FASD: The missing diagnosis


By: Sue Gaberiel, Cheboygan Daily Tribune, 24 October 2014

Accessed on: 27 October 2014

Commentary by: Robyn Morin

This article is the fourth edition of a four part series created to provide education and strategies for some behaviours that are associated with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

The author starts with a simple four step procedure that a child will experience within a classroom when preparing for an assignment. A child of average functioning will be able to successfully complete all four steps. A child with FASD will complete the first step, become distracted with something in their desk and will be unsuccessful in completing the assignment.

The author emphasizes a common behaviour associated with FASD known as “confabulation.” Confabulation “is filling in with what seems logical, because you can’t remember what actually occurred.” This is much different than lying where one will lie to cover up something they did in order to not be held responsible. At times, individuals with FASD are accused of lying when in fact it is confabulation.

Throughout the article, the author tells a story of a young girl with FASD and provides examples of her daily life in regards to step by step instructions and confabulation. The point is to illustrate strategies such as requests and one step instructions. When teachers, parents or supports use one step directions, the individual can be successful in completing a task. When you continuously use a multitude of one step instructions, an individual will be able to successfully perform these one step instructions from memory thus creating success.

The author ends the article stating that no amount of alcohol is safe while pregnant and FASD is 100% preventable; “If you are female and are going to drink alcohol, do not have unprotected sex, if you have unprotected sex, do not drink alcohol.”

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