Let’s Talk Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

Guest post by Kate, Events Calendar Editor

There are few issues that cause me to get out my soap box.  There is one that hits so close to home that it is hard to put the soap box away, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  There are more studies results than a person could ever read.  There is enough data to make your head spin.  The most compelling evidence I have to back my statement is my son, Nick.  I challenge anyone that thinks it is acceptable to drink in moderation, or at all, during pregnancy to spend some time with Nick.

They would experience, first-hand, the effect that alcohol has on a child.  From day to day difficulties to lifelong struggles.  Nick was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder around the age of one and his challenges have grown with him.    One of the first major issues we had was dysphagia. Nick was unable to swallow liquids without the possibility of it going into his lung and causing an infection.  We had to thicken his formula and watch everything he ate.  At 18 months old Nick was still not walking.  It was by chance that a neurologist caught the over pronation and low muscle tone that kept him from being able to support himself.  He finally started walking at 20 months, after being custom fitted with ankle braces.  He still wears the braces.  He started therapy (physical, occupational, speech and a group session with all 4 of them) around the same time he was diagnosed.  He attended 4 sessions weekly for about a year and a half.

I have briefly touched on the issues that Nick experienced in the first two years of his life.  This is nothing compared to the struggles he will have as he grows.  He needs to be reminded every day, several times a day, that it is not okay to spill his chocolate milk on the carpet.  He has sleep issues that will always plague him.  He can memorize abstract ideas, the alphabet and numbers, but never really understand.  So while the advice is all over the board, the bottom line is it never okay to drink, not one single drop, while you are or may be pregnant.

English: Baby with the FAS-syndrome. Deutsch: ...