KTUU-TV report on a young woman’s decision to break FASD cycle. She was born with FASD and choose not to pass that on to her daughter. She stopped drinking when she found out that she was pregnant and remained sober for he sake of her child.
Ari Schablein, who has a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD, says she stopped drinking when she found out she was pregnant.
“I didn’t want to make the same mistakes I’ve known my whole life, since I’ve been able to understand what FAS was,” Schablein said. “I didn’t want to pass it on to my daughter.”
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other FASDs are an entirely preventable form of brain damaged caused by a mother drinking while pregnant. According to the state, 160 children in Alaska are born affected by prenatal alcohol exposure each year. The condition can have a profound impact on learning ability and behavior.
“The lifetime health and social costs, medical care, special education and specialized services are estimated to cost millions for each individual with FASD,” the governor’s office says in a proclamation declaring today as FASD Awareness Day in Alaska.
Schablein knows more about the disability than most. She was one of six children with FASD adopted by Carol Hatch, a former teacher who is now helping her children navigate adulthood in Anchorage.
Hatch says she teaches her children to deal with their problems the best way they know how and to look for the positive things. Still, she says, some of the children have had problems with school and the law.
“You deal with your problems the best way you know how,” Hatch said. “Things will get better, and things do get better.”
As a child, Schablein noticed school work became harder and harder as she grew older. She says she started feeling judged, and resented having to see tutors, which her peers would make fun of. She says she started skipping school as a result, and, later, she started drinking.
Schablein says she doesn’t blame her birth mother for her problems. She worries about her.
“I can’t be mad at her, I can’t force anyone to change,” Schablein said, “I can set guidelines for her to be able to see my daughter, but there’s no getting mad. There’s no getting mad because she struggles with addiction and I’m sure her parents did too.”
Now a young mother herself, Schablein said she hasn’t had a drink in two years.