Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Face of FAS

Amata had her developmental & behavior clinic yesterday. It was one of those days that I was looking forward to & dreading. I had already self diagnosed her with at the very least ADHD, & probably Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. So, they were either going to tell me that she had neither, and the behavior issues we've been experiencing were our own problem or that, yes, she did have a condition for which there is no cure.

After looking at her history, taking measurements of her head & face, and having her meet with a psychologist, occupational therapist, pediatrician, speech pathologist & educational specialist, Amata was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome & ADHD. When I researched FAS, the pictures they always show are of extreme examples of the FAS face. I guess that's why I didn't think that Amata really had the physical characteristics, but once the doctor pointed them out I could see them. The has the thinner upper lip and under her nose is smoother than most people. Her eyes are also a little wide-spread.

The one good thing about this diagnosis is that now she will be able to get the services that she deserves, including early childhood special ed. She didn't qualify before because she scored too high on their testing. But with a diagnosis of FAS which is "a condition known to hinder development", it doesn't matter what her test scores were.
And with ECSE, the school also provides transportation to & from, which was an issue for us when enrolling her in preschool; that's why she is only signed up one morning a week.

And, most of the studies show that children who are diagnosed with FAS prior to beginning school and are raised in a stable home, have a very good chance to lead completely normal lives.

Of course, I would still like to cause bodily harm to the poor excuse for a human being that decided to drink alcohol while she was pregnant with Amata, but it probably wouldn't be in Amata;s best interest if I ended up in jail on assault charges.

Caleb's assessment is currently scheduled in two weeks, but they mentioned that the speech pathologist may not be able to be there, so it might have to be rescheduled. Seeing how similar his facial features are to Amata's, I won't be surprised if he also ends up with an FAS diagnosis as well.

A quote that the MN Organization on FAS uses often is, "Don't Try Harder, Try Differently. If you've told a child a thousand times and he still does not understand, then it is not the child who is a slow learner." That's going to be a tough one for me! There is a reason I was never a teacher!

1 comment:

Carrie said...

Amata is so very lucky to be your daughter. She will blossom with your love and support!