Damaged Angels: A Mother Discovers the Terrible Cost of Alcohol in Pregnancy
An adoptive mother writes the book she wishes had been available -- sympathetic, up-to-date, useful, hopeful and highly readable -- when her family ... Show synopsis An adoptive mother writes the book she wishes had been available -- sympathetic, up-to-date, useful, hopeful and highly readable -- when her family welcomed a little girl not knowing that she struggled with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). When Bonnie and her husband adopted Colette, she was three years old. Big for her age, she had walked alone at eleven months, had excellent verbal skills, a thick mane of curly blonde hair and a sturdy little body. They were thrilled with their gregarious second daughter, a great sister for six-year-old Cleo. But although Colette was bright and delightful, a litany of problems soon presented itself. By the time she hit first grade, her parents were coping with her frequent stealing and lying, and her learning difficulties, which necessitated special education. At the age of fourteen, she discovered drugs and sex; by eighteen, in spite of the love and support provided by her adoptive family, she was a crack addict living on the streets. After seven frustrating years of consulting numerous therapists, a TV item gave Bonnie the answer -- and sent her on a quest for diagnosis and help for her daughter. In general, our society has little compassion for those thousands of individuals whose damaged brains lead them to crime, homelessness and addiction. Few realize that they behave as they do as the result of brain damage caused by their mothers' drinking during pregnancy. FASD is Canada's most common, most expensive, yet most preventable mental disability. FASD can be beaten, but as usual, education is key. This book is a tool that could help the 300,000 Canadians currently affected by FASD, and reduce the number of babies born with FASD in the future. -- FASD is a new umbrella term that includes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND) and Partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (pFAS). -- FASD is caused by women drinking alcohol while pregnant. -- So-called "moderate" drinking can do considerable damage to the fetal brain. -- Individuals with FASD may seem normal, but their damaged brains can result in learning disabilities, impulsivity, lying, stealing, tantrums, violence and aggression, inability to predict consequences or learn from experience, lack of conscience, and addictions. -- FASD is the biggest single cause of intellectual impairment in most industrialized countries. -- Research indicates that a high percentage of homeless people, and at least 25% of juvenile and adult offenders suffer from undiagnosed FASD. More than 50% of individuals with FASD will experience school drop-out, trouble with the law, addiction, and unemployment. More than 90% will experience mental health problems. -- The general public, not to mention many professionals, know very little about either FASD or the fact that no amount of alcohol in pregnancy has been established as safe for the fetus.