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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

FAS evaluation for Silas

I have been reluctant to post about this topic, mainly because I have been leaving it in the back of mind. I have not wanted to address it head-on, but hopefully blogging about it will help me work through it. Since January of this year, my son, Silas, has been a monster. He is impulsive, destructive, has no regard for what I say or for what consequences I assign to various poor behaviors. If Silas wants to do something, he does it - regardless of what anyone says or what will follow afterwards. It is a DAILY battle and one that I frequently feel I am losing. After the behaviors began, I saw a pattern that I had seen Iryna. I mentioned this to Tyler. He said that Silas was just a rowdy boy. My motherly instinct told me otherwise. After time, Tyler began to notice things that reminded him of Iryna, too.

Silas in Russia. Note the smooth philtrum and thin upper lip.

Iryna in Ukraine. Smooth philtrum, thin upper lip, small head circumference, small eyes.

At length, I determined that I was going to have Silas tested for alcohol exposure. Last week I met with Dr Schulteis and he did a 90 minute evaluation. He looked at behaviors, facial markers, reviewed Silas' medical history from Russia (we had it translated in FL to English). In the end, it was clear that Silas did, indeed, have alcohol exposure. The best part of the whole process was hearing Dr Schulteis tell me that Silas' behavior was NOT normal and that he is a very difficult child, behaviorally. This was such a comfort to me - to be heard and understood and validated. The next step is to have an MRI to see if there is any brain damage visible from the alcohol exposure. According to Dr Schulteis, he said that currently he can say that Silas has FAE (Fetal Alcohol Effects) and if the MRI shows brain damage, then it will be the full blown FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) which is what Iryna has. I will, of course, update here after Silas' MRI is completed.

As for how I feel about this glad you asked. It's HARD. I cry almost daily. I want to hide underneath a rock or play games on my phone or sleep. At the same time, I want to be a good mama to all my children, including Silas. I am trying to make a schedule that will be easier for me to succeed in this effort. I have signed up for a Mother's Day Out schedule that is once a week. If the public schools recognize the results from Dr Schulteis, then Silas should qualify for an IEP and get to go to a special ed preschool in the fall. I am a better mama to Silas if I do not have him All. Day. Long. I do hope that in the future I can handle more time with him, but for now I am struggling so much that I feel like I'm in survival mode from the moment I wake up and hear what a wreck his had made. I want to make sure that the time we have together is mostly positive time. I've never been a proponent of preschool, but Silas has been going the past few months and it's been so nice! But now, preschool is over and summer is here. Wish me luck.


Heather Zanfardino said...

I am sorry, it is always hard to deal with mental health issues. I had to chime in here for a minute. I don't know if you know or are aware of respite care providers in your area . We took advantage of respite care when Howie was becoming to much for me to manage all day. I was a respite provider for another family for a short time. Since you have two children who would benefit from this type of short break you might look into it. Medicare/Medicaid covers the cost in some states in others it is covered by voucher from mental health agencies. Howie enjoyed his respite care, he would love when they would get to come visit, during the summer we would have them come about twice a month. On a side note you might see if your home or visiting teachers would be willing to take a child out for the afternoon. I have found that when the child with mental health issues get one on one time, they have better behaviors over all. This is not scientific data just me personally, and not much of my mental health experience is with FAS. Like I said you may already know all this, because you are a really good Mom, there are loads of kids out there who are not as lucky. They have to face the FAS almost all alone because they are being raised by the same people who caused the problem in the first place.

Anonymous said...


Condolences to you on the situation, but bravo for knowing the signs, knowing your son, and seeking for answers and help! You are a good mother who cares. You are not perfect, but who is???? Certainly not my parents (at least in my mind). I know I'll never be a perfect parent. Remember that it is OK to struggle, to admit that you struggle. There is freedom in allowing yourself to be OK with being human. You'll find a way to work with this. I believe in you!


Anonymous said...

So sorry that you are going through this. I know how difficult it is. I still cry regularly with regards to my ds and his fasd diagnosis. And it has been an upward battle getting him access to the resources that he needs. And being the type of mother that he needs...and the type of mother that my other kids need! Glad that you are getting some respite. Take care.

Sylvia said...

(((hugs))) - you are doing a great job!! It's ok (and *healthy*) to admit that it's a struggle - allow yourself time to acknowledge that out loud, and we can share in the struggle a bit with you! Those wonderful kids have a wonderful mother - I know it! :) LOVE YOU! Hang in there during those tougher moments - you are loved!

Anonymous said...

What types of behavioural problems does he have? He doesn't look like FAS.