Horrible behavior from #FASD by R. J. Formanek

Often, I read messages from parents telling me about the “HORRIBLE” behavior exhibited by their children and the trauma they are feeling because of it. Sadly, many of us living with prenatal exposure to alcohol have had a hard road to follow, with no supports or understanding at all, so many of us have made mistakes. They say we are only as happy as our most difficult child situation, and well folks when you are living with a trying to become an adult in a brain that is taking molasses time to grow up it can be a journey of extreme parenting. When we mix dysmaturity with becoming an adult chronologically it is a nasty mix. You cannot change the structure of his brain or give him abilities he may not be capable of mastering.

We, the adults with FASD know how tough this is.

We’ve somehow lived it and survived. Some with parents at our sides, but many of us abandoned while we figure out our life path. It is not easy flying with broken wings. Time does not heal the wounds we’ve been given before we were born.

As adults, living with the challenges of FASD, we aim to change that with the kids growing up now by providing a bridge of understanding potenial proper accommodation and that can make all the difference later. So many of us – people with FASD and caregivers have tried to go this alone. Remember, you do not need to do this alone – you can develop your own braided cords. And that we will write about in the coming weeks.

 Let me begin…

I think I can best approach this via my own life experience, and hope that there are some parallels between experiences.

I left my family at the age of 14, into care since we were not able to get along for a number of reasons. The biggest reason would be something we had no idea about (FASD) and thus were stuck dealing with all the classic behaviors with no explanation. My grandparents were at a loss, they had not dealt with anyone quite like myself, and mixed with their advancing years having a rock crazed teenager around must have been very challenging.

On the surface I was belligerent, cocky and totally full of myself…

… but on the inside I was confused, hurt and really didn’t understand why I was so different. But I knew I was… everyone told me I was.

So, I spent a year going through 13 foster homes and was finally legally emancipated and “set free” to pay for my own mistakes. The only thing the system could think of doing with me at that time was to make me “an adult in the eyes of the law” and then I could be put into the correctional system as an adult.

 Yes… that was the plan social services came up with for me. I personally find it quite barbaric… but that was then…..

Long story shortened (thankfully, lol) instead of going directly to jail and not collecting $500 I went into a group home with a number of other incorrigible young adults. I stayed there for 5 years, and to all appearances I was doing nothing good with my life, parties, and lots of girls etc… but I was learning about me.
There was so much I did not know, starting with myself and my own feelings and thoughts… and I needed to figure out what those were.

I needed to see the world and experience the good and the bad myself, it’s the way I understand things… by experience.

That road has taken me many very interesting places and I have met some very interesting people, and I have been so many different people to so many others that I learned who I really am.

But my thought processing is different, and I do things at my own speed… no matter what the calendar says, I know how I feel.

People tried to help, but not having the same type of experience I did put them at a disadvantage… what worked for them did not work for me because it did not make sense to me, the way they explained it. Not their fault, we just speak different English I guess.

But there were things that helped along the way:

  • Knowing somewhere there were people who believed in me, even if I did not see them every day.
  • People who cared for me, but understood I had to walk this path alone and trusted that when I needed help I would ask. I know now how difficult it was, but at the time I needed to make my own way, make my own mistakes and have my very own successes. I NEEDED to do that. For me.

It was more than a drive, it was a reason to go on.

Some people had a hard time seeing that, and it took years for me to start to put it all together and show positive improvement… but it DID start to happen. I reached out for a more ‘normal’ life.

Well… as close to that as possible, anyways.

I guess, in the end what I am saying is that you raised your child and what you taught him is in there, but he needs to apply it to his own life, and that will happen at some point.

I do not know what your loved one is feeling about what is going on, but doubtlessly he or she  IS processing and learning every day.

Now, none of this is much comfort to you at this point, but it’s ok to pull back and be a more “quiet support”… he wants independence and helping him find it can be a great thing for you both.

He will learn to do things, or he will learn what he can not do,
but in the meantime it’s hard to sit and watch.
I get that… as a parent I do understand.

Trust in the values you have given him all his life to one day surface and you will be so proud! Watch over him as best you can, be there when he needs you, cheer the accomplishments he makes on his own, help pick up the pieces when he falls.

Together you CAN make this work… it takes faith and love but it can come to pass. Hang on, it’s going to take a while…
but your family is worth it.

I hope that makes sense……

Take time for yourselves – caregivers we don’t need you overwhelmed. We need you breathing to help us. Hopefully in the coming months we can provide ideas of how to take care of you while helping to navigate and guide us! Just remember in the end it is our life and our understanding and our language and sometimes it is very difficult to bridge.

Is it Time for the Creation of a #FASD – Based Legal Training Certification Program?

