Recently it was FASD awareness day, a day to raise awareness against FASD. It is a time when parents and people diagnosed with FASD share their stories. In a recent Northern Echo article, Clare Devanney discusses her three adopted children who have been diagnosed with an FASD. She stated that FASD can be a hard diagnosis to uncover, and even called it the “invisible diagnosis,” as usually no one can tell from the outward appearance if someone has FASD. While Clare’s children have the diagnosis now, she wishes she had been more proactive and received the diagnosis earlier, as it would have helped in her children’s schooling.
Children also are speaking out for FASD awareness day to increase understanding. Sixteen-year-old Amanda was recently diagnosed with FASD and decided to become an expert about the disorder so she can spread the word. Amanda stated that FASD affects her impulses but called her parents “her external brain” that helps her make appropriate choices.
Amanda stated, “it’s a bit frustrating, but also there’s the moms who don’t know they’re pregnant, and they drink, and there’s moms who are already addicted and can’t stop right like that”
On top of impulse control, as with Amanda, FASD can also have additional impacts, such as vision, speech delays, and inappropriate social behavior.
The one clear thing to prevent FASD is not to drink during pregnancy. Clare also is a large advocate for getting a clear diagnosis. There are possibly thousands of children who are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed and the schools are just viewing their behaviors as inappropriate and uncooperative.
Clare states it best: “Education really is key. There is lots of conflicting advice out there, but I don’t believe any mother, if faced with a list of the physical and mental problems FASD can cause, would be willing to take that risk in a nine-month period”.