Tuesday, January 31, 2012

FASD and Crime

While spending time in Hubby's hospital room, I was able to finish a book, The Fatal Link, by Jody Allen Crowe. In this book, the author made the connection between school shootings and prenatal exposure to alcohol. It was not surprising to me, knowing that more than half of the people with FASD have trouble with the law in one way or another, due to the brain damage sustained prenatally. http://fascenter.samhsa.gov/documents/WYNK_Criminal_Justice5.pdf

Actually, The Fatal Link was kind of a depressing book for me, because I'm trying to raise two kids who struggle in their own ways with fetal alcohol.  I doubt that they will lash out like that, but I do see them struggle with certain things.  I'm hoping that by having a loving, calm, and structured home environment, and by the grace of God, they will succeed.

But the book does stir me even more to warn others not to take a chance with their kids and drink alcohol while pregnant. It breaks my heart to look at the faces and pictures of preschoolers and see the features of fetal alcohol. I think of the needless struggles some of these kids will have to face, the school problems, the behavior problems, the difficulties these kids will have when they try to live as an independent adult and just can't swing it.  I suspect my kids' birthmother is affected. It broke my heart the other day when I saw how much she struggled to understand the rental contract for her new home.  Sometimes the results of FASD are tragic. The other day, a couple of adoptive parents in Oakland were killed by their fifteen year old son.  http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/31/BAFG1N0MR2.DTL Because he was adopted, was in a charter school, and committed such a crime, I'm wondering if the boy had FASD.  I don't know if we'll ever find out for sure, but it would be something that I feel should be looked into. I wonder how many of the crazy crimes that don't make sense are caused by people whose brains that are damaged by alcohol. Is throwing people in jail who have brain damage because of FASD the best our society can do to handle this problem?

I wonder what this world would be like if women wouldn't drink if they were or could get pregnant.  How would it affect our schools, our jails, our social service programs?

I am getting so tired of people minimizing the affect alcohol has on the fetus. I've had social workers flippantly say things like, "Oh yes, most of the kids in the system are affected by drugs and alcohol", like it isn't anything unusual. The school employees, even after being told that my daughter had FAS, said that they wouldn't test her until she was two years behind. And now I'm finding out through Kaiser that she has a low IQ and should have been tested. Did you know that FASD is the leading cause of mental retardation in the US? The schools here don't seem to care.

But enough of this depressing stuff for today. I think I'll have to finish reading Fantastic Antone Succeeds so that I have some more hope for my kids.

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