Please let me introduce my only brother, Bob (Bobby, Robert). He is now 74 years young...three years older than my sister and seventeen years older than I.
Bob has suffered, undiagnosised, from FASD or FAS his entire life.
What is FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)/FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)?
Although it has been over 40 years since the harmful effects of prenatal alcohol exposure were identified in medical literature, the majority of individuals with FASD/FAS of ANY age are not properly diagnosed.
Unfortunately, service providers in various systems of care are not trained to identify and appropriately consider the needs of those, including adults/seniors with FASD.
There are no specialists in our immediate area here in Wisconsin.
Even among those who do recognize FASD, the focus is often on children and not adults/seniors with the disorder.
Diagnosis begins with the birth mother's willingness to come forward with the fact she consumed alcohol while pregnant.
By launching this gofundme, I hope to also bring awareness to the many adults/seniors who may be suffering, possibly undiagnosed, from FASD/FAS.
Symptoms of FASD/FAS include, but are not limited to the following:
*Difficulty with abstract concepts
*Inability to manage money
*Poor social skills
*Difficulty learning from
consequences (cause and effect)
*Immature social behavior
*Lack of control over emotions
*Poor impulse control
*Learning disability (illiterate)
*Inability to hold a job or find
....and many more depending on the degree of damage and how or if, the individual received the proper early intervention.
I was in my 20's when my mother first learned from a magazine article about FASD.
I found her crying, with her face in her hands..."It's my fault", she sobbed, "that Bob is the way he is! Your dad said, go ahead, it won't hurt anything!"
She was devastated! :(
Apparently, I was the only one she ever told. Unfortunately, I didn't give it much consideration at that time.
As of recently, remembering what my mother told me over 30 years ago, I decided to research FASD/FAS. I am convinced this is why my brother is mentally challenged.
I realize now how serious this condition is, for the sufferer and the families!
Being Bob's POA for health care and hoping that if I explained my concerns to Bob's doctor, he would be able to better understand him and be able to have better communication. But it seemed to fall on deaf ears.
Because doctors are not trained or well versed in adults/seniors suffering with suspected, undiagnosed FASD.
If there would have been understanding 70 years ago about the effects of drinking alcohol while pregnant, Bob could have gotten the proper treatment and intervention during childhood to have a chance for a better life today.
Our parents are passed away now. Bob was granted the Lease for Life on the old farmstead we grew up on. The conditions on the homestead have deteriorated the past decade. I don't have the finances it takes for the necessary repairs needed for Bob to continue to live there for very much longer. It is very difficult for individuals like Bob to adapt well, if at all, to group living conditions or apartments. That's why my goal is to build Bob a modest cabin on the homestead.
Bob was always eager to help out a friend or neighbor with odd jobs. He also took pride in repairing broken radios, clocks, toasters etc.
An individual with a good heart connected to a brain which has been damaged by FAS. One can only wonder what his life could have been if this wasn't the case.
I thank you all for taking time out of your busy day to read my story. (:
All donations, no matter the amount, are truly appreciated.
Thank you and God bless.
Sincerely, Betty May
Bobby's little sister.
- Pam Flaishans
- Trev R