As the parent of a daughter affected by alcohol in utero and after almost 30 years as a counseling psychologist, I sought to learn more about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder to help my daughter find her way through life…and to have a “good life” regardless of her disability. This journey has led me to:
- Study books and journal articles about FASD written for professionals and others for parents and for those with an FASD
- Travel to British Columbia for international conferences in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016
- Attend intensive three day workshops by Diane Malbin in Portland, OR and in Asheville, NC
- Utilize the growing trend of professional training through webinars on FASD
- Take part in local continuing education opportunities regarding FASD
- Start a support group for caregivers of those with a suspected or diagnosed FASD in 2010 in the Triangle of North Carolina
- Participate in a weekend retreat in the mountains of North Carolina with my daughter and other families affected by FASD
- Take part in a weekend retreat in Ohio for adults with FASD (in my case, my daughter) and their caregivers
Throughout this journey, I have learned about how many women drink while they are pregnant, the many ways that exposure to alcohol in utero manifests itself in individuals throughout the life cycle, and how appropriate interventions and services can assist them.
At the same time, I have continued to be concerned about how many professionals from a wide variety of disciplines remain uneducated about the characteristics and appropriate educational modifications, interventions and services for those with an FASD, to say nothing about its mere existence. But this realization has also led me to understand that my background as a psychologist, professor, trainer, and university administrator provided me with a unique background to share my knowledge with others.