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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

The Tricky Effects of FAS

thFetal Alcohol Syndrome, yes, that disease that comes from birth mothers drinking and is passed on to the in utero baby.  It may cause a variety of symptoms and characteristics in the areas of physical, mental, or emotional damage, occasionally all three presenting, more often than not, it’s less than totally across-the-board.

Physical symptoms are the easiest to spot, whether an undeverdeveloped philtrim (the notch above the upper lip), small eyes or head, stunted height or weight, a hole in the heart, a damaged liver or webbed fingers and toes.  These give adoptive parents a heads-up that something is not right.  Yet, it may only be physical.  Usually, that’s wishful thinking.

The mental damage is what concerns most of us, ranging from mental retardation to a sliding scale of Michael_FAS_2005other impairments.  Frequently, FAS kids have difficulties with time and money concepts, or abstract thinking.  It’s been likened to a swiss-cheese brain where certain concepts are here today, and gone tomorrow… then they might reappear two weeks from now.  Or might not.

The emotional challenges are the sneaky ones.  Is it toddler, preteen, or teen (can anyone add “young adult”?) rebellion, or is it FAS?  Are the kids up and down and all around emotionally due to the pressures of life, or are they simply out of control because they cannot control themselves?

Now the idea of being out of control is an interesting one.  It could easily lead to jail time. 

AnnaMarie-2-300x253“Sorry, Officer, I can’t drive the speed limit.  I have FAS.”

“Why did I punch out the store clerk?  He wasn’t willing to serve me ahead of the other customers!”

“Drugs in the home?  They were free, it’s not like I was buying drugs….”

The phrase “Just say no” pops to mind, if only it were that easy. 

What’s affected in your child’s body, mind, and/or emotions is a tricky diagnosis, one that I’m not entirely sure onlookers nor professionals can get 100% accurate.  Yet, whatever insights one might gain would be beneficial because FAS is not all that straightforward.


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