Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Holiday Tips for Children with Fetal Alcohol

Tool Tips from The Trenches
Holiday Tips by Liz Kulp  

I prefer my life stable... every day I have a plan I can maintain. It keeps me on track. When the world moves so fast around me it is important that I take care of myself.

1. Make appointments on the same day and the same time. Taking a break from an appointment may be a break for you, but for me it messes up my consistency.

2. Shop during quiet times when the lines are the shortest. For me this is late afternoon when I have eaten and am rested. When many people are still at work and before they "stop" at the store to get supper food. I still hate standing in line. I get anxious. I impulse buy. If it is going to be busy - I take someone along to stand in line while I go to the bathroom and regroup.

3. Be respectful of my understanding "I don't do sarcasm" Words can hurt. When I have been hurt enough times I lash out. The problem is I don't always know when I don't understand. Most times I understand "EXACTLY" what you said - just not what you meant.

4. Even as an adult I have sensory issues. Fluorescent lights still make my world move around me and give me headaches. It is hard for me to sit for long periods of time without getting up. I still need to move often to remain calm.

5. Wrap my gifts simply. All the tape and ribbons frustrate me and by the time I have opened the gift - I am less appreciative. Seriously gift bags or a filled stocking is great!

6. Provide some of my comfort foods. There are certain things I like to eat and though I am willing to try most things my teeth and mouth still do not do carrots, celery or nuts. For me it's the crunch I can't munch. The texture I can't do. The temperature of the food also can be irritating. I know it is a sensory thing and I have tried to overcome it, but those two things still remain. Let me substitute some of my choices - I try to pick two new - and then stay with my tried and true.

7. Let me use a flat bowl instead of a fancy dinner plate. I will not be embarrassed because I am using a bowl, but I will feel bad if I spill food on your fancy tablecloth. My coordination is not always on task and it is easier for me to pick up my food. Give me the option of plastic glasses without stemware. Understand that if I leave the table during the meal - I may be getting overwhelmed.

8. Know that it takes me longer to understand new events, new places and new people. When all of these things happen at the same time if can be over-stimulating.

9. Don't speak down to me. Use normal language and stick to the facts. I love people. I love to laugh and I am a good friend to others. Take time to get to know who I really am - not by appearances or mistaken actions.

10. Have a Happy Holiday - find something to take care of you. We need resource people who are calm, friendly and honest in a kind way with us. Have a good year - Liz.

Click book to purchase - Thanks, Liz!
Excerpt from BRAIDED CORD - This could be a good present for someone you love (Liz)




Together we grew... we changed... we learned.
(Excerpt page 19)
"People underestimate me. They believe I cannot do things and what they don't get is when I believe, I can do whatever I need to. It is a matter of choice and focus. It is a matter of feeling safe and capable. Oh yeah, and hard, hard work."

We hope our disastrous journey-which has ended in joy -fills your family or practice with ideas to help others with FASDs. - Jodee

The Kulp Family congratulates our daughter, Liz, on her
independence and over FOUR FULL years of sobriety.
Braided Cord was compiled from her 8 years of journals.  
Visit Liz's Website at www.BraidedCord.net 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

16 Places to Replace Lost Important Papers #FASD

Need a helping hand to replace missing papers?

Floods... avalanches... storms... accidents... or ... dog help?

What does it mean to replace one simple social security card for a job interview?

Two weeks ago we were able to find out - a one hour very cold, damp and windy line outside the back door of social security office the line eventually was 150 feet long... a veteran amputee too cold to wait and people at the front of the line too unwilling to trade places... then through TSA clearance including wanding... one restroom with a waiting line... then 80 minute wait on metal seats before we saw a very sympathetic person who apologized for the new centralized processing. We walked out with the paper needed for employment and the card arrived in 10 days.

For those of us who love persons with hidden differences - replacing paperwork may just begin to take us a lot more time and inconvenience. Please DRESS warm, bring your umbrella, and pack a snack for those with blood sugar issues.

A special thank you to FEMA(Release Number: NR-084). For those of us who work with persons who can easily misplace, have stolen or lose paperwork - including the DOG ATE IT - this list is really helpful and timely.

