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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is not a mental health diagnosis or medical diagnosis, but an umbrella term used to describe a number of symptoms and disorders that may occur in a child whose mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy. Post-traumatic events vary in severity. Many children share common effects, including emotional and physical learning difficulties. Common physical characteristics that may be associated with FASD include facial deformities, growth deficits, heart, liver, kidney defects, vision or hearing problems, and permanent brain damage. The FASD is the only 100% preventative cause of mental retardation and birth defects in the United States, and the FASD is 100% incurable. The FASD is estimated to affect 40,000 newborns each year. This is more than just Bifida spine, Down syndrome և muscular dystrophy combined.
Alcohol damages the parts of the brain that give us memory, self-control, coordination and judgment. Children with FASD often have difficulties with learning, attention, memory, central nervous system և problem-solving skills, which can have life-threatening consequences. FASD is a permanent condition that affects all aspects of a child’s life and their family life.
Family emotional charge should not be underestimated. It is difficult for parents to accept that their child’s mental retardation, birth defects և (or) neurological disorders are the result of maternal prenatal alcohol consumption. For adoptive or foster parents, finding out that their child is suffering from FASD after years of trying to understand his or her cognitive-behavioral problems leads to feelings of frustration and isolation.
As an adoptive mother, I can say that raising a child with FASD is the hardest but most rewarding job I have ever done. Andrew is now 13 years old and in seventh grade. He is sweet, generous, loving, very naive. He also showed many of the symptoms of FASD from the day we brought him home within a week. He was crying all the time. Until he was 3 years old, he never slept on medication for more than 30 minutes at a time, day or night. To say that life seemed impossible is in fact an understatement. He kept asking, ուշադրություն if I took him out of my sight in another room for a minute, he would destroy it. If I wasn’t right next to him when he was moving his gut in his napkin, he would take it; he would smear the rings all over the walls, on the carpets, in the bed. We had to put a lock on our fridge because she would get out of her crib in the middle of the night, throwing everything out of the fridge that was blowing into the carpet, the walls, the beds. We knew for years that there were serious problems, but no one could help us. All the experts said that his behavior was beyond their expertise. We went to a doctor, a doctor, a counselor, we looked everywhere for the answers of him և our family. At the age of three, he was thrown out of the day-to-day care of our district, passed through at least 30 infants, and was unable to stay in the Church nursery. He was very violent towards everyone. but most of his rage came out on me. He would bite me, hit me, throw things at me. He was digging holes in the walls, in the windows, he was throwing rocks at us, like cars, he was never really happy. When he started school, a whole new nightmare began. On the fourth day of school, he threw toys, utensils, and destroyed the classroom before leaving the room, forcing the teacher to leave other students to chase my 4-year-old. She was taken to an emotionally charged classroom where they had experiences with other children like her.
By age 5, he had so many diagnoses that I lost count, but none of them really explained the severity of his behavior. We have tried 21 different medicines և tried at least 4 different types of therapy. We started researching the internet, found several FASD sites, and found that there were several places in the United States that specialized in FASD. I packed Andrew, leaving my husband and the other two children at home, and went in search of a diagnosis. We went to Baltimore, MD և and saw a FASD specialist who finally gave him an accurate diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. When we finally had a diagnosis, no one seemed to be able to help us control his behavior, պահ his behavior was getting worse. At that time he was on 7 drugs, but none of them were effective. We went to the Internet again, searching for the FASD, and found a Marcus Institute clinic in Atlanta GA. They noticed his behavior և they immediately asked if we would be willing to travel to Atlanta for a few months so he could attend the clinic. Their observation was that his behavior was something that would never improve without extreme intervention. At this moment we had no alternative. he was getting bigger, stronger and more destructive every day. After struggling with insurance complications, Andrew և and I moved to Atlanta, where he underwent eight weeks of treatment, testing, and training.
After two months of hard work, the Behavioral Clinic was able to reduce its behavioral behavior by 96.6% since we first started the program. The skills we learn are skills we still use to keep his behavior under control. Or we still have bad days, we also have good days now. Today he can stay at school all day with the help of the shadows, he can play baseball, football with other children at his age, he is happy.
Andrew, like him և Most FASD kids will never be what others feel is ‘normal’ և it’s good for us because he’s a happy little kid now. She is learning to read; she is slowly learning social skills. We had to adjust our expectations as he learned to think outside the box when dealing with him and his problems. We live a pretty normal life, whatever it is. We are not treated in the traditional sense, but we act and we progress. She is now free of 5 of the 7 drugs; she has really grown physically and emotionally.
Most children with FASD have a lot of problems to deal with all their lives. FASD behavior is a treatable but incurable condition that can be fixed with therapy or medication. There are some children who use certain types of medication, but the medication only addresses some of the symptoms. Permanent brain damage cannot be corrected or treated. Creative behavior management works very well most of the time. Children with FASD have developmental problems, failing to understand cause, effect, or effect. One of the most important things I learned from my son was to keep an open mind, a sense of humor, and my faith in God.