Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is extremely common in children adopted from foster care. After all, it’s generally because of parental use of drugs and alcohol that the child was removed from their care. Still, it’s not uncommon for this factor to be overlooked by adoptive parents and social workers when trying to sort out the roots of a child’s challenging behaviors.


Here are some of the typical signs and symptoms of FASD:


  1. challenges : academic 

                        : adhd

                        : speech/language

                        : information processing

                        : patterning

                        : sequencing


  1.          short/no impulse control


  1.           inability to relate behaviour to consequences


  1.           no sense of connection to societal rules


  1.           poor short term memory


  1.          inconsistent knowledge base


  1.           poor personal boundaries


  1.           confusion under pressure


  1.          difficulty grasping abstract concepts


  1. inability to manage anger


  1. poor judgment


  1. appear to be stubborn


  1. cannot generalize


Some parents are afraid to have their child diagnosed because they fear that if their child is “labelled” with this disorder they will face discrimination or people will react negatively to the child. However, this is not a “label”, it’s a medical diagnosis, and without it, the child will not receive the services she requires to develop to her potential. More importantly, this is crucial information the child needs to have about himself in order to develop the skills that are necessary to succeed with FASD.


If you, the parent, are afraid of this diagnosis or ashamed of it, then you need help to overcome this so that your child can learn to be proud of herself and so that she knows she can turn to you for help when she needs it. It’s much like learning to live with a diagnosis of diabetes – the child or teen needs to know as much about the condition as possible to learn to manage the challenges and to build in the supports and resources he will need as he grows up and becomes independent.


There are many services available for families who are raising children and youth who have this diagnosis, including many available on the Internet. Contact your adoption worker and ask what services are available in your area.


For more information contact Brenda McCreight

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