I talked last time about a friends husband who has been diagnosed with FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) as an adult. He has had to struggle through accepting himself and his diagnosis. He has shared that while he has always known he was different it is hard to realize that he was right and that he now feels as though he is “damaged”. This is the one thing that no one wants to feel and I know as a mom that I never want my children to feel that way. I want to share an essay that this man wrote when he went back to school after being diagnosed. I feel like this essay shows very much the way he felt and is very insightful.
A war can also happen within oneself. The struggles that some people face everyday are like little wars. After awhile they take their toll. With the various physical and mental handicaps that a lot of us face, it makes it hard to do everyday activities. Some people have missing limbs, cannot see or hear; still others cannot speak and have no way to communicate their thoughts at all. Some of us have problems that started before we were born. These problems have and will affect us for the rest of our lives. Medical science is making great strides with the making of prosthetics and robotics. It is not perfect as of yet but someday we will not have to worry about how to replace limbs anymore. Some people struggle with impaired vision or total blindness. Their help comes in three forms. The first of which are canes that they carry so they can tap things in front of them so they do not run into things or fall. Some have a special dog or in some cases a person to help them see and avoid danger that they cannot see. In the nineteenth century a man named Braille developed a language that uses a series of raised dots so that the blind would be able to read. Many classic books have been written in Braille. You can also find Braille writing in office buildings, hospitals, and other major buildings.
For those who cannot hear it is a little tougher. They cannot hear what is going on around them, so we have tried to develop signs to help point them in the right direction. Sign language (a system of hand gestures) was developed to help them communicate because many deaf people are born this way and cannot speak. This language has been made universal so that no matter what country you are from it is not hard to understand.
Some people have the inability to communicate because of damage done to them before they were born. The fact that some women do drugs or alcohol while pregnant is beyond my comprehension. In doing so they do irreversible brain damage and make their premature babies addicts as well. With the brain damage this causes it makes it virtually impossible for these children’s thoughts of emotions to be understood.
For many of us we have a different problem due to our mother’s addictions and our disability is invisible. We are the victims of alcohol abuse before we were born. We have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (which includes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder).
This makes it so we have a slow functioning brains with the inability to process information the first, second or third time it is explained to us. A normal “neuro-typical” person can hear information, store it and remember it. For example, think of your brain as a file cabinet. If someone talks to another “normal” person about trucks, they can store that information in the third drawer, green folder. When they see that person again and start talking about trucks they go to the third drawer, green folder to retrieve the information.
Someone with FAS can get the same information and they just open a drawer and throw the information in. The next time they see the person and talk about trucks (they know that they have talked about it before) but cannot remember details. Now three days later they see the same person again, and talk about trucks, they are able to find the information with no problems. It just depends on the time and place as to whether or not they can remember the information or “find it” in their brain.
In class I am the one who asks the same question over and over and everyone sees me raise my hand and they think “oh, God, he’s going to ask the same question again,” and then roll their eyes. I know you are rolling your eyes because I am asking the question again. Now put yourself in my shoes. I know I am asking the question that everyone gets and I STILL don’t get it. Imagine how I FEEL knowing I am the only one in the class that doesn’t get it and hasn’t caught onto it yet. This is my life everyday and I KNOW I am different and can do nothing about it. I have my birth mom to thank for this. She CHOSE to drink while she was pregnant with me and I have permanent BRAIN DAMAGE from this. Instead of rolling your eyes at me, maybe you could offer to help me and think of ways that might help me to learn it so that we can move on in class. I would appreciate the help, after all, this is NOT my fault that I am this way.
This took this man a lot to get out. His wife helped him to put these thoughts on paper. I admire him that when asked to write an essay on war this is what he came up with . For him he is constantly living a war within. He feels that he is not accepted in his classes or at work or at times in society at all. I hope some day he will feel at peace with himself and that this will allow him to share his story more as I feel he has a lot to offer to others. It does make me realize that we have all judged people without knowing their full stories.