Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder; the Invisible Disability!
We typically acknowledge that life creates challenges for people with mobility impairments or visible developmental disabilities, but what about people who live with an invisible brain difference such as FASD?
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a term used to describe the range of damage that alcohol can cause to an unborn baby. FASD can best be described as a brain based disability with behavioural symptoms. The invisibility of FASD can be attributed the fact that people with FASD look the same as everyone else and come across as more capable than they actually are. This creates expectations for the person to perform and behave at a level that is beyond their ability.
Often the biggest challenge people with FASD face is that family, community, and professionals fail to recognize the extent of the disability. Children with FASD are continuously being told they could, “do better if they just tried harder” says Jenny McLeod, FASD Key Worker for the Campbell River/Gold River region . For these children, the emotional consequences of knowing that they are not living up to others’ expectations is often, “more crippling then the disability itself” emphasized McLeod. We often refer to people with disabilities as having, “special needs,” when in reality we all have the same needs, “to be loved and accepted for who we are” added McLeod. People with FASD have many personal strengths and the best strategy for success it to focus on these strengths!
If you or your community group would like to learn more about FASD contact Jenny McLeod, FASD Key Worker, Campbell River and District Association for Community Living. 250-286-0391