“You are 12 years old you should know better!” “He just refuses to do his work.” “She just sits there and stares at me thinking she is going to get away with it.”
This is what the world so often sees or at least how others decide to look at it. It is so frustrating as the parent of the child who is dealing with these messages…just imagine how hard it is on the person getting these messages, often on a daily basis. There are many people out there trying very hard to educate people on the reality of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). The problem is that even when people hear our messages they don’t “get it”. I don’t know how many times people have shared stories where they have spent hours, days, weeks talking to their childs teachers, friends, etc. only to hear again the message of if only this person would just try harder or figure it out. It is times like these where you wonder whose brain has been damaged. Our children and adults who are dealing with FASD in their lives struggle constantly to feel okay about themselves. They know that they are “different”. They begin to internalize these messages, the ones they give themselves and the ones that the world gives them.
We lose every year so many of our special FASD people…so many due to suicide, depression, a world that does not understand them. The message I want everyone to hear is that all of our brains work differently. None of us is the same. When a brain has been affected by alcohol and drugs prenatally it does work differently. This does not have to always be negative but honestly it is a change that makes our world harder for these people. Our world moves very fast and it doesn’t take kindly to people who need it to slow down. FASD brains need a bit more time, a bit less stress and some understanding. They need the external brain helping them to understand and process. This external brain needs to have their best interests at heart.
Unlike so many other birth defects FASD is often invisible to the naked eye. In a society where no one seems to believe it unless they can see it this makes it that much harder to achieve any sort of understanding. We cannot remain invisible. The louder we are some day we will be noticed. I guess if for nothing else than our big mouths….