One of the things that we value in society is the truth. We want to know when we ask someone a question that we will get an honest answer. This is why the confabulation that is so common in in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) becomes such an issue for most families. I know that it is so hard when you walk into a kitchen where the window is broken and the water is spraying and all you get is the blank stare of “huh, not me!” It can be very upsetting. The issue is that in the damage that is common with FASD often the spatial memory is affected
In cognitive psychology and neuroscience, spatial memory is the part of memory responsible for recording information about one’s environment and its spatial orientation. For example, a person’s spatial memory is required in order to navigate around a familiar city, just as a rat’s spatial memory is needed to learn the location of food at the end of a maze. It is often argued that in both humans and animals, spatial memories are summarized as a cognitive map. Spatial memory has representations within working, short-term and long-term memory. Research indicates that there are specific areas of the brain associated with spatial memory. from Wikipedia
Spatial memory is what allows us to know that when a ball leaves our hand we can predict and understand that it may hit the glass of water in front of you on the table. You can see it do that and understand that it was your action that tipped the glass of water over. See in FASD when they look at you like “huh” it may be because they did not truly understand that when they threw the ball it was that action that caused the water spill. So when they deny doing it it is because they do not think they did. So is this lying???
Sometimes when our children are lying about the obvious things it is time to begin thinking is this purposeful lying or is it inability to process what has happened? As irritating as it is that they are not telling the truth we need to try to understand is this a lie or the inability to understand what really happened? Sometimes what it takes is changing our view and expectations. I know that at the very least it will make you feel a lot less crazy!
The issue often comes up when there is multiple diagnosis on a child. Like when the child is diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). So then the parents are wondering is this crazy lying? or manipulation? The one thing to remember is that really even if the child has a diagnosis of RAD if there is the organic brain injury associated with FASD that is going to take precedence over the RAD behaviors. Will there still be incidences of RAD behavior of course!!! But overall you still have to see the issues of the FASD brain changes.
Now it is easy for me to write this but I know as a parent that it is so hard to actually deal with it. This is the one thing that can truly become overwhelmingly hard to deal with. I know the one thing I have learned is to not ask questions and to just have fair and immediate consequences. The consequence must be something that can redirect or help to learn a better way of handling the situation. Redirection and reminders truly are the only things that work. It is a constant in the life of a FASD family to remind and remind and remind.