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Great article on FAS!!

This was posted on FASlink so I thought I would post it on here. Very informative and from what I know about FAS, personally, and from the research I have done, this is very well written and accurate. So many people do not understand FAS. I just had to put this on here for others to read. 

The term Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder [FASD] embraces Fetal
Alcohol Syndrome [FAS], Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Alcohol
Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder [ARND].
The absence of the FAS facial features does not exclude the diagnosis of
brain damage from prenatal exposure to alcohol. Only 10% of those
afflicted will have the facial features. Only 15% will have an IQ below 70.
85% will have a normal range IQ or higher than average IQ. However, all
those afflicted with FASD have a low Adaptive Quotient as measured by
tests such as the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales.
Those afflicted with FASD demonstrate primary and secondary disabilities
to varying degrees depending on the quantity of alcohol taken, the
manner it is drunk eg binge drinking, the time in the pregnancy and the
health and nutrition of the mother.
Primary disabilities are the inevitable consequences of prenatal exposure
to alcohol.
-Impaired spacial learning
-confabulation – often interpreted as lying
-attention disorders, easily distracted and perseveration –
perseveration/transition problems
-sensory problems- self mutilation
-impaired executive functioning i.e forming, planning and achieving goal
directed task
-learning disabilities
-low I.Q. [15% only ]]
-comorbid psychiatric illnesses [previously considered to be a secondary
-memory problems, short term memory for verbal and visual recall. [
when the verbal processing is good and visual poor it is known as a nonverbal
learning disability ]
These primary disabilities lead –
-to difficulty communicating-giving and receiving information
-takes everything literally – concrete thinking
-problems with planning and organizing
-impulsiveness, poor judgment, easily lead
-failure to learn from experience
-difficulty with abstractions, idioms, humor, sarcasm
-difficulty relating cause and effect, anticipating consequences
-difficulty appreciating others point of view
-problems expressing remorse or taking responsibility for behavior –
-bowel and micturition control problems
FASD is not just a central nervous condition. It also effects the peripheral
nervous system. Those afflicted with FASD have sensory abnormalities.
They may be over sensitive or under sensitive. Under sensory means
that they are less sensitive to external stimuli. They are less sensitive to
cold or physical pain. They have a need for sensory stimulation resulting
in inappropriate hugging and touching. Repetitive scratching, pulling hair
out, and more severe kinds of self mutilation [often interpreted as OCD
or attention seeking] provides comfort, especially in times of stress, that
others obtain from more normal sensory stimulation.
It is my observation that those with FASD exist in two states, 1 -a mind of chaotic,
uncontrolled and uncomfortable thoughts, usually described as being bored. and 2- a mind
perseverating [ super focussed ], with or without physical activity.
They seek the second to escape the first.
What they perseverate on is determined by their particular set of cognitive, emotional,
information processing, memory, expressive and sensory disabilities; as well as their early
childhood experience and their immediate environment, including how others relate to them.
What they may perseverate on to soothe themselves extends from cutting, provoking
others, to more acceptable behaviors, such as playing video games, reading and sports.
Alcohol and hard drugs are used to obliterate the 1st state of mind. Those with FASD can
often stop using them providing they have an alternative focus of perseveration.
This is not true of Marijuana and Tobacco, which generally appear to have a specific action
that reduces their multiple chaotic thoughts and allows them to focus on one process.
The ?medicinal? use of pot is lost if it is used to excess, in which case it assumes the harmful
role of other street drugs.
Barry Stanley
May, 2009.


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