Adopting a Child Living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

November 21st, 2012

1319861_children_crossingFetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term used to describe a range of effects that can occur in a child whose mother consumed alcohol in the pregnancy. FASD occurs in all economic, racial and religious groups around the world. Not all individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol are necessarily affected. Yet, many have physical, learning, and/or sensory challenges that result in behavioral issues. Although similarities exist, no two individuals are affected the exact same way. It is considered a whole body disorder. It is a lifelong medical diagnosis that the child will not grow out of. Although there is much in the media describing isolated tragedies of living with FASD, there are also many, many stories of hope and success. There are over… [more]

Practice Makes Perfect–at least for school

August 22nd, 2011

first day of school_rToday was the first day of school and after seven years of practice, I think we've almost got it. It's helpful to know your children well enough that you can anticipate their reactions and help them compensate for their weaknesses. I have one in high school, one in junior high and one in elementary school, all with different schedules, start times and finish times. It's a little bit like being in a Paris train station with the destinations, arrival and departure times whipping around the boards continuously. I knew Gavin (10th grade) was going to be very anxious until he actually got to school this morning, so I didn't worry too much about him trying to sleep all day yesterday, or… [more]

FASD: The Failed Child

May 4th, 2011

no drinkingI attended an IEP meeting with my daughter’s Special Education team recently. For over an hour, I listened to her teachers report on her progress. Most of the teachers were apologetic; even with tutoring and extra support, my girl is still just short of passing most of her classes. By academic standards, she is failing. It’s not for lack of trying; she works very hard. It’s not her fault. Quite frankly, the fault rests with her mother. When we adopted Lena at 6 years old, she was living in an orphanage in Kazakhstan, already labeled by the caregivers as a willful, slow child. Lena is almost 14 now. She’s come a long way from the stubborn, withdrawn little girl we brought home…but… [more]

Living with a Child with FAS/FAE

September 16th, 2008
Categories: FAS / FAE

I was talking with a friend today and we were discussing what it is like to live with a child who has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Fetal Alcohol Effects. It is not easy. There are several behavioral issues that are directly associated with fetal alcohol that drive most parents crazy. Even when you understand where these behaviors come from, they are still maddening. Lack of impulse control – Children with fetal alcohol have poor impulse control. If they see something they want, they take it. Before or after the “event” they can tell you what people don’t take things that don’t belong to them and they probably can tell you what the consequences are after the event but in that moment, they cannot control… [more]

Could Lecithin Supplements Help My Fetal Alcohol Effect Child

August 11th, 2008

Talk is all over the Fetal Alcohol Support Groups at Yahoogroups about the positive effects of Choline on the brain. It is especially powerful on the developing brain. The researchers say that when taking during pregnancy it builds an excess memory capacity that seems to endure throughout life. As far as its effects on the older child and adult brain, they say it seems to have the most effect on those tagged as slow learners. This led researcher to question whether the slow learning was actually the result of a Choline deficiency, which the supplement corrected. I don’t know about you, but I am definitely going to the health food store tomorrow to buy some Lecithin for my child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome FAS. Why wouldn’t… [more]

Teaching Your Special Needs Child

August 5th, 2008

Whether you have decided to homeschool your special needs child, utilize public, or private school, you will still need to teach your child. Special needs children require much more practice and reminders to learn than “normal” children do. They take more time to complete their work. They need more assistance than other children do. What that means to the parent is, homework help all evening, every evening. Sometimes it means your child will cry with frustration. You will still be teaching your special needs child long after other children have begun to run their own lives and families. We all know that special needs children can learn. It is just so much harder for them to grasp concepts and to retain the information. Teaching our special… [more]

Will Prescribing Behavior Help My Adopted Daughter

August 3rd, 2008

My 14-year-old adopted daughter seems to be making huge efforts lately to do the exact opposite of whatever I say. She has even taken it to the ridiculous level of not doing things she wants to do that are good. For example, I went through the McDonalds drive thru the other day. As the employee handed me the drinks, I handed them back to the children. Most of them stood up and grabbed their drinks. Most stood up, except for my 14-year-old daughter of course. She refused to take off her seatbelt and stand up and she was in the second to the last bench seat in our 15-passenger van. Therefore, I sat her drink and her meal on the floor of the van between the… [more]

What is a Life Skills Portfolio

July 30th, 2008

When you have a child with special needs who attends public school, you usually negotiate an IEP for your student with the school. The IEP, Individual Education Plan, outlines the special services your child will receive during the school year. For example, some children go to another class for reading, math, and spelling. Some children receive speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy during the school day. Some children even have a one-on-one aid who goes through the school day helping a single student. There are children who have so much difficulty with typical education that the school focuses more on teaching these students life skills. Special education students require additional assistance from teachers and support staff to be successful in school. They may also require… [more]

Once Your Child Starts School Does it Matter How the LD Began

July 27th, 2008

There are special clinics that a parent can take an adopted or foster child to for a Fetal Alcohol evaluation. It takes at least all day and sometimes more than one day for a complete evaluation. This very thorough investigation may include brain images as well as physical and developmental evaluations. The results should conclude whether your child was subjected to alcohol exposure during those critical forming months in the uterus. Many people who have adopted older children have their children evaluated at these clinics. However, I have to wonder, once your child starts school does it really matter how the LD began or what caused it? Once your child has a learning disability (LD) the public school offers services. These services may include special… [more]

Struggles With Impulse Control

July 25th, 2008

Struggling with controlling impulses seems to be a common problem among traumatized children. It doesn’t seem to matter whether that trauma was in utero from drug or alcohol exposure, or inflicted during early life. Our adopted children, with a trauma history, FAS, or RAD, seem to all have struggles with impulse control. Sometimes, it seems like the behavior was intentional. I have often asked my 11-year-old recently adopted daughter if she thought about the consequences of her actions. I have also asked if she would want another person to treat her or her property the same way. She always tells me that she doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions until she is finished. It is only then, that she realizes that she should… [more]