Housing for individuals affected by Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

Since I moved to the Washington, D.C. area in 2001, I have wanted to develop a community for individuals affected by prenatal alcohol exposure – also known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).  Two years ago, I founded 7th Generation Foundation, Inc. in order to begin the development process, including identifying a property to relocate my private practice and have a “home base” for 7th Generation to live and grow.  We now have Dream Catcher Farm in Potomac, a therapeutic farm animal sanctuary where children, adolescents and adults with effects of prenatal alcohol exposure can be evaluated, treated, and receive vocational skills while interacting with gentle farm animals.  While Dream Catcher Farm is still evolving, our board is on its way toward establishing a therapeutic community for young women affected within the womb by our social drug of choice, alcohol.

This article from Canada makes it clear that we are on the right track.  Individuals with FASD require supportive, safe, affordable housing with the opportunity to assist with job training and coaching, life skills, time management, organization, household responsibilities, grocery shopping, and other daily living skills that many of us take for granted.  Looking forward to an article like this being posted one day about the therapeutic community we will build!

Edmonton housing for people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders first of its kind in Canada


And the Emmy goes to…”A LONG JOURNEY HOME”

” A Long Journey Home” (in Romanian…”Lungul drum spre casa”), a documentary about Dr. Ron Federici and his three adopted sons, reveals their traumatic history and the terrible conditions in Romanian orphanages. The film won an international award for journalism with NY Film festivals and was nominated for an Emmy. It has been shown worldwide receiving great acclaim. Ron Federici, his sons, and the documentary producers were courageous in shedding light on the human rights atrocities in Romanian orphanages.  The film will bring tears to your eyes and hope will fill your heart in learning about Petric who Dr. Federici rescued from an orphanage and went on to graduate from the George Washington University Medical School.
Dr. Ronald S. Federici is a Board Certified Clinical-Developmental Neuropsychologist and a member of CEO-Care for Children International, Inc.

The Guardian – Stop Treating Mentally Ill Children Like Criminals

The Guardian – Stop treating mentally ill children like criminals

This article highlights unthinkable social injustices and human rights discrimination against children and adolescents at their most vulnerable time – during a psychiatric emergency.  Individuals with ND-PAE are often misdiagnosed with or have co-occurring mental illness as a result of their neurodevelopmental disabilities.   When they do have need of inpatient psychiatric services, most are ill-equipped to treat their complex neurodevelopmental issues.  Because they have a hard time understanding consequences and avoiding peer pressure, they are at high risk of delinquent behavior and may end up in detention centers or jail.  There is need for more comprehensive, specialized programs and services for adolescents with ND-PAE and other neuropsychiatric conditions, not just warehousing them away from society.

Early intervention programs to identify exposed infants and toddlers with ND-PAE, as well as raising awareness about how early in pregnancy these problems happen (therefore primary prevention includes preconception health and family planning for alcohol users). Individuals with ND-PAE are at much higher risk of teen pregnancy, poor parenting skills, and subsequent child welfare issues because of low adaptive functioning skills.  Often, the way they were parented leads to their parenting style being harsh and punitive. Their limited coping skills, poor frustration tolerance, and lack of resourcefulness leaves them at much higher risk of neglect and abuse of their own children.  It is important for them to have access to injectable, implantable, and other long term, effective contraception to improve their life skills and community supports prior to pregnancy.

Putting a child in jail to await a psychiatric evaluation is like putting an elderly person with a broken hip in jail while waiting for a bed at a rehabilitation program. When are we going to start valuing the emotional well being of our most precious resource?  The children are our future and we must protect them at all cost!

More information on ND-PAE and criminal justice issues on our blog

Challenges of individuals with FASD. “Lives and crimes: Kids who suffer foetal alcohol spectrum disorder”

American Bar Association Resolution on FASD: A Call to Action for the Criminal Justice System

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and it’s consequences…

The Story of 10 year old Annie Who Lives with FASD

Recently, states have been restructuring the departments of health and human services to provide more comprehensive, consolidated care in a systematic way rather than through disjointed bureaucracies of the past half century.  Departments of Mental Health, Public Health, Substance Abuse Services, and Developmental Disabilities – all essentially serving the 12% of the population in the socially disenfranchised underclass – are being reorganized to provide a holistic approach to better serve the underserved populations and disadvantaged.

With change comes concern that even the best intentions may lead to more people falling through the cracks. One mother is fighting to raise awareness about the risk that children like her adoptive daughter with FASD will be lost in the remodeling of health and social service agencies.  “Her little world got robbed. She doesn’t experience things like everybody else does.”


Let’s all join our voices together to ensure that this restructuring actually helps to fill the gaps between service agencies by eliminating some of the bureaucracy and make it easier for families to access services.

“Living With FASD” offers 22 free webinars throughout september to parents, families and professionals to help support those with FASD

Living With FASD 2014 Summit: Building a Bridge to Adulthood
25+ hours of online training for families & professionals living and working with those with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)
September 9th – 20th, 2014

Though this year’s theme is “Building a Bridge to Adulthood” the information given is as important to those caring for individuals with FASD who are younger than their teen years. It is important to be familiarized with systems and specific services and have them put in place as early as possible.

Experts will share practical approaches to prevention, and support strategies—from their professional and personal experience. The webinars will provide up to date training in the following 7 topics:

  1. Independence vs. Interdependence: Those with FASD will require external support for their lifetime (systems and other people acting as an external brain), thus interdependence is a more realistic goal rather than full independence;
  2. Substance Use and Treatment: 46% will face issues of substance use in their lifetime;
  3. Mental Health: 90% will experience some kind of mental health issue (suicide, depression, ADHD, etc.);
  4. Legal Issues: 60+% will have trouble with the law or be confined, mainly due to a lack of understanding between cause and effect;
  5. Vocation and Employment: Understanding the difference between personal and work relationships, being “on time”, and handling money;
  6. Sex: Engaging in inappropriate sexual behaviour (either as victim or perpetrator) and not understanding all responsibilities involved when having children of their own;
  7. New Research: Prominent FASD researcher Dr. Ed Riley speculates that brain maturation in those with FASD can occur 10 years later than their peers (find out why this is good news!).

A huge advantage of these series of webinars is that they are easily accessible from the comfort of your home, workplace or even on the road.

– See more and register at: http://livingwithfasd.com/#sthash.3Cjf60hp.dpuf