64274-thewhitestwall1Individuals with suspected or confirmed FASD commonly experience a wide-range of impairments that can significantly impair their ability to competently proceed through the complex criminal trial process.

To illustrate this point further, some individuals with FASD may be more inclined to confabulate, be suggestible under interrogative pressures and questioning, and provide inaccurate information sometimes leading to the possibility of wrongful conviction. As such, it is strongly suggested that all legal professionals receive continuing education on topics related to FASD.

To go a step further, the creation of a specialized FASD-based legal training certification program may be warranted. As part of a proposed FASD-based legal training certification program, the following subtopics should be considered:

FASD: An Introduction
FASD and Competency to Stand Trial
FASD and Confabulation
FASD and Executive Functioning Impairments
FASD and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors
FASD and Social Skill Deficits
FASD and Suggestibility
FASD and the Juvenile Justice System
FASD in Correctional Settings
FASD: Case Law
FASD: Communication and Intervention Approaches
FASD: Ethical and Legal Dilemmas
FASD: Forensic Screening Practices
FASD: Offender Reentry and Community Supervision
FASD: Sentencing Considerations
FASD: Vulnerability and Victimization

-Jerrod Brown

The Whitest Wall by Jodee Kulp takes readers into the world of three individuals living in a regular community and demonstrates how this disability affects day to day functioning most people tilt their heads at but don’t understand. Winner of Best Young Adult USA Fiction (2012) Winner Mom’s Choice Gold Adult Fiction and Young Adult Fiction.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder ( #FASD ): 10 Reminders for Helping Professionals

By: Jerrod Brown

64274-thewhitestwall11. The effects of FASD are irreversible. They can, however, be minimized and managed through appropriate therapy and supports.

2. Some individuals with FASD may struggle with fine motor skills and, as a result, become frustrated/easily angered due to difficulties in coordination.

3. School settings can be a problem for some students with FASD.

4. As adults, symptoms may become more obvious since the ability to plan and anticipate consequences continue to be impaired and the responsibilities of daily living are increased (e.g. this may negatively impact finances, housing, and other areas of life).

5. Some individuals with FASD live with the challenges of numerous secondary conditions (e.g. ADHD, Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), Sleep Disorders, etc.).

6. Some individuals with FASD likely have experienced previous trauma (e.g. emotional, physical or sexual abuse, exposure to domestic violence, substance abuse and extreme neglect).

7. Some individuals with FASD may present as hyperactive, impulsive, and tend to have poor social skills.

8. Misdiagnosis and under-diagnosis of FASD is common.

9. Social and emotional development deficits are common for some individuals with FASD (e.g. a child with FASD who is 18 years old chronologically, may be functioning developmentally at a much younger age).

10. Deficits in executive function are common (e.g. difficulties in problem solving, impaired judgment, poor decision making skills, diminished ability to comprehend the cause and effect of their actions and behaviors).

Confabulation (verb: confabulate) is a memory disturbance, defined as the production of fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive.

The Whitest Wall by Jodee Kulp takes readers into the world of five individuals living in a regular community and demonstrates how this disability affects day to day functioning most people tilt their heads at but don’t understand. Winner of Best Young Adult USA Fiction (2012) Winner Mom’s Choice Gold Adult Fiction and Young Adult Fiction.

Difficulties with Screening for #FASD in Adult Forensic Populations

Guest Blogger / Author:  Jerrod Brown

511ec-thewhitestwall1Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a group of disorders that does not lend itself well to screening, assessment, and diagnosis without proper awareness, education, and training related to the complexities of the disorder. The varied neuropsychological and dysmorphology symptomatology of FASD contribute to screening and diagnostic issues. Specifically, individuals with FASD typically have neuropsychological deficits (e.g., executive control, impulsivity, and decision-making) that require high levels of support and services, but can present relatively independently of intelligence. Complicating these already challenging neuropsychological symptoms, only around 10 % of individuals with FASD have visible signs of facial dysmorphia, which become less apparent as individuals physically mature into adulthood. This combination of symptomatology limits the ability of unprepared clinicians to render differential diagnoses and increases the likelihood of under-identification and misdiagnosis of FASD.

