*This is part III of a series on FAS, if you haven’t been following along, read part I and II to catch up!
Children like Rafal need more supervision than other children so their impulsiveness doesn’t get them into serious trouble.  Children with FAS ( and other capital letter syndromes) don’t mean to cause harm, they just don’t have the self-control or cause and effect thinking to keep themselves safe.

Over a decade ago, the Guire kids and I were at a friend’s house.  I was administering the standardized test to my friend, Patty’s daughter.  Patty, in exchange, was watching my children.  It was a warm spring day and the little guys played outside in the yard.  Gregory and Hunter slipped across the creek and into the woods.  The next thing I knew,  Patty burst into her home office, yelling, “Gregory started a forest fire!”

Fire trucks screamed up the driveway while an acre of undergrowth burned.  Gregory sat expressionless, watching his blaze eat away at the forest.  Hunter, weepy and repentant of not blowing the whistle sooner on his fire-starter brother, sat on the porch steps with his head in his hands.

 Wisps of smoke rose from the blackened ground and a firemen in heavy boots came for Gregory. He pulled him aside and lectured him on the danger of playing with fire.  I lectured myself  on trusting my children to someone who didn’t know how closely they needed to be watched.  I was horrified that Gregory had burned an acre of ground, but relieved that no one had gotten hurt.

On another occasion, Gregory came inside and said, “Mom, come outside and watch me!”

I followed him outside, watched him climb a tree, I opened my mouth to praise his agility when he came flying out of the tree, only to land on his stomach at my feet.  Air gushed out of his lungs in an audible whoosh.  I leaned over to comfort him, I stood dumbfounded when he jumped to his feet and staggered, breathless into the house.  I stood in the yard, a moment more, attempting to sort out the scene when a child’s voice spoke from the tree.

“Mom, he saw this guy on TV jump from branch to branch.  He thought he could do it.  I told him not to!”

This kind of behavior shows lack of understanding in the cause and effect realm.  Most children do some things impulsively-grabbing a cookie without asking, dipping fingers into icing (at the age of 2 or 3), dumping all the books on the floor from the bookshelf, just to see how it feels.  But, prolonged misunderstanding of cause and effect and impulsive behavior that endangers humans or animals is a result of a more serious syndrome.  If these stories are resonating with you and you think that your child may be suffering from FAS or another letter syndrome, it may be time to do some personal research.  If your child has already been diagnosed with FAS, then you may want to find some support and continue to self-educate.

It is a frustrating arena to do battle in.  when I began my research, all the articles I found stated that the treatment for FAS was ‘not to consume alcohol when pregnant’..  Gee thanks, but what do you do if its too late for that?  I read the lists of symptoms and then the treatment over and over.  I knew the symptoms.  I lived with them personified.  I devised my own plan of attack.  Thankfully, by the grace of God, I did some things right!  Thus far, I’ve only listed the results of FAS.  In the next week, I will lay out the plan of action that I followed and address the other consequences related to FAS, including the assumption that all these children also suffer from ADD or ADHD.
Join me next week!

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