Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a brain-based disability. Although you, as a parent, never want your child to have a disability, digging your head in the sand will do more harm then good. As parents, the most important gift you can give your child is to advocate for them. This means that if you wonder if they have FASD, then you must explore further.
Who to turn to? Parents are saying that their doctors and teachers are not always the best resources for finding out if your child has FASD. But it is the first place to start. You can also seek out a Neuropsychologist who specializes in FASD. There are plenty of resources in this newsletter to help you research and advocate.
Since FASD is a brain-based disability, your parenting discipline will have to look different. You cannot discipline away a disability. First step is to learn as much as you can about what FASD is and how your child struggles because of it. Next your parenting discipline paradigm must shift to meet your child where they are. You do not have to tackle this alone as again, there are professionals who and resources that can help you on your FASD parenting journey.
One terrible but common story families tell themselves pre-FASD diagnoses, is “we thought we were doing something wrong. All of our child’s problems must somehow be our fault.” It is so easy to take your child’s struggles and limitations personally. But remember FASD is an invisible disability. That doesn’t make it any less real. And the best parenting techniques requires you to take your ego out of the equation and focus on your child’s authentic needs.
Last bit of wisdom parents want you to know is that you have to grieve to move on. No one ever asked for a child with a disability. But to deny that your child has FASD is harmful to them and you. You have to grieve the loss of the child you imagined you would have or think you have. There is loss. Once you really move through your grief, which includes feeling sad and takes time, you can actually celebrate the child you have. It’s not simple or easy, but it works.
Oh, and remember there are lots of parents like you out there. You are not alone. Join us!