The identification of FASD is further muddled by a lack of reliable screening instruments in forensic settings, sometimes limited access to medical and historical records, and memory-related issues. First, the relative dearth of FASD screening instruments developed and validated for use in forensic settings, especially in adult populations only contributes to the under-identification of FASD. Second, gaps in current and historical medical records also make it sometimes difficult to identify the presence of prenatal alcohol exposure with any degree of certainty for adults. The fact that some individuals with FASD were adopted or involved in multiple foster care placements only decreases the likelihood of such records or access to the birth mother. Third, adults with FASD often have memory issues. This includes impairments in short-and long-term memory and the potential for suggestibility (e.g., inclination to agree with statements and implications of others) and confabulation (e.g., the creation of new memories from real and fictional experiences). As such, a clinician should not solely rely on information reported by an adult who possibly has FASD without seeking out collateral sources of information. Working to resolve these screening and assessment issues and increasing the likelihood of early and accurate identification and implementation of appropriate services and supports offers the most promise in rendering desistance from involvement in the criminal justice system.

The varied symptomatology and screening and assessment issues of FASD emphasize the importance of awareness amongst forensic professionals. Unfortunately, there is a lack of general awareness of FASD among forensic professionals, which is contributed to by limited coverage of the disorder during education and advanced trainings. Further, there are few forensic experts in the area of FASD. Not only does this often leave many questions of how to deal with adults with FASD who are involved in the criminal justice system unanswered, but this lack of expertise also limits the potential of referral for specialized FASD assessments involving individuals in adult forensic populations. Complimenting this lack of knowledge in the field is a lack of adult specialized FASD-based treatment and intervention options in both community and confined settings. These shortcomings highlight the importance of implementing FASD awareness campaigns in adult forensic settings and expanded forensic-specific coverage of FASD in educational and continuing education settings.

Author Biography: Jerrod Brown, MA, MS, MS, MS, is the Treatment Director for Pathways Counseling Center, Inc. Pathways provides programs and services benefiting individuals impacted by mental illness and addictions. Jerrod is also the founder and CEO of the American Institute for the Advancement of Forensic Studies (AIAFS), lead developer and program director of an online graduate degree program in Forensic Mental Health from Concordia University, St. Paul, Minnesota, and the Editor-in-Chief of Forensic Scholars Today. Jerrod is currently in the dissertation phase of his doctorate degree program in psychology. Please contact Jerrod at Jerrod01234Brown@Live if you have questions about this article or would like a full list of references used for this article.

Confabulation (verb: confabulate) is a memory disturbance, defined as the production of fabricated, distorted or misinterpreted memories about oneself or the world, without the conscious intention to deceive.

The Whitest Wall by Jodee Kulp takes readers into the world of three individuals living in a regular community and demonstrates how this disability affects day-to-day functioning most people tilt their heads at but don’t understand. Winner of Best Young Adult USA Fiction (2012) Winner Mom’s Choice Gold Adult Fiction and Young Adult Fiction.

