FASD: Getting the Word out! In 2016, let’s get the word out on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Let’s give those with this mental illness a voice. So often, individuals with FASD don’t speak out because they either don’t know how to, or don’t know who to ask for support. It is up to us caregivers, support workers, and people who care, to be their voice.
FASD: Getting the Word out! Speaking up for those who struggle with mental illness is not difficult, especially if you like to voice your opinion through social networks. Discuss Fetal Alcohol Syndrome with your followers. Do they know what it is? Do you know what it is? If not, read the following, then forward this post to your contacts through emails and social networking sites.
What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? According to health information, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the most severe form of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): a term used to describe the full range of permanent birth defects caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. Meaning, if a woman drinks during her pregnancy, she runs the risk of her child being born with a mental disorder. Physical signs of FAS include growth deficiency, craniofacial abnormalities, and brain damage that presents as structural, functional, and neurological impairments. Significant traits of FAS affect the memory, the ability to plan or process directions, reasoning, judgment, and assessment.
FASD: Getting the Word out! For twenty years, I raised four grandchildren, each with a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Responsible for their relentless behavior disorders, social anxieties, sensory issues, and defiance, FAS disrupted our world. With no cure for the disorder, their futures look bleak because without continuous support, children with FAS are more likely to grow into homeless, law-breaking adults, with substance addictions, and a loss of family ties.
Securing a diagnosis of FASD can be difficult. In some locations, a diagnosis will only be confirmed when symptoms are present and the birth mother admits to drinking alcohol during her pregnancy. Some argue that a woman might drink alcohol unaware she is pregnant or what alcohol can do to the fetus, and are therefore blameless for the child’s Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. But if a woman is planning a pregnancy, is sexually active without using birth control, or is relying on an unpredictable form of birth control, it makes sense for her to avoid alcohol at all times.
FASD: Getting the Word out! Given the high rate of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in children, one has to question if enough information is available to women on the risks involved when drinking alcohol during pregnancy. To encourage responsibility, the woman’s partner, family, and friends also need such information. Their encouraging the mother not to drink alcohol while sexually active, or pregnant, will lower the risk of the child being born with FAS.
Testing for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can be arduous and expensive but is the only sure way to discover if an individual has the disorder. Without the diagnosis, supports and services are often inaccessible; services essential to managing the monumental challenges of FAS.
Teens with FAS are more likely to self-medicate with alcohol and illegal drugs and, due to behavioral concerns associated with the disorder, invariably have trouble with authority, often leading to incarceration and isolation. As the brain with FAS is permanently impaired, it is a life-long mental illness.
FAS is the most easily prevented mental illness through
of alcohol during pregnancy.
Thank you for sharing this post with your friends and followers. My book, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years (available soon) offers a glimpse into various challenging episodes my four grandchildren with FAS and I experienced during the past twenty years. While distressing to read, such crises can occur often in the life of an individual with FAS. If you are considering adopting a child with FAS, or are a mental health worker, a teen with FAS, or want to broaden your understanding of this very preventable mental illness, my first memoir: Two Decades Of Diapers which describes my journey to becoming a grandmother raising four young grandchildren with FAS, and my new memoir Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The Teen Years, are essential reading.
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