Hello World,

 I am one voice, but I represent many voices with the same heart beat. Children are born daily with FASD and little help is out there for these kids. Many parents that are raising children with FASD are frustrated because they cannot get a diagnosis for their child. Genetics clinics diagnose based on facial characteristics and a baby will only have these characteristics if the mom drinks during a two to three day time period that the face is forming.

 The rest of the pregnancy, when ever a mom drinks, her baby is drinking with her. The baby does not have the ability to detox the alcohol out of it’s system like the mom does, so basically the baby’s brain is pickled in alcohol for that time period.

 Critical brain cells are forming daily that make up every aspect of the brain. While the baby is pickled in alcohol, not only are these cells not forming that should  be, but others that were formed are dying.

 So when that child is born, we will see what is noted as “Swiss Cheese Brain”.  The brain is part of our guts when we are forming and at some point our brain and guts separate, so that is why a brain looks much like a gut in side the head. Babies with FASD will have holes in areas all through out the brain, depending on what parts were forming when the mom picked up that drink.

The brain with holes in it, collapses down on itself and is smaller. The electrical impulses that are meant to go across the brain, have to weave themselves a fresh pattern to make it. Then we will see children who can’t function properly because they literally have brain damage. You don’t grow out of brain damage. It does not change. These kids suffer their whole lives with a host of malfunctions and cognitive delays in many areas. They will often get diagnosed with many secondary mental illnesses, but the main cause is brain damage due to fetal alcohol exposure in utero.

 Mothers are very often not aware of what damage can be happening to their child, as there is a great lack of education in our country about this. There is a huge stigma attached to this problem. How many parents are struggling with their kids issues and don’t realize that it is because they drank while they were pregnant?  Do we condemn these moms? NOT AT ALL! This is a social problem that we are not addressing in our country. The word isn’t getting out there. People are not aware of the seriousness of it and how damaging it can be to a child to drink while pregnant. Often mom’s don’t even know that they are pregnant before it is too late. So no we don’t condemn mom’s who have drank. They need help though. They need help with their children. There is nothing more difficult then raising a child with this disability.  Parents need support. They need clinics and doctors that can diagnose. Treatments cannot fix brain damage but can help some of the symptoms.

 These children are often labeled as troubled, behavior problems, etc. They struggle in school. They often can go into adulthood unable to even care for themselves. Often they need an exterior brain to help them get by in life. They have problems with time management, money management, anger management, impulse control, stealing, lying, and so much more. These kids almost always have ADHD, but not that alone, but coupled with a complex variety of mood disorders, ODD, etc. Teachers struggle in school with these kids and often blame parents for not disciplining their children properly, when in fact, these children may often come from great homes, but have brain damage that affects their behavior.

 We are conditioned to think that if someone lies or steals, they are criminals. These kids lie and steal because they don’t have impulse control. They don’t often have understanding of what belongs to whom. They are brain damaged in the area of the conscience. Isn’t that scary? How can we look at these kids and think they are criminals? However the justice system does and often these are the kids in jail.  Wow is that sad. They could have had a chance if their mom had not drank and their mom could have had a chance not to drink if our country would have put a commercial on TV about this danger. We can’t keep ignoring this. It is a huge problem. More people are affected then we know. Many kids are not even getting a chance.

Well I have two children that have FASD and they are getting a chance. We are fighting for them all the way. Our story will be revealed through my blog. I hope that through my blog, others will get educated, and maybe some babies will be saved. Maybe some children will get help. Maybe some doctors will learn about this disorder and study it. Maybe clinics will pop up all over that can diagnose and treat this.  Maybe some parents will get the support that they need. Maybe some children will get help in school that they need. Maybe some adult persons with FASD, will have support into their future.  Some of these kids are in desperate straights. We can’t continue to shovel this under a bush and pretend that it does not exist. 

I have a yahoo group that supports parents who are raising kids with FASD. You are all welcome to join:

http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ParentingFASDKids/

I am also in the process of putting up a website with information about FASD. With that, there will be a link to the beginnings of my book “Raising Hearts” which is only in the foundation stages. I am going to be sharing it publically though. I have a desire to share all the God has done through our miracle family. It is only because of Him, that we can do anything.

Talk to you all soon. Terry Quinn

kidznlildogz@aol.com

Comments
  1. Ali says:

    Hi Terry,

    I am a student at Wichita State University getting my Bacholors degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders. I am currently in Genetics doing a project on FAS. I really enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to other things you and/or others may post. I am not a parent of a child with FASD, however, I am very interested in advocating for children with FASD. While doing my project and reading your post I know some of the devestating effects drinking while pregnant can have on individuals. I recently read a research article as well as seeing things on the news about whether or not it should become a law that women cannot drink while pregnant. What are your feelings towards that, if you don’t mind?

    • I think it would be a very difficult law to uphold. I also think that if our country spent more on education and diagnosis for kids with FASD, then less birth mothers would be drinking. I don’t really think that alot of people are as aware of just how serious FASD is or can be. People get the message that one drink won’t hurt and they use that as an excuse.
      That message should not be out there. Doctors need to realize that there is no safe amount of alcohol for a pregnant mom to drink.
      So if we just arrested drinking mom’s, then we might cause rebellion, but if we educate, put commercials on TV, teach doctors what to teach birth mothers, etc. I think it would go a whole lot further.
      THen if FASD becomse more publicly known like Autism has, then more people would be aware. If kids could get diagnosis easier and more services and help, then more people would be aware. Awareness is just way too low in our country.
      I hope that helps answer your question. You can email me at kidznlildogz@aol.com if you want to talk further. God Bless, Terry Quinn

  2. Ali says:

    Terry,

    Thank you so much for your though-provoking response. I agree that the lack of education and awareness of FASD is a leading cause of it occuring so frequently. It is truly scary to think that there are doctors out there telling pregnany women that little amounts of alcohol are “okay” to drink while pregnant! Another study I read was about how bars were putting their servers through training to simply help educate women that came in and requested an alocholic drink about the affects drinking can have on their unborn child. I think this is a possible first step in educating people, however, that is if servers feel that is there place to do so.

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