Quick Nutrition Guide for Children with #FASD

By Jodee Kulp
Our FAScinating Journey – Keys to Brain Potential Along the Path of Prenatal Brain Injury  is available at https://www.createspace.com/3579462
The material following has been selected from Our FAScinating Journey to give you beginning knowledge and ideas for further research in helping children and adults with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) or exposure to other toxins in the womb.
      PROTEINS are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. It is essential to eat enough protein in balanced amounts with fats and carbohydrates.  The protein needs of each individual vary. Too much protein for some people can restrict ‘brain protein.’ Not enough protein will result in a protein deficit.  There are many sources of protein and protein combinations to provide adequate protein sources. Protein quality determines which proteins are the best for your body is dependent on the types and amounts of amino acids that the protein contains and how well your body can digest the protein, or the protein’s digestibility. Proteins eaten alone on an empty stomach can pick up dopamine and acetylcholin nuerotransmitters.
Best protein resources
Fresh cold-water fish, low fat cottage cheese, free-range and drug free poultry, eggs, hard cheeses, low fat low lactose yogurt, beans, seeds, nuts, and some fruits and vegetables. (organic and grass fed lean red meat contain rich sources of minerals, protein and B-group vitamins and though costly you may decide is worth the extra money). You do not need to eat animal pro
ducts to get all the protein you need in your diet. Fruits and vegetables with highest protein values include: asparagus, aubergine, brussels sprouts, broccoli, beetroot, spring onion, mushroom, okra, spinach, sweet corn, tomatoes, yams, dried apricots, raisins, avocados, dates (search vegan diet protein sources.)
CARBOHYDRATESare made from carbon dioxide and water by green plants in the sunlight. Sugars, starches and fibers are the most common carbohy-drates. They enhance neurotransmitters. Most people think of carbohydrates as grains and high starch vegetables like potatoes.Carbohydrates also include lower starch (3%)vegetables like asparagus or fruit like strawberries or higher starch (20%+) vegetables beans, corn, yams and potatoes or fruit like bananas, figs and prunes. Lower starch fruits and vegetables release glucose (sugar) slowly into the bloodstream, as do whole grains and legumes. Potatoes and rice release glucose quickly causing power surges in some people and then a let down. If glucose levels fluctuate, mental confusion and dizziness may occur.
3% Slowest releasing vegetables
asparagus, bean sprouts, beet greens, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, cucumber, endive, lettuce, mustard greens, radishes, spinach and watercress.
3% Slowest releasing fruits
cantaloupe, rhubarb, strawberries, watermelon, melons and tomatoes.
beans (string), beets, brussels sprouts, chives, collards, dandelion greens, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, okra, onions, parsley, peppers (red), pimento, pumpkin, rutabagas, turnips.
apricots, blackberries, cranberries, grapefruit, guava, melons, lemons, limes, oranges, papaya, peaches, plums, raspberries, tangerines, kiwis.
Enzymesare chemical catalysts that are needed to change chemicals into organs, cells and hormones. They are manufactured in the body from amino acids, plus vitamins and minerals. Without a particular enzyme, any one of thousands of chemical changes needed in the body won’t operate.  You need a balance of protein, vitamins and minerals to continue to manufacture enzymes.
For example, think about an elderly woman eating only white bread and tea for each meal or a teen eating only junkfood and sodas.  Each day they are using up protein already in the body to rebuild cells. They are not adding any protein to the diet nor getting any real vitamins and minerals. Even if they suddenly start eating steak, milk and eggs poor nutrition leads to poorer nutrition their body has stopped producing ‘protease’ the enzyme needed to break down protein, lactase the enzyme to break down lactose, phosphatase to breakdown calcium and galactase to breakdown glacactase. In other words, she can no longer digest and utilize this food with higher nutritional value.
Providing enzyme supplementation can help kick start enzyme production, but it takes time.
AMINOACIDS are the building blocks of protein. There are over 20 different amino acids found in animals and humans. The term essential amino acid refers to the amino acids that your body cannot make. Because your body cannot make these amino acids, they must be consumed in the diet, thus making them essential. There are nine essential amino acids.
Help to clean the brain. These are foods that produce healthy chemicals that clean the brain from free radicals that cause cell deterioration. They act like a rust cleaner that keeps rust off brain matter. Vitamin E and C, beta carotene, lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, grapeseed and pinebark extract are antioxidants.
RICHESTANTIOXIDANTFOODresources Blueberries, strawberries, cooked kale, raisins, raspberries, apples, grapes, cherries, prunes, blackberries, garlic and raw spinach. Mangoes and sweet potatoes contain high levels of vitamin E and C, plus beta carotene. 
CYANIOXIDANTS—PINEBARK (pycnogenol) and GRAPESEEDHas 20 times the antioxidant activity of vitamin C and 50 times that of vitamin E. It can cross the blood-brain barrier and can stay in the blood stream for up to 72 hours. Few other antioxidants cross this barrier and none do it as well. 
MULTI-VITAMINInsure your child’s vitamin and mineral intake with a high quality daily multi-vitamin. Liz takes an intensive care, easy absorbable multi. Her vitamin is designed to include high levels of B vitamins, vitamins E, C, folic acid and selenium.
Research studies now show a strong correlation between aggressive behavior in children and deficiencies in nutrients such as niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and tryptophan. Before changing your child’s medications, try a daily multi-vitamin, one preferably without artificial colorings.
B VITAMINS:Essential for cognitive function, helps to improve memory and assists in brain development. Prenatal exposure, encephalitis, stroke, prolonged drinking or vitamin Bdeficiency can cause damage to the hippocampus and thalamus.The effect may be good recall of past and normal short term memories, but they are unable to recall what they had for breakfast, last hours class notes or what spelling words they had just learned. Their procedural memory seems unaffected and the person may become steadily more competent and faster at performing a task, even though they do not remember ever doing it.
B1  ThiaminChanges carbohydrates to glucose then into energy or fat and helps to provide energy to the brain, heart and central nervous system. It helps prevent nervous irritability; necessary for a good appetite.
whole grain, nuts, legumes, yeast, liver, beans, peas, soy products, fish, and pork.
B2 RiboflavinTransports hydrogen; is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins; helps keep the skin and eyes in a healthy condition.
lean meats, nuts,. liver, brewers yeast, leafy green vegetables, whole grain cereal, cheese, fish, eggs, milk
B3 NiacinNeeded to convert food into energy, maintains normal functions of the skin, nerve tissue and digestive system. Can help lower LDL(bad) cholesterol. Reduces allergic reactions and supports sugar metabolism.
RICHESTVITAMINB3 resources fortified cereals, breads and grain products, meats, fish, poultry, nuts, grain products, peanuts
