Friday, November 25, 2011

Reflection 2

Parents of children with FASD face many challenges. The effects of alcohol on the family is far reaching and includes the child, the family, the school and school district, the community, the state and even farther. The effects this disorder can have on the family can be personal, psychological, and financial or all of the above. On a personal level the parents of a child with FASD must admit that they can’t change the past but they can make the future brighter for their child. They can make a decision to learn as much as possible about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum. They can find a physician who is fully informed about the condition so to obtain an accurate diagnosis. They can learn about possible treatments for FASD. Making these choices can give them the knowledge they need to feel more confident that they are making the right decisions for their child.

Parents through counseling will come to understand that holding on to their fear, grief, guilt, shame and anger will not help them help their children. With the overwhelming feelings of guilt the first step is to forgive themselves and with society sitting on the sidelines acting as judge and the jury this is often difficult. Parents must put aside their feelings in order to become advocates for their children. Families often feel isolated when coping with a child with FASD which makes finding emotional support for themselves very important. Finding another family or support group who shares their challenges would provide a place to talk about their feelings and exchange information, a place to de-stress and encourage each other.

Every year, about 40,000 babies are born with symptoms of prenatal alcohol exposure. Many children need special education services, and very few are able to live alone as adults. Some become involved in criminal activity and find themselves in jail/prison. In the three decades since fetal alcohol syndrome or FAS was first identified, billions of dollars have been spent caring for those affected. The lifetime cost of each child born with FAS has been estimated at $5 million and the total annual cost of FAS to the Nation has been estimated at $4 billion per year. The budgetary impact of this condition is not just on governments, but rather on all of society and is much more than just in dollars and cents.

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