FASD NorCal - Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in Northern California

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
FASD is emerging as the most common source of life disfunction, and by far the least recognized

  • Occur in between 2 and 5% of the population.
  • Can produce symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, AD/HD, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Learning Disabilities, Reactive Attachment Disorders–and bad parenting–among others.
  • Go almost entirely unrecognized*, as most people with FASD have normal IQ, speech and appearance.  Only a small fraction have the facial features of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
  • Range widely in severity and presentation from mental retardation to mild attention, learning or social problems.  Almost always impair reasoning, planning, judgment and memory.  Frequently cause sensory disturbance.
  • Do not respond to normal parenting/teaching approaches. Without diagnosis and support, parents feel crazy, ashamed and exhausted, as the rest of the world freely offers its criticism and incorrect (and contradictory) remedies to distressing behavior.
  • Cause undiagnosed people with FASD to feel crazy, ashamed and exhausted because they consistently do not meet expectations (including their own) even though they may be trying their very hardest.
  • Fill our jails and prisons, homeless shelters and hospital emergency rooms, chronic welfare caseloads and substance abuse centers.
  • Are particularly common in foster care, where there is additional complication from trauma and neglect.  
  • When recognized and appropriately addressed**, can be managed so that the person’s true gifts have a chance to bloom.
  • ARE–THIS SHOULD GO WITHOUT SAYING–ENTIRELY PREVENTABLE.  Exactly how much alcohol it takes to cause damage depends on a combination of genetics, other substances and life circumstances of the mother.  It is ALWAYS a gamble…not unlike Russian Roulette.  Studies show that impairments can result from very modest drinking.  
  • Women with college educations and incomes over $50K are the most likely to keep drinking even after being counseled to stop.   Their affected children are often diagnosed with complex AD/HD.   Therapeutic residential schools are full of such children.