The following is a partial list of ways to get duplicates of destroyed or missing documents:
  1. Birth and Death Certificates – Birth and death certificates can be replaced by visiting your county vital records office or on line http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm
  2. Marriage Certificates – The online link for replacement of marriage certificates is http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm
  3. Marriage Dissolutions (divorces) – The online link for divorce decree replacements is http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm
  4. Adoption Decrees – The State District Courts link for adoption records - if the adoption was finalized in that state - is http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w.htm
  5. Immigration Documents – Contact your county office or the site below for citizenship, immigration, permanent resident card (green card), employment authorization, re-entry permit and more. uscis.gov
  6. Driver Licenses – Visit any state driver license office with acceptable identification and proof of address. Fee required.
  7. Vehicle Registration, License Tab or Title – Contact your county motor vehicle office. You will need proof of insurance and state vehicle emissions. Fees administered by county.  http://tinyurl.com/m2hchyh
  8. Passport – Complete form DS-64 from http://tinyurl.com/ld6z28k
  9. Military Records – Request Standard Form 180 (SF-180) from any office of the Veterans Administration, American Legion, VFW or Red Cross, or download from http://tinyurl.com/lnu2pmt
  10. Mortgage Papers – Contact your lending institution
  11. Property Deeds – Contact the recorder’s office in the county where the property is located
  12. Insurance Policies – Contact the insurance company for replacement papers
  13. Social Security Card – Go to a Social Security Administration office. You also can request a copy of your Social Security statement online www.ssa.gov
  14. Transcript of Your Tax Return – Call nearest Treasury Department office, IRS office or 800-829-3646; request form 4506. To find your local IRS office, go to http://tinyurl.com/mvk5dvu
  15. Savings Bonds/Notes – Complete Form PDF 1048 (Claim for Lost, Stolen or Destroyed U.S. Savings Bonds); available by calling 304-480-6112 or at www.treasurydirect.gov/forms/sav1048.pdf
  16. Credit Cards – American Express, 800-528-4800; Discover, 800-347-2683; MasterCard, 800-622-7747; Visa, 800-847-2911

Saturday, October 26, 2013

3 Quick Tips to help Persons with #FASD

3 Quick tips from Hunter
  1. Something “NEW” used to blow me away. When I am learning a new thing, I feel like a vulnerable little kid who got stomped on by a bully. Change used to make my mind spin out because I do not have any of the next pieces to connect the puzzle. I live in NOW time and sometimes NEXT time, but not later, maybe or other non-concrete times. I will always have to be retaught and learning something new takes repetitive training in many areas without different things happening around me.
  2. Please don’t overwhelm me. My brain walks, it doesn’t do jogging.I can think, I can figure things out and I can do many things people never expected me to do.
  3. Believe me I have years of being the person who was bullied practice.So, before, to protect myself, I used to be verbally aggressive, scream and swear and shred the person apart. The bad part was that even though I had a reason to have that feeling, I felt dirty and my words after they left my mouth stuck on the other person like the dirty words a bully had stuck on me. It was a very bad circle and it didn't make anyone do better or create positive or kind energy. When I communicate with my eyes and don't open my mouth with feelings I should not or am not ready to share, without saying anything, I wait, I watch and I show them I have belief in their ability to finally get it and understand me.

Are you looking for support for a bullying situation in your school or community. Hunter Sargent reaches out to help young people understand the viewpoints of each site and come to a place of caring instead of tearing!

Email Hunter to learn about his classroom presentations nativewarrior94@hotmail.com 

Support Hunter's work by purchasing his new CD - all proceeds go directly to his Bully Prevention Project. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Adult with Fetal Alcohol is 1 of 5 Finalists - Go Ken Moore

Live Abilities Change Agent Ken Moore 
Is Stepping Out!

Ken wanted me to share his picture and thank everyone for voting and promoting his new book "Makin' It"

"I need your votes!" says Ken - visit http://dream.realeconomicimpact.org/ to vote for him!
"Please share this blog and get the word out to your friends and family help me win."

