|Parents :: Introduction
The daily challenges of parenting can seem almost insurmountable when FASD is added to the equation.
Regardless of whether you are a biological, foster, or adoptive parent, your needs are similar:
- to provide the best environment for your child.
- to redefine what “normal” is for your household.
- to take care of yourself—a difficult task when you see your time evaporate each day.
Providing the best environment for your child includes creating a stable, predictable home environment, as well as advocating for your child in the community. These are tall orders, but the tools provided here can help you do both. Browsing the sections for teachers, social service workers and clinicians can give you additional tips as well.
Redefining “normal” means coming to grips with your child’s strengths and weaknesses, altering your expectations and grieving for losses. Losses include those that were imposed on your child, as well as your family’s losses in freedom, flexibility or finances.
When your child has such great needs, it’s easy to neglect your own needs. But if you’re at your wits’ end, everything around you—including your child—may spiral into a “meltdown.” Respite care, a support group, and family counseling are all part of taking care of YOU.
What’s Wrong with My Child?
Knowing what is damaged inside your child and how it affects his or her actions or learning can help bring a small sense of closure to a piece of your life. When a birth mother drinks during pregnancy, the baby does, too. But the baby can’t clear alcohol out of its system as quickly as the mother can. So the baby gets a “double whammy:”
- a large amount of alcohol relative to the baby’s mass, and
- prolonged exposure.
This damages the baby’s body. Certain brain structures are more susceptible to damage than others. Pause your mouse over the different brain structures in the menu to learn how damage to that area can affect your child.
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Damage to these areas causes central nervous system dysfunction. This organic damage causes the wide-ranging physical, developmental, and behavioral problems typically seen in a child with FASD.
Services That a Child May Need
When seeking help for your child, you should provide as much information as you can. Documents that will help the physician or other service provider make an accurate diagnosis are listed here.
Children with FASD typically need a wide variety of services. Click on each of these to see a description:
Refrain from Premature Conclusions
You may hear negative reports about the abilities and potential of children with FASD. Remember that your child’s future is an unwritten book—one in which you are a major contributing author. You can—and will—make an everlasting difference in your child’s life.