FASD or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a term used to describe the full range of disabilities caused by pre-natal exposure to alcohol. The individual diagnoses included in this term are:
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
- partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS)
- Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND)
- Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD)
My grandchild have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: the most severe form of FASD. FAS can present as physical irregularities and mental deficiencies. Because the physical disabilities are not always easy to see, individuals with FAS often struggle with social, learning, and behavioral problems, without receiving support or compassion from others.
Sensory issues, attention deficit, hyperactivity, and attachment issues also challenge my grandchildren. While an official diagnosis of FAS is difficult, it is the only way to know for sure if an individual has the disorder. Despite their FAS, my grandchildren have many strengths, but need support with everyday tasks like attending school; hygiene; managing money, and socializing. Individuals with FAS are more likely to develop dependency on alcohol or drugs, and invariably have trouble keeping the law.
CHALLENGED HOPE reflects my life as a Grandmother raising Grandchildren with FAS in the city of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Locating services and resources appropriate to their special needs has been an ongoing challenge. So, I began this website with the intention of sharing my struggles while raising grandchildren with mental disabilities, and to provide other caregivers who may be facing similar challenges, with information on appropriate services in the Hamilton area.