • When the presumption of competence gives you a reality check.
  • What being neurodiverse has taught him and what he teaches others about it.
  • How wearing red shoes for him turned into an international movement for many.

R.J. shares eloquently but realistically as a teller of FASD truths. From his perspective on what individuals need from others, to sharing how the team he surrounds himself with ensures his success.

Our brains work different, but that doesn't make it wrong. People who are better at something ... let them do it (for you). It does not take away from me. It's not you - it's what you deal with. I don't have to fight every fight by myself.


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