.. ning alcohol and drug treatment, staying in recovery and resolving complex issues that might have risen during within the context of their substance abuse; (2) to assure that the children are in a safe home with these mothers and are receiving proper health care; (3) to link these mothers to community resources for the professional services and education that will help learn and maintain a healthy independent family life; (4) to demonstrate to community services that positive work is being done to further the prevention of future births of FAS. Typical mothers that are enrolled in this program are characterized by poverty, upbringing by substance abusing parents, child abuse, abusive adult relationships, and trouble with the law to name a few. Notably, there have been no turnover among the paraprofessional staff for over five years in a field which is known for hate rates of burnouts among personnel. I found this letter in a publication, this shows the tremendous difference between a client with limited mental abilities and a client with FAS: June 14, 1999 To: President and Hillary Clinton, Twenty three years ago a young woman who was pregnant was abandoned by her husband.
She had no job, no money, no health insurance and no family. Alone, she turned to alcohol for comfort. Eventually, she returned to school. Got some good training and got a good job but all the good things came too late for the child she was carrying during the time she was relying on alcohol. This child was born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
Being a single parent, this mom was not able to take proper care of a child who never slept and was constantly ill. Eventually she was forced to place the child in an institution for the mentally retarded. Fortunately, for the child in this story, a friend at the institution told me about the new child at the school and asked for my assistance. I had worked with hundreds of delayed children and was confident that I could help this child gain the skills necessary to live with her family again. I was naive.
I had not met FAS head on before. I had had wonderful success teaching children with other forms of mental retardation to dress, eat and use the bathroom appropriately. This time it did not work the way I thought it would. Sixteen years ago when this child came to live with us I really thought I knew the answers. I now know that FAS is different the answers are different.
She has learned many good and wonderful things. She still cannot dress, eat and use the bathroom appropriately for her age. The brain damage caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol damages the brain’s ability to communicate within itself. This young woman has no appropriate sense of hot or cold. If she looks at a thermometer outdoors, she can read the temperature but cannot reason out what type of clothes she is to wear in hot weather or cold.
She needs constant guidance to make it from day to day without placing herself at risk. Despite all that some of us have learned about FAS, we still find that most teachers and school personnel do not recognize that this disability is different from other forms of mental retardation. Despite all that has been written about FAS, we find that more women are drinking while pregnant than there were in 1992. Despite all the research by the medical profession, we find that many, many doctors still cannot recognize FAS in their patients. Despite the efforts made by social workers, therapists, and schools, we are finding that approximately 40% of those in our state prisons are disabled by prenatal exposure to alcohol. I cannot condemn the ignorance of others as I was once ignorant myself. However I cannot see a healthy outcome for our country if we continue in this mass ignorance.
I am asking you to lend us your support in turning the tide of ignorance concerning this disability. Sincerely, Delinda L. McCann MA I found this quiz in a magazine, it is interesting to know what you dont really know about FAS. Do not feel intimidated by this test. Its purpose is to spread the knowledge of FAS.
Most of the people who took and will take this test do and will not score about a 50. 1) What is the leading known cause of mental retardation in western civilization today? a. Down Syndrome b. FAS c. FAE d.
Cerebral Palsy e. Spina Bifida 2) What percentage of women of child-bearing age drink alcohol (many before they realize that they are pregnant)? a. 10% b. 20% c. 35% d. 50% e.
75% 3) What percentage of persons with FAS/FAE attain independence in living and in employment? a. 10% b. 18% c. 35% d. 53% e.
67% 4) Which of the following alcoholic beverages contains the greatest amount of alcohol? a. A 12 oz. can of beer. b. A 5oz glass of wine.
c. One shot of liquor. d. A 12oz. wine cooler.
e. All of the above. 5) What is the most debilitating aspect of prenatal alcohol exposure? a. Memory deficits. b. Growth retardation c.
Lack of impulse control d. Mental retardation with IQ below 70 e. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) 6) How much does it cost each year to treat infants, children and adults with FAS? a. Almost $1,000,000.00 b. Almost $2,000,000.00 c. Almost $100,000,000.00 d.
Almost $2,000,000,000.00 e. Almost nothing, as expenses are incurred by private insurance. 7) Which of the following women are at high risks for drinking during pregnancy? a. Women with a college education. b.
Unmarried women. c. Female students. d. Women in households with > $50,000 annual income. e.
All of the above 8) Of the following secondary disabilities associated with FAS/FAE, which one is the most common? a. Mental illness b. Trouble in school. c. Trouble with the law. d. Abuse of alcohol and/or other drugs.
e. Sexuality problems. 9) Which of the following are protective factors for preventing secondary disabilities in FAS/FAE? a. IQ below 70. b.
Early diagnosis. c. Eligibility for disability services. d. Stable home environment e. All of the above.
10) In which of the following ways does alcohol affect a mans ability to father healthy children? a. Lowered levels of testosterone that interfere with sexual performance. b. Reduced mobility of healthy sperm at time of infection. c.
Increased risk of inherited tendency toward alcoholism. d. Possible adverse effects on DNA in sperm before conception. e. All of the above. The answers to this quiz will follow at the end of this paper.
Patterns of alcohol use are changing with the changing times of today, with more and more teenagers consuming alcohol on a regular basis. This is a growing concern as research shows that, in recent years, regular alcohol consumption has increased alarmingly among the female population; particularly among younger women and teenage girls. Due to this vast rise in alcohol consumption it is societies burden to put forth evidence and proof about the dangers of alcohol consumption among women during their child-bearing years. In order for society to accomplish this, three things must happen: 1) Local education staff should implement the teachings of the dangers that alcohol can cause not only normal consumption but while pregnant as well. 2) Pamphlets should be regularly handed out among young women and teens, in hospital waiting rooms, family planning clinics, schools, by the parents, dealing with the adverse effects of alcohol.
3) Government officials should affix warning labels on alcohol so they can be seen clearly . They should be similar to those that are placed on cigarettes. The most salient point that can be made about alcohol induced fetal damage is that it is 100% totally preventable, we can only hope that education of this subject, on the part of both prospective parents, will control the increasing problem. It is astonishing to know that this information has been readily available for such a long time and no one seems to worry about it. If we could effectively foster the simple fact that mothering from conception is direct mothering, and therefore everything that the mother consumes during pregnancy the fetus consumes as well, some of these tragedies could be more easily be avoided. Answers to the quiz above are as follows: 1.
B 2. D 3. B 4. E 5. A 6.
B 7. D 8. A 9. A 10. E.