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Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

What Exactly Is Fetal Alcohol and What Does It Have To Do With Me?

Etal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, (FASD) isn't a mental health diagnosis or a medical diagnosis but is an umbrella term used to describe a range of syndromes and disorders that can occur in a young child whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. The effects and symptoms vary in severity. Many children share the common effects which include psychological, physical and learning issues. The typical physical characteristics which can be associated with FASD are facial deformities, growth deficits, heart, liver, kidney defects, eyesight and hearing problems as well as permanent brain injury. FASD is the only 100% preventable cause of mental retardation and birth defects in the United States and FASD is 100% untreatable. It's estimated that FASD impacts 40,000 babies each year. This is over Spinal Bifida, Down Syndrome and Muscular Dystrophy combined.

Alcohol damages the areas of the brain that gives us memory, self control, judgment and planner. Children with FASD frequently have difficulties with learning, attention, memory, central nervous system, and problem solving skills that might have lifelong implications. FASD is a permanent condition and impacts every facet of the child's life and the life of the family.

The emotional toll on families can't be underestimated. For birth parents, admitting that their child's mental retardation, birth defects, or neurodevelopment disorders are a consequence of maternal prenatal alcohol intake is quite tricky to confront. For adoptive or foster parents, discovering that their child suffers from FASD after years of attempting to comprehend his behavioral and cognitive issues contributes to feelings of frustration and isolation. As an adoptive mom I can tell you raising a child with FASD is the hardest but the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Andrew is currently 13 years old and is in the seventh grade. He's sweet, generous, loving and very naive. He also has shown a lot of the symptoms associated with FASD since the day we brought him home at 1 week old. He cried all the time! Until he was 3 years old on drugs he never slept for more than 30 minutes at one time, night or day. To say life looked impossible is really an understatement. He required constant attention and if I let him out of my sight in another room for a single minute he would ruin it. When I was not right with him if he had a bowel movement in his diaper he would take it off and then smear feces all over the walls, bed and carpets. We had to set a lock on our fridge because he would climb out of the crib in the middle of the night and dump everything out of the refrigerator smearing it from the carpeting, walls, and beds. For years we knew that there were severe difficulties, but nobody could help us. All of the professionals stated that his behaviours were out of their experience. We moved from Doctor to Doctor, counsel to counselor and hunted everywhere for answers for our family. From the age of three, he was thrown out of every daycare in our area, went through a minimum of 30 babysitters, and could not remain in the nursery at Church. He was quite violent toward everyone; nevertheless most of his rages were shot out on me. He would bite me, hit me and throw things at me. He'd put holes in the wall, windows, threw stones at us, as well as the cars and was basically never pleased. When he started school a completely new nightmare started. The fourth day of school he'd thrown toys, supplies and ruined the classroom than ran from the room causing the teacher to have to leave other pupils to chase my 4 year old. He had been moved to a mentally handicapped class where they had experience with other kids like him.

By the time he was 5 he had so many diagnoses I lost count, but not one of them really explained the seriousness of his behaviours. We'd tried 21 distinct drugs and tried at least 4 unique sorts of therapy. We began researching the net and found a couple of websites about FASD and found that there have been several places in the USA that specialized in FASD. Andrew and I packed up, leaving my husband and other two kids at home and moved in search of a diagnosis. We moved to Baltimore, MD and saw a FASD specialist that finally gave him a precise diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. While we had a diagnosis nobody seemed able to assist us get his behavior in check and his behaviour was getting worse. At that moment, he had been on 7 drugs however none were powerful. We went back online searching and learning about FASD and found that a "severe" behavior practice, The Marcus Institute, at Atlanta GA.. They observed his behaviours and they asked if we would be open to coming to Atlanta to endure a couple of weeks so he can attend to the clinic. This was their observation that his behaviors were something that would never get better without extreme intervention. At this point we had no option; he was getting larger, stronger and more damaging regular. After fighting insurance complications, Andrew and I went to Atlanta where he underwent therapy, testing and training for eight weeks.

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News Release: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
Submitted on: February 09, 2018 05:50:13 PM
Submitted by: Marshal
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