“Raising a child is like doing a sprint. Raising a child with special needs is like running a marathon. Raising a child with FASD is like running with the bulls”. – Donna Debolt
What is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)?
FASD is a term used to describe a wide range of effects that can occur in an individual who experienced prenatal exposure to alcohol. Alcohol interferes with normal brain growth and as a result the baby is born with significant neurological impairments. These lifelong effects may include physical, mental, behavioural, and learning disabilities.
Primary Disabilities refer to the brain damage that result in impaired mental function.These symptoms reflect the Central Nervous System dysfunctions inherent in the FASD diagnosis, and includes developmental delays, memory problems, sensory deficits, and information processing difficulties.
Secondary Disabilities refer to disabilities that appear later in life as a result of the primary disabilities. The child is not born with these but they often develop as the person ages. Secondary disabilities include mental health problems leading to disrupted school experiences, trouble with the law, inappropriate sexual behaviour, alcohol and drug problems, difficulty holding a job, difficulty handling money, and problems interacting with others. Not surprisingly, secondary disabilities lead children affected by FASD to social and school failure. Early diagnosis, a stable living environment, and a network of supports and services can reduce secondary disabilities and improve the lives of those living with FASD and their caregivers