This weekend I was asked where my husband works. I told them that he was stay-at-home daddy and had been since we adopted my special needs son. They asked what his needs were and I told them that he had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. They looked puzzled and asked what that was. I explained that his mother had drank alcohol during pregnancy and he had pre-natal brain damage, I told them that he missing most of his corpus collosum. They said, "Does it still affect him?"
Bwahahahahaha! I nearly spit out my soda. Uh, yah. I explained he is moderately mentally handicapped, takes some heavy psychotropic drugs, has major behavioral issues and is highly impulsive can not be left unsupervised. They replied, "I've never heard of this disability."
It took me a minute to catch my breath. I don't blame this person. They seem to be a fairly well educated and well-rounded person. They are articulate and pleasant. They had not heard that drinking during pregnancy could cause lasting damage.
That scares me.
While reading blogs every once in awhile I come across a post about something that person is fired up about. Maybe it's autism or infertility or a genetic disorder. They always comment about how people are sorely lacking the information that will make their issue come to the forefront of people's consciousness. This is that post for me. . .
How can we as a country allow this to continue? This is the only birth defect that is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT preventable. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome would not exist if women did not drink during pregnancy. FASD occurs in about 10 or every1,000 live births or 40,000 children per year. FASD is now more prevalent than Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy combined. That is a sad thing. Many of these children will go undetected and many more will end up in our justice system. They will be lifetime offenders due to the inability to control their impulses. Many will be institutionalized because they lack even the most essential skills for living on their own. They will be lost in a world of mental health care and pharmaceuticals. Some will go on to be productive members of society and will learn coping techniques, but all of these situations could have been completely avoided if that liquor never passed the mother's lips and altered their developing brain.
So what can you do? Link to this post from your blog. If you don't want to link here, link to NOFAS, the National Organization on fetal Alcohol Syndrome or MOFAS, Minnesota's Organization, I tend to like their website more. Next time you are at a party or a family gathering tell them one of my stories, or Claudia's, or Kari's, or Barb's, Torina's, or Linda's or better yet, Cindy's. Tell them about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, tell them it is 100 % preventable. Until we get the word out, there will be those who have no idea and their will be children born with serious repercussions. Please do not let this disability affect your family or your friends. Make sure these kids have fighting chance to lead a "typical" life.
On a personal note Dustin is struggling. He is angry and moody. This is typically a very difficult time of the year for him, but his anger is really growing. I am hoping it is simply a product of hormones since he is 13, but I am frightened that we are turning a corner and he needs a med change. I am not going there just yet, as I am hoping it is seasonal or an "anniversary" of sorts. We are attempting to kill him with kindness and patience, but it is really hard. Yesterday he ran out the house (into the fenced backyard which is progress) and he stayed in the playhouse for an hour refusing to come inside. The only thing that got him in was a phone call from Maizie and a really large storm approaching. He is obsessed with asking, "What will happen if I die?" and "Will you be sad if someone takes me?" and "Will the kids miss me when I am gone?" So I tend to think we are dealing with anniversary of removal issues. We are giving him plenty of one on one time and I hope this helps. We seems to get really good days now and then, so there is always hope. Keep us in your thoughts as it is really difficult right now.
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