My dream is to eventually create a gallery/coffee shop in a natural environment for persons with challenges to share the beautiful work they create.

Ken Moore was selected as a finalist in National Disability Institute's 3nd Annual "My American Dream - Voices of Americans with Disabilities" Video Contest.

If you like Ken's video and want him to win the Grand Prize of $1,000, a digital tablet of his choice, and sessions with a mentor to help his dream come true, visit http://dream.realeconomicimpact.org/ to vote for him!

Ken's newly released "Makin it" is available for purchase. Mr. Moore is available for speaking at conferences, community events and schools to promote healthy living and opportunity for persons with life challenges.

Live Abilities creates micro business opportunities for persons facing life challenges due to prenatal alcohol exposure.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Adoption "Where The Systems Have Failed Both Children and Families"

Adoption in the media again.
Adoption Horror Stories and the Rehoming Stories.  

By Ann Yurcek 

Republished with permission
First published Oct 1, 2013

The Child Exchange.. America's Underground Market for Adopted Children

This time with a big way... Rehoming. Adoptive parents who became so desperate that they resorted to moving their children to another home without going through proper channels.

First I will not condone any of the actions of the parents who put their adoptive children in jeopardy, but I can understand just how desperate they could be.

This blog post is going to be complex, but it is a complex problem that causes parents to give up on their children. I hope this helps to put another spin on it but with research to support my arguments.
Not media hype.

I saw glimpses of this as it was happening over the years and stayed away from any of the discussions and discussion boards on the subject.  A couple of times on other groups the subject came up and I talked about finding the help through the proper channels. Starting with the Mental Health, Adoption Support, their insurance and Medicaid and tried to help some parents find scarce help.

Back in 2000 I wrote a letter in the middle of the night. My thoughts about having to tell my daughter that she was going to have to go back to vary system she came from to find the mental health services she so desperately needed.  I searched and searched and found no hope or help for her.  I tried every door and found that the system was not set up to help parents who found themselves in our situation.

I found the little known secret of failed adoptions.
Adoption Disruption and Dissolution from the Child Welfare Gateway 

Some of those circumstances from lack of knowledge about what it takes and think love is enough. Sometimes it is because of often not disclosed information. Most often it is the lack of proper supports. For those who find themselves with children with severe complex needs, it is a lonely world.

I know that in our own circumstances, we were not allowed to see any of the records and they did not disclose that our children were not general level of care kids. We were promised that none of the group of kids had any needs that would put other children in jeopardy as we had our own children and a medically fragile child to think about.  But we found ourselves with four of them who were in therapeutic foster care and the three seventeen page psychologicals on the kids were never shown us that they were much more needy than we were told. Never-the-less we did not give up even if had been fraud. We had made a promise.

Even more on the tragedy of custody relinquishment to garner Mental Health Services.

Custody Relinquishment from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Even biological families were forced to put their mentally ill children into the care systems to garner services. But Adoptive Families had to do it to. To return them to the systems to get services suitable to condition and often times residential treatment if one could find one.

Those reports highlighted what I had learned. That systems are not equipped to handle our most complex children and families find themselves struggling to find competent help  that is hard to come by.  One has to exhaust all services and then there are few options. Hospitalizations and residential treatment are hard to come by and often will not except our seriously disturbed children.

I fought hard and did not give up custody and learned to fight for my daughter and her right to family. But most families will not be as lucky as I was. 

Families who have adopted from the foster care system and the worlds child caring institutions. We have no safety net when we find ourselves with children too severe to attach or too damaged to remain in the home safely.  We are vilified for not loving them enough, not caring enough, for throwing away a child. The more of these stories, the harder it is for parents to reach out for help as we are judged, juried, convicted for not loving our children enough or doing enough to help them heal from the ghosts of their pasts.  But it is much more complex than that. 

We need a support system all the way from better training  and support from the adoption agencies, health and mental health care systems, child welfare, schools and communities supports.

We adoptive parents who take on these children, sometimes unknowingly are Parenting Complex Children.  


Some once told me that they are Genetically loaded (they inherit the parents genetic predisposition). There is actually a study going on to see if prenatal alcohol exposure changes genetic structures.