B6 Pyridoxine Essential for brain function and the production of red blood cells. Aids in the immune system. Essential to protein, amino acid and carbohydrate metabolism. This is found in most foods naturally but a problem may be in the malabsorbtion.
RICHESTVITAMINB6 resources yeast, liver, crabmeat, brown rice, meat, fish, wheat bran, germ and grains, vegetables, white and sweet potatoes, eggs, poultry, bananas
B12 CyanocobalaminHelps to build and maintain the central nervous system. Important in the production of dopamine (energy) and serotonin (well-being). Necessary for production of red blood cells and normal growth.
clams, shellfish, meat, eggs, green vegetables, orange juice, yogurt, cheese, eggs, milk, fortified breakfast cereals.
FOLATE (FOLICACID)Necessary for the production of RNAand DNA (the building blocks of cells)and normal red blood cells. Helps to lower homo cysteine levels and prevents some birth defects. Helps relieve depression.
Fortified rice; pasta, breads, cereals, and grains, poultry, lentils and beans, green leafy vegetables, avocados, papayas.
VITAMIN C Ascorbic AcidProtects against infection, assists in healing, helps maintain strength and elasticity of blood vessels. Enhances iron absorption. It is so important to the brain that it is found in concentrations of 15 to 100 times higher than elsewhere in the body. It is one of the most active and abundant antioxidants in the body. Stress hormones deplete it, since vitamin C is needed to synthesize them. Water, heat, light, oxygen and cooking all destroy vitamin C. When cooking steam lightly. Smoking one cigarette destroys 25 mg and aspirin triples the excretion rate of vitamin C.
orange juice, rose hips, guava, kiwi, black currents, kale, parsley, red peppers, brussel sprouts,  broccoli, collards, cabbage, white and sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, tomatoes, artichokes, swiss chard, strawberries
VITAMINK Necessary for blood clotting, aids in bone formation, helps regulate levels of calcium.
Brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, turnip greens
VITAMIN EProtects fatty acids in the blood stream and improves overall blood circulation including blood to the brain. It is the primary fat-soluble anti-oxidant in the brain. Heat, oxygen, freezing and chlorine destroy vitamin E.
seeds, nuts, soybeans, eggs, brown rice, oats, fresh wheat germ, peanut butter, sweet potatoes, mangoes, sunflower oil
CALCIUMnecessary for teeth and bones, where most dietary calcium is found. The rest moves in and out of cells allowing conduction of impulses between nerves and contraction of muscles. Aids in heart regulation, blood clotting, muscle contractions and relaxation. Excess calcium depresses magnesium levels.
cooked bones as in canned salmon or sardines, sesame seeds, tofu, dairy products, yogurt, turnip greens, broccoli, milk, blackstrap molasses, spinach, broccoflower.
CHOLINEresearch indicates a mother’s choline intake may influence the development of the memory center in fetal brains.Helps maintain healthy cellular structure and functions, plays role in muscle control.
Video (2012): FASD Expert –
Jennifer Thomas on Choline
Linus Pauling Institute
eggs, milk, fish, whole grains, liver, iceberg lettuce, cauliflower, peanuts
IRONis essential to the production of red blood cells. Aids in manufacturing amino acids, hormones and neurotransmitters. It strengthens the immune system. An iron deficiency in babies and children can have significant and permanent effects on brain development. Iron is a vital component for fueling our bodies, carrying oxygen to the brain and helping our newborns reach their greatest potential. Iron is deposited in the brain—it is part of the brain structure and an essential nutrient for mental development. Newborns have three times the ratio of iron in their bodies as adults.  Babies have very high iron needs, because they grow so rapidly. Infants who are iron deficient can suffer from altered behavior, reduced immunity, slower language, gross and fine motor development, and reduction in IQ. Most babies are born with enough iron stores to last four to six months. Breastfed babies rarely lack iron, not because there is a high concentrate of iron in breast milk, but because the iron in the breast milk is readily absorbable.  A USstudy of nearly 5,400 children 6 to 16 found those who were deficient in iron were more than twice as likely to score below average on standardized math tests than more well nourished peers. (Reuters Health, 2001)
NOTE:Before using iron, get a blood test. Some of the symptoms of iron deficiency are the same as iron overdose. In addition, not all iron supplements are the same. Some are dangerous. Too much iron can make you sick or KILLACHILD
Evidence is showing that children with ‘pica’— eating dirt (geophagia), lead paint, or ice (pagphagia) often show iron deficiencies. Symptoms of iron deficiency include listlessness, fatigue, memory deficits, sore tongue, reduced cognition.
organ meat, liver, red meat, poultry,  mussels, oysters, tofu, legumes such as lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas, eggs, enriched breads and pasta, nuts.
MAGNESIUMImportant for bone development and protein building; necessary for energy production, muscle relaxation and maintenance of heart health and function. Activates almost all the key enzymes needed for your neurons to create energy from glucose. Low levels of magnesium can cause the nerves to fire too easily even from mild stimuli. This can result in noises sounding too loud, lights too bright, and emotional reactions on the edge. Magnesium deficiency in children is characterized by excessive figiting, anxious restlessness, psychomotor instability and learning difficulties in the presence of a normal IQ (Magnesium in Health and Disease, Seelig, 1980). Magnesium seems to absorb better in combination with folic acid and vitamins b6 and B12.
nuts, meats, tofu, milk, beans, bananas, apricots, legumes, yogurt, whole grains, leafy green vegetables, avocados, brown rice, carrots, citrus fruits.
SELENIUMActs as an antioxidant to help protect cells from damaging free radicals. It works in synergy with vitamin E to protect polyunsaturated fats from becoming oxidized. It is necessary for thyroid function. Helps with moods. It is a detoxifier of heavy metals that damage the brain. It binds mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium which disrupt brain chemistry. 
RICHESTSELENIUM resources  Grains, garlic, meats, seafood, tuna, soybeans, molasses, cashew nuts, brazil nuts, breads, oatmeal, soynuts, pasta, poultry, shellfish, sunflower seeds, cabbage, celery, mushrooms, onions
ZINCis a component of every living cell in the body. It is essential for the structure and function of over 50 enzymes. Is needed to maintain proper levels of vitamin E in the blood. It is important for growth, sperm production, night vision, appetite, sense of taste and smell, immune system functioning and wound healing.  Zinc deficiency may make children irritable, tearful, sullen and have gaze aversion (Moyhahan, Zinc Deficiency and Disturbances of Mood and Behavior. Lancet, 1:91, 1976) Chineses studies with school children show improved performance in memory, reasoning, perception and eye-hand coordination with additional zinc intake. Beef and lamb have a high zinc content especially in kidneys and liver meats. 
oysters, seafood, red meats, poultry, nuts, whole grain breads and cereals, tofu, eggs, milk.
INTERESTED IN NUTRITIONAL THERAPY FOR CHILDREN LIVING WITH FASD and/or HAVE QUESTIONS —Join Diane Black, PhD, Netherlands at Nutrition_for_FASD@yahoogroups.com

