FASD Elephant™ #011: The Secondary Disabilities of FASD

People with FASD (including FAS) have both primary and secondary disabilities. Secondary disabilities are those disabilities that arise because of a mismatch between the brain damage and factors in the environment–they are not directly caused from the brain damage.

Secondary disabilities are usually the hardest part of FASD once we’ve grieved and accepted the primary FASD diagnosis. They are the conditions that we must often respond to and deal with, and they can cause a lot of confusion, tension, frustration and feelings of giving up.

Secondary Disabilities of FASD

Streissguth, et al (1996) conducted a four year study on the secondary disabilities of 415 individuals with FASD and found six secondary disabilites:

  1. Mental Health Problems – 90% of the 415 had mental health conditions of any type; 61% had ADHD and more than 50% had depression.
  2. Disrupted School Experiences – Over 60% had disruptions in school… from suspensions to drop-out.
  3. Trouble with the Law – 60% had trouble with the law, with shoplifting and theft the most common crime.
  4. Confinement – 50% had been confined, either incarcerated, inpatient mental health hospitalization, or inpatient chemical dependency treatment.
  5. Inappropriate Sexual Behavior – 49% had displayed inappropriate sexual behavior, most common was sexual advances, sexual touching, and promiscuity.
  6. Alcohol and Drug Problems – 35% had chemical abuse problems.

These are discussed in the podcast. You can listen directly from your computer or mobile device with the player above or subscribe in iTunes and take it with you.

The Story of Iyal:
Short Video of One Family’s Experience with FASD and its Secondary Disabilities

This video was produced by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Feedback or comments about the podcast may be sent to: Michael__at__FASDElephant__dot__com.

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