Many will be prenatally exposed. A parents substance abuse issues often put these children into the care of the states and countries. A new study confirms what we parents have known for awhile.
Fetal Alcohol Common in Adopted and Foster Kids   
Neurobehavioral disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure. They look normal but can't do normal and normal parenting strategies do not work.

Children who face poverty, neglect and abuse can have neurocognitive issues. Their brains changed by their earlier experiences.
Neurocognitive Impacts for Children of Poverty and Neglect from the American Psychological Association.

Most will have at least some mental health issues of some sort from their trauma they have face. The majority are milder or moderate, but some can be severe. For older child adoptions we need to expect Post traumatic stress disorders. Trust issues, and Attachment Disturbances. Why wouldn't they?
They are removed from the only people they knew, put in institutional settings, or disrupted placements.

Often kids act out their stress and those behaviors can cause multiple placements. The child also learns that nothing is permanent and if you are bad enough, you move on and you don't need to attach and trust.

Parents have answered the call to give children homes, not just from the worlds institutions but from the foster care system in our own country. Many parents go through the trainings and say what they can and can't deal with. But often times the problems will not appear until later when the child can't hit their developmental milestones that it will become apparent or puberty hits.  
I remembered reading early on a statistics of adoption disruptions and dissolutions.
Adoption Statistics: Disruption and Dissolution from Adoption.com.

This not a new problem and these are not new numbers. 
This article written long before the push to move children from foster care into adoptive homes.

We when adopt the children, we make promises to care for them and help them to the best of our abilities. But for some parents, they find themselves with a child that nothing seems to help. Sometimes the more you love them, the more you try to care for them, or parent them. The worse it becomes.  Adoptive parents reach for therapists, books, strategies and anything they can grasp for and often times the worse the situation gets.  I remember the conflicting advice I got from the five different treating professionals in the differing spheres of my sibling set of 5. The advice from one conflicted with the advice of another, and learned to trust my own intuition and fire the ones that were worsening my children's conditions.  The Reactive Attachment Therapies do not work well for kids prenatally exposed with alcohol. They actually worsen them. Then the schools with their behavior modifications that do not work with FASD and then the triangulation of the child pitting unattached people against the caregivers. It is a set up for Adoptive Parent Burn Out and a child in danger of blowing out of a home.

Parents are finding themselves having to run residential treatment facilities without any training or support. I have seen adoptive parents/kinship caregivers have to manage kids that have been released from psychiatric hospitals because they could not be managed there. Thrown out of schools for misbehavior's and left to function solo. All the while trying to be on guard 24/7 to protect the child, the other children and even themselves from catastrophe.

The failures of the mental health system in our country for children are written.
America's Failing Mental Health System, America's Struggle to Find Quality Care

But for the complex children from the care system, they are stuck in a place where the care systems and mental health clash. They are always the others responsibility.  For those who bring in kids from other countries they are in a No Man's Land and often on their own.

I have added to this piece a chart.  My favorite with sharing just how complex these children can be. Overlapping Characteristics.  I once asked a person in power in the state mental health system. Where is the evidence based practice for my children?  He didn't answer, except with the statement you are?

What I learned is that I had to trust my intuition, leave no stone unturned, I had to fight for my daughter, but also know that I had to keep everyone safe. 

Overlapping Characteristics Download PDF

But the systems of help in our country are failure based. Not preventative. The medical system can diagnose the prenatal exposures, but can help us understand the cause. The Children's Mental Health system is not the right place for those prenatally exposed to alcohol but often can help those with the complexities of abuse and neglect issues.  But as children mirror the behaviors of others others, these children learn from their peers and those behaviors often worsen in the home. But the lack of competent support for those from the care systems is a challenge.  For my kids the Mental Health system and the groups for those kids actually worsened my kids disorders.  Knock on the door of Adoption Support and often they tell you you have to use your insurance and Medicaid first.  But that is another series of Medicaid stories about that failures for the most vulnerable of children.