How Texting Can Help Persons With #FASD and #ASD

with FASD

See It,
Write It,
Remember It. 

Guest Blogger
Ann Yurcek, author Tiny Titan Journey of Hope
To see more of Ann’s great articles visit her blog

With my kids with organic brain damage from their prenatal exposures along with all the other alphabet soup of diagnoses, I have learned that they learn better by seeing what they need to do. 

Many of our kids can have normal IQ’s and can handle more concrete learning information.  Often they do well early in their school years on when the information is presented in a CONCRETE easily understood format.

God gave me the gift of understanding that my children use visual memory much better than any other medium of getting things to stick. They can remember vividly what someone was wearing, what they did, and all sorts of information from an event. But cannot remember some of the simplest other things.

Think in the terms of a camera. They can capture the images they see, but they can’t see themselves so they never know what they did.  (Another blog post for another day).  But what that taught me was to help them see just like they now are teaching in autism with picture prompts etc.  I used simple notes, cannot be too complex or they shut down and are overwhelmed.  Short and sweet, concrete and to the point.

For years I have been teaching teachers, principals and anyone who works with my kids if they want them to remember something they need to TALK LESS and use a simple bullet reflection system to help them see and retain the information into their memory.  Talking to my kids the message becomes jumbled and often lost in translation as it processes through their damaged brains.

My house became a series of notes put up as reminders. There were times even though still needed the kids removed them as they didn’t want to be treated differently or have their friends see anything that will get them noticed for being a different.

Often kids/adults with FASD have auditory processing disorders. But in our world and society we talk too much. When I talk to my kids with FASD I have to talk simply, with three or four words with a slight pause which allows their brains time to process the information that I give them.  Then double check for understanding.

If I wanted my child to bring me or put something away right I would use a post it note reminder. Go get me french fries from the freezer.  I had to do something as too many times they got to the freezer and brought in corn instead of peas. or whatever and it ended it in my frustration and their feeling bad that they got it wrong.

I know that my adult kids can remember what they receive via text message, what took me so long to get on the text to remember kick?

Becca and Dee have been texting each other room to room. They were texting in the same room the other day. I wondered why?  Becca figured out Dee understood instructions better texted than communicated. It took Becca with her Autism and understanding of not hearing what is being said in a room full of too much noise for her to know what to do to help Dee understand instructions.

