Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/2/2011 (3180 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Imagine having no common sense. You take your pills today but don't realize you must take them again tomorrow. You break into a house and the cops find you eating chips in front of the TV. Money is an abstract concept, so you give yours away to anyone who asks. When people say "I'll be there in a second" you think they really will.
For many people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, that's what life is like.
"Imagine if you can't learn from the past and you are always in the moment and it's all brand new everyday," said Brenda Bennett, who works with adults who fall through the cracks as the head of FASD Life's Journey. "People are almost constantly in crisis. The chaos is unavoidable."
The trouble with FASD is that every person is dramatically different, depending on when and how much their mother drank and what parts of the brain got damaged. One adult with FASD could have the developmental age of an eight-year-old, with trouble reading, making friends and telling right from wrong. Others with less severe FASD can lead totally normal lives.
To be diagnosed with FASD, you must have deficits in three of the following brain domains. In most cases, you also need confirmation that your mother drank.
Ability to keep up with grade level reading, writing and math skills.
Ability to navigate daily life, communicate effectively, make and keep friends, respond to social cues and cope with change.
A big one — the ability to set a realistic goal, get organized and achieve it. Also, the ability to look ahead and see the consequences of your actions or take a lesson learned in one situation and apply it elsewhere.
Ability to speak and use grammar and proper sentence structure and put thoughts and feelings into words.
Ability to remember and retrieve short and long term information.
Brain Structure/Motor skills
Ability to use and coordinate large and fine muscles.
Ability to process, filter and make sense of all the information being thrown at your five senses.
Thinking ability, especially abstract thinking.
Ability to stay focused for a sustained period, or return to a task when distracted.