Time to wake up from our happy haze of denial around prenatal alcohol exposure! Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders affect around 5% of us, but it's almost never considered. Symptoms look like AD/HD, learning disabilities, trouble with memory and judgment--general problems "doing life". A team of us started a diagnostic clinic ten years ago in the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (county hospital). Most of the kids we saw were adopted or in foster care or under grandparents' care--the moms were in bad enough shape that they had to relinquish their kiddos.
In this county, as in San Luis Obispo (much research, similar demographic), lots of women drink, they manage their lives pretty well, and some of their kids have AD/HD or chronic behavior problems. They may go to private schools, even residential schools, and with fetal alcohol exposure do not go on to successful independent lives.
80% of people with FASD do not manage to live entirely independently. They are expensive, either for the state or for the family.
And it isn't their fault.
With early identification and support, people with the brain damage of FASD can live successful lives--but not if their behavior is only seen through the lens of purposeful action, leading to punishment, shame and anger all around.
And with prevention? GONE.
But here in my beloved Sonoma awareness is scarce. Join with me to fix that.