I was talking with a friend lately and talking about we talk to much. She has been emailing her daughter with discussions instead of deep conversations and they seemed to make a difference in her understanding and her remembering.

LIGHTBULB moment:  With our teens and young adults we need to use their mediums to help them.

I just tried an experiment. I texted Dee up in her room and asked her if she could please make Mac a bottle.  I received a reply, I am all the way up here!  I texted back that I was writing and I would really appreciate her helping me. Okaaaay.

 Normally anything you tell Dee needs many steps going like this.
1. Ask her to do a simple chore.
2. Wait 3-5 minutes to see if it processes and is understood by asking the question again.
3. Now wait 3-5 minutes to see if she responds.
4. Carefully prompt her again if not moving.
5. Double check for understanding.

To make the said bottle would require me to have 15 to20 minutes of intervention. Not because she is being oppositional like so many would think. It was just because it would take that much intervention and complex processing for her to be able to hear it, transition, and get moving.

The bottle arrived in less than 5 minutes.

Want something done, want them to remember, quit talking so much and put it in writing.

TEXT to SUCCESS.  But first sign up for UNLIMITED TEXTING.

New Adult Perspective in The Best I Can Be Living with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

New Release! More Resources!
At thirteen, Liz Kulp wanted to let people know what was inside her brain and what made her life so difficult. She hoped by sharing her life other families and children would have more opportunities for success. Fourteen years later, Liz, now an incredible adult revised this beloved title and added her adult perspective of living with FASD in hopes that families and children living with these challenges could better prepare for the future.

In this new revision, she has been joined by other adults, who she refers to as FASD Life Experts and they have added additional wisdom.  We love the new resources and are excited about this new direction.

A movie? Broken hearts, threads of opportunity, and fur-covered love

Fur-covered love inspires and encourages; will be a movie! Who’s gonna play me?

