Raising Adrian – My Own Experience with FASD in America

Raising Adrian – My Own Experience with FASD in America

Helen Ramaglia, The Chronicle of Social Change: Children and Youth, Front and Centre (November 6th, 2013) (Accessed November 14th, 2013)

Commentary by Krystal Glowatski

This story is about an adoptive mother to not one, but two children affected by FASD.  Twice a month I take to the web and find a news article about FASD and provide a summary and my thoughts.  I usually tend to seek out the hard-hitting and provocative articles about offenders in the CJS with FASD.  However, this week I couldn’t help but be drawn to this heart-felt story about struggle, hope, and success.

Sometimes in fighting for the rights of FASD offenders, we forget about the basics – the rights of human beings, and of course in the context of this page, the rights of individuals who struggle with FASD on a daily basis.  The mother who wrote this story fought for years in many sectors – social services, education, and health to name a few – just for a diagnosis and effective strategies in creating success for her children with FASD.  After 3 years of struggle, her children are beginning to succeed both at home and at school.

As this mother says, by arming ourselves with information, education, and the right tools, we can assist those with FASD to be the best they can be.  It will always be an uphill battle, but there is hope.  That is what this page is about – providing you, our readers, with information, education, and the right tools to assist you in the course of your work, and perhaps personal lives.  With that, I encourage you to explore our website and arm yourselves – you never know when you’ll be able to help someone be his or her best.

Inmate gets another year for prison stabbing ‘The victim did not instigate an altercation and had no opportunity to defend himself’

Inmate gets another year for prison stabbing: ‘The victim did not instigate an altercation and had no opportunity to defend himself’

Inmate gets another year for prison stabbing: ‘The victim did not instigate an altercation and had no opportunity to defend himself’

Kamloops: The Daily News (October 23rd, 2013) (Accessed November 3, 2013)

Commentary by Krystal Glowatski

Derek Baptiste, an inmate at KRCC (Kamloops), will serve one additional year in prison for stabbing a fellow inmate.  While the defence wanted the one-year sentence to be served concurrently, to avoid the “warehouse” phenomenon, the judge agreed with the Crown that one additional year is not excessive.  Baptiste was originally jailed for: four break-and-enters, a breach of recognizance, and possession of a dangerous weapon.  Based on these offences, the fact that this individual has FASD, and the recent Consensus Development Conference on FASD and Legal Issues, there are likely a number of people out there who would argue that jail is excessive for this individual.

While FASD should not be a “get-out-of-jail-free-card,” there should be special consideration for the issues that plague individuals with FASD.  Unfortunately, these individuals are vulnerable to begin with and placing them in prisons only makes them that much more susceptible to victimization.  Alternative forms of accountability should be considered more often when the court is aware of an individual’s diagnosis of FASD.  As stated in the draft of the Consensus Statement (Vol. 5), it is recommended that there should be consideration by Parliament to make conditional sentences more available for vulnerable individuals, such as those who have FASD.  I suppose the question remains – where should these changes take root?  Is it the responsibility of judges to acknowledge FASD and use what discretion they have to recognize the special considerations necessary to help these individuals, or is it the responsibility of higher powers such as the government to drastically change legislation?  This is an interesting case, in which the individual is documented as having FASD (something that isn’t often recognized in the prison population), yet he was sentenced based on regular standards.  Perhaps more time is needed to start seeing changes within sentencing as they have been envisioned at the Consensus Development Conference in September 2013.

Concerns over FASD funding review

Concerns over FASD funding review

Concerns over FASD funding review

By Heather Meagher, SBS News (October 15th, 2013) (Accessed: October 17th, 2013)

Commentary by Krystal Glowatski

This article addresses the need for FASD funding in Australia.  Previously, 20 million dollars was pledged to FASD by the Australian government, however it is unclear by this article if that money is for research, prevention, or support.  What is clear is that FASD is a major issue in Australia.  The funds that were previously set aside for FASD is now in jeopardy under the new government.

The article points out that, “…half of pregnancies are unplanned and with women binge-drinking more than ever, advocates say this funding is crucial.”  Alcohol abuse, and subsequently, FASD have become hot topics in Australia.  Currently a prevalence research study is being conducted in Fitzroy Crossing called “Marulu: The Lililwan Project”  (See: http://depts.washington.edu/fmffasd/fitzroy-valley for more information).  While alcohol use has been surrounded by research and debate, the rates of FASD in Australian communities is still largely unknown.

What we do know is the range of effects FASD can have on an individual who was exposed to alcohol in utero.  The young woman, Morgan, interviewed in this article has FASD and experiences struggles such as cognitive functioning (problems remembering and understanding) and behavioural issues such as frustration and anger.  While this young woman experiences such inflictions and has shown bravery in publicly discussing her disorder, many others in Australia and indeed, around the world, perhaps don’t even understand that they too are affected by FASD.  Funding is certainly needed to help those: 1) who are dealing with FASD daily, such as Morgan, 2) who don’t yet know what they’re dealing with, in determining a diagnosis, and 3) who are not born yet but have the potential to be effected by FASD.

To hear a recent interview with Morgan about her experience with FASD, see: