Every day, Terry Hawks quietly helps hundreds of local residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities in his capacity as the Director of the Arc ofWashington County. But coming up next month, during the week of Sept. 8, there is one particular disorder that Hawks hopes to help raise the alarm about — fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
His motives are somewhat personal. He’s seen the devastation that can be caused by this completely preventable disorder first hand. He and his wife adopted a child they named Aleena whose birth mother had consumed alcohol during her pregnancy.
“We adopted our daughter when she was 3 days old,” said Hawks. ”But she developed an enlarged liver at one month, and we took her to the University of Utah. Back in 1976 when she was born, they weren’t sure they could do anything, they said her liver would grow so fast it would explode and she would die.”
Aleena’s liver did not explode, but she did spend two months in the hospital.
“The doctors didn’t give her a very good prognosis; they said she’ll never live past 2, then they said she’ll never walk. She was slow, but she eventually did walk, she did go to school, she had to attend special education classes but she did graduate,” said Hawks. “She has lived her whole life dealing with this disorder, she’s never been able to work independently she’s never been able to live independently.”
At 39, Aleena lives with her step-mother in Ogden and works as a teacher’s aide in a third-grade classroom at Freedom Elementary School in Roy. She likes to read – she’s a big fan of the Harry Potter series – and she likes to travel. She’s been to Germany, Italy, Spain, the Panama Canal, Alaska and Hawaii with her family on vacation.
“I like spending time with family and seeing other sites, just seeing the country and stuff,” said Aleena.
Found on: http://www.thespectrum.com/story/life/2015/08/07/spreading-awareness-fetal-alcohol-spectrum-disorder/31292691/