Mini Paper 2
Fetal alcohol Syndrome
What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)?
FAS is the leading cause of mental retardation in the U.S. today. FAS affects approximately 1 in every 500 born in North America. Motheras drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy causes FAS. FAS is characterized by:
i Smaller heads
i Deformed facial features (small widely spaced eyes, underdeveloped jaw, thin upper lip, and short upturned nose).
i Abnormal joints and limbs- these include deformities of the small joints of the hands as well as an incomplete rotation at the elbow.
i Poor coordination
i Problems with learning- difficulty sequencing, difficulty understanding cause and effect, and weak generalizing skills.
i Short memories
i Medical problems- vision problems, hearing problems, epilepsy, renal failure, heart failure, and death.
i Inappropriate behavior- poor impulse control and poor judgement.
How FAS Affects Functioning In School:
Beginning with infancy, the children have problems at feeding and are highly irritable. They also exhibit unpredictable sleeping and eating patterns, which make it hard for the baby to be cared for and for maternal bonding to occur. During development, both physical and mental, FAS children have very fine and poor motor coordination skills and it becomes very apparent at the preschool age. They also are very affectionate but at the same time very hyperactive, which makes it a problem for the teachers who have them in class to deal with. This is why they are, during the first few years of school, given the diagnoses of having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): this diagnoses is given because of there high activity level, short attention span, and poor short term memory. Many of these children require special education help regardless of the fact that their IQ falls between the normal range. Their hyperactivity calls for them to receive special attention that normal teachers cannot and at most times will not give them. As FAS children grow into FAS adults, their level of development and how they developed begins to show in everything they do. Since their social and mental health has been compromised as adults they exhibit inadequate communication skills, impulsivity, poor judgement, trouble with abstract thinking, and limited problem solving skills. With all these problems they often have difficulty holding down a job because of their unreliability, lack of social skills, and functional illiteracy.
Without appropriate support services, these individuals have a high risk of developing secondary disabilities such as mental illness, getting into trouble with the law, abusing alcohol and other drugs, and unwanted pregnancies. A calm, nurturing, learning environment is vital for children with FAS. There are many different teaching strategies tailored to meet each individuals need. Children with FAS learn more when the curriculum is taught in the context of the studentas daily life.
Many doctors with recognized expertise recommend most children with FAS do best with a combination of Stimulant and Selective Seratonin Receptive Inhibitor (SSRI).