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Mother discovers child suffers disability from prenatal alcohol exposure and wants to warn others

Oct 5, 2017

There is an agony that descends upon a family when a child is diagnosed with a neurological and behavioral disability. Imagine adding to that by realizing this child’s disability is 100% incurable, and 100% preventable.

That is the case with FASD: fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Ann Carrellas, Michigan FASD Taskforce member and associate director of research at Wayne State University’s Developmental Disabilities Institute, and Juline Lloyd, a nurse and adoptive mother to a son with FASD, joined Stateside today to explain the disorder and how to prevent it.

According to Carrelas, the pregnant women who drink the most are actually “white women who are educated.”

“The latest study shows that it could be 1 in 50 to 1 in 20 children has a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder,” Carrelas said.

That's higher than the autism spectrum.

FASD is even more pervasive in the foster care system, where Carrelas said it’s estimated that 70% of children have been affected by prenatal alcohol exposure.

Lloyd also said that according to the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, “35% of the people that have an FASD have been in jail or prison.”

“I think it affects every aspect of society,” she said. “It affects schools, it affects the criminal justice system, it affects families, and it’s something that’s not understood. And I guess people don’t understand fetal alcohol spectrum disorder as a disability. They think it’s a behavior and if we start to understand it as a disability, we might be able to make more progress.”

Listen above for the full conversation.

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