Friends from Roswell who faced insurmountable odds were blessed with a miracle service dog. First he writes a book; now he stars in a movie! Here’s the story of a service dog whose narrative is being made into a movie – a movie about a boy who lives with fetal alcohol syndrome and a Golden Retriever who gets another chance at love, with a family desperate for HIS special kind of help.
He got a second chance at love as a service dog for a family desperate for help. Now their story is being made into a MOVIE!
Too cool: 
A service dog brings calm to a family torn apart by fetal alcohol syndrome. Writes book about it; movie’s in the works! Think he knows?
This is a story of broken hearts, Titanic alcohol damage, and second chances. It is a story I have been blessed to help unfold over the last six years; a story that joyfully, and brilliantly, is becoming very well known, despite its being started by epic unraveling thousands of miles away.
A little background: an eternal optimistic opportunist, I see 50 ways that something will work where most sane folks only see downside. Where others see a single thread, I see entire tapestries. It is a blessing and a curse.
I needed a thread or two back in 2006 when I was working on a fundraising race to raise awareness for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), an umbrella term used to describe the range of effects that can occur to an individual whose mother consumed alcohol while pregnant. The most severe form of FASD is called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FASD is not “a warm and fuzzy”; people do not get all whoopty-do about it. Most would rather NEVER hear about it, much less tell our sisters they can’t have a glass of wine for nine months. So when I heard about a particularly enthusiastic participant in the race, I was eager to meet her.
So, I met Donnie Winokur, a wisp of a woman with intense brown eyes and wildcat mother energy; that “I-will-fight-to- the-death-for-my-children-and-kick-your-butt-from-the-grave” urgency that I, as a long-time single mom, had run on for years.
Donnie’s urgency was about learning as much as she could, and connecting with as many people as possible, to figure out what to do for a precious little boy who was in a world of hurt, hurt that was hurting everyone in his world.
To purchase Nuzzle
visit www.thechancerchronicles.com 
The little boy was her son, a dream-come-true who’d been adopted, like his sister, from an orphanage in Russia, on what was a kind of second honeymoon for Donnie and her husband, Rabbi Harvey Winokur. “We didn’t try to get pregnant for long, opting instead, since we were older and this was the second marriage for both of us, to start the adoption process not long after we got married,” she said.
To cut to the chase here, Donnie and Harvey’s son and daughter, adopted in Russia and brought home to Roswell, GA in 1999, made them an instant family. The daughter developed beautifully, and today, at 14, is, physically and intellectually so much like her adoptive mother it is as though their souls were roommates in heaven for a million years before they were both made human.
The dream-come-true story with the little boy, however, started crumbling about the time he turned three, when epic meltdowns, mood swings, and rages grew with intensity as the little boy grew in size and strength.
After many consults with many doctors, the truth unraveled in the form of a “broken” umbilical cord. You see, the boy’s Russian birth mother might have been an alcoholic. Or not. Or she might not have known she was pregnant when she drank alcohol. Whatever the case, she’d had enough to drink at some point during her pregnancy with this precious child, that his brain had been hurt badly. Very badly. The very cord that gave him life also delivered deathly alcohol to his developing brain, affecting, in particular, the parts of his brain that regulate mood, emotions, memory, and the ability to communicate, discern, and deal with “no.”
I met a desperate Donnie Winokur a couple of years into her sometimes frantic search to learn about her son’s FAS, and to find anyone and everyone who might be able to help keep this family, knit together from oceans apart, from falling apart.
She was an enthusiastic volunteer. And opportunist that I was, I saw in her pain – a face for this cause.  She became, once some trust was established, a willing accomplice. She, too, saw tapestries where others saw threads.
I asked for an interview. She let me write her story, using her talents as a journalist to help edit it, and her wildcat mom energy to be sure I told it tenderly.
I asked to feature her family in a video. She had a persuasive dialogue with the reluctant rabbi, who ultimately let us film in the synagogue.
I asked her to be on a fundraising committee. She did it.
I asked her to give me input on a book I was writing about stopping the cycles of addiction and abuse, my way of using my pain to help myself and others.  We cried. We laughed. Our friendship deepened.
I asked if I could write a fundraising letter about her story. We made money on the letter and gathered new advocates for our cause.
She told me she wanted to get a dog to help her son, a dog that would be the first service dog ever to help a child with FAS by sensing an immanent outburst and using its love to help calm the child in ways no human can. I told her I thought it was a great idea. She told me her husband was dead-set against it. I told her, from experience, that mothers do rabies-crazy things because we are so in love with our children, and to listen to her gut.
She and her precious father and children brought home fur-covered love – a rescued golden retriever named “Chancer,” because hers was his second family; his second chance at love – that helped her son and became the rabbi’s best friend.
We did another video. The CDC did a video about her family and their experience with FASD in hopes of raising awareness of the fact there is no safe amount of alcohol, or safe time to drink if you are pregnant or could be pregnant.
We had awareness-building and fundraising schemes, dreams, and roadblocks that, as we climbed over them, made us stronger. And a little tired. After all, we’d hit our 50s together.
She was working on three books and we were both run ragged by children and traffic and board meetings and life and events and she decided to put her focus into the books. We stayed in touch, with emails and phone calls and rushed lunches or coffees and even a rare girls’ night out, just two moms and a hot dog.
And now, six years from our first meeting, her story has been told in an incredible award-winning book by her daughter. And in a second book, also published by Better Endings New Beginnings, that has garnered international awards and is the story of, and “written by,” the dog. And now in an epic feature spread in nothing less than the Sunday’s New York Times Magazine(2.5.12), written by a best-selling author who has woven this story and all its intricacies and miracles so beautifully, that I firmly believe there is a thread-for-thread matching tapestry of it hanging in heaven.
I invite you to get a second cup of coffee or tea and read this story (link below). Savor every word of it because you will want to read more. And more. And you will want, I believe, to see it told on a big screen. I know I do.  
Donnie do what she is so very, very good at doing: making sense of her family’s pain by using her experience, strength, and unfailing optimism to help others. 
UPDATE AS OF 11.5.12 – Chancer’s story WILL become a movie! It is being written by Writer/Co-Producer Karen Hall, who’s written for some of the most well-known TV shows of the last 30 years and the legendary movie “The Betty Ford Story”, and brought to the screen by Emmy Award winning director Martha Cotton .  Dreams are coming true. I am just wondering who’ll play ME in the movie. J
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/magazine/wonder-dog.html?pagewanted=all Wonder Dog – A golden retriever was the only thing that could reach a raging, disconnected boy. – by Melissa Fay Greene
http://www.thechancerchronicles.com/invisible.html – My Invisible World – life with my brother, his disability and his service dog by Morasha Winokur
http://www.thechancerchronicles.com/nuzzle.html –  Nuzzle –love between a boy and his service dog by Donnie Winokur
http://www.thechancerchronicles.com/index.html – Website with links to other publications, information, and opportunities about Donnie Winokur, her family, and Chancer, the “wonder dog.”
Carey Sipp’s first book, The TurnAround Mom – How an Abuse and Addiction Survivor Stopped the Toxic Cycle for Her Family, and How You Can, Too, guides fellow “children of chaos” to create the kind of sane and loving home life that helps prevent next-generation addiction and abuse. Her book is available at Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/TurnAround-Mom-Addiction-Survivor-Family–/dp/0757305962/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1317756315&sr=8-1
Used with permission of  ©2012 ShareWIK Media Group, LLC