But our kids have no coordinated Silo to find support. Many of the children from the care systems are often of normal intelligence, so developmental disabilities services will not help us. Mental Health services are a poor fit and the strategies do not work with children with prenatal brain injuries. Those lucky enough to present as having autistic tendencies may find services under the Autism Umbrella. 

I was told to look for help in places that were not equipped to handle our needs. I was not an abusive parent, I was not a neglectful parent. I had a daughter too dangerous and damaged to live at home. I was ordered by the Community Mental Health System that I had 60 days to relinquish our daughter and to dissolve the adoption or be charged with abandonment. That document came up missing and I had thought to stow a copy hidden where no one would look for it.  Someone told me that when you go public documents burn. 

I had been warned that if we abandoned my daughter in the state hospital, we would face charges and the loss of our other children, not just the adopted sibling set, but our own biological children.  The care system trumps parents say, bring this child home or possibly lose your other children, your professional licenses, and be put on the abuse and neglect registry. It is Least Restrictive Setting that is used to say that ALL children belong in the homes and then it is our fault that we are ill equipped to meet their needs.  Even when someone gets hurt, we need to go against the recommendations from the professionals that we need to have them home to attach.

If you have to place your child into foster care system, the adoptive parents often lose their adoption subsidies if they are lucky enough to have one if you adopted from the US or if you adopted internationally you will be charged with the cost of the child's care.  I have even seen where an adoptive parent was charged and they took not only the child's adoption subsidy but the adopted siblings subsidy as well and handed the adoptive parent the bill from the state and put liens on the parents home. The same state that adopted the child to the couple and the agency hid the records.  Adoptive parents are often charged with paying for the court fees to get help from the justice system when the Child Welfare and Mental Health Services fail. Too many adoptive parents face calling the police as the option of last resort. Followed by the knock on the door from the Child Protective Service Workers.

No wonder why parents take into desperate measures to find support, the wrong way. Because has anyone tried to Navigate the MAZE to find help for those most vulnerable of children who are the small percentages of kids whose needs are great. Some of us who find ourselves with a child with intense needs, we will get secondary trauma not just for the parent, but the siblings as well.

PTSD in Parents of Children with RAD

We are held accountable for the failures of the Child Welfare, Adoption and Child Mental Health Systems, Medicaid, Insurance and Schools to have a Continuum of Care and a Safety Net.  and it is time for all of us to stand up for finding Post adoption support services and a continuum of care for the  the adoptive children and families so they can honor the promises. For those of us who have adopted from the United States Foster Care System we need not just a check, we need real help and not be judged and serviced by the child protective services the same care system that our kids came from.

We need a post adoption program and laws that will protect our families from the catastrophic costs of having a child with severe issues.

We need the media to focus not just about the adoption horror stories, but real stories of real families fighting the odds to try to help very complex fragile children.  We need evidence based adoption conscious services and supports in all the service sectors and those parents will not resort to give up on their adoptive children.  And for those children who do not fit into the adoptive home, we need laws that no do penalize the family for trying to find healing for the child and for everyone involved.  It should not be seen as failure, but just another place to meet the needs of the child. 

We did not give up on my daughter, or her siblings, but we did pay a price. Many an adoptive parent said that they were more traumatized not by trying to help their child.  The trauma of the lack of support and navigating the systems if often times are much more damaging than our circumstances.

Postscript: My daughter is now 28 and she still has a family to advocate on her behalf and call home to and we have gone on to adopt another little guy with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome plus a host of other problems and he is thriving. We have full disclosure, we will do whatever and find whatever it takes to give him the love and supports to thrive. But we also know that we cannot heal his prenatal brain damage but love him and nuture him through his challenges.

A followup to our story written for the North American Council for Adoptable Children in 2003

Saturday, August 17, 2013

How to keep squirrels from eating garden tomatoes!

Squirrel terrorist will not feast this year on my produce!

I love my garden and last year I battled squirrels stealing my produce before I could pick it. There were tomatoes with bites on tree stumps, there was actually a line of tomatoes down my neighbors driveway - all with one bite each and there were tomatoes left on my walking trail. The smaller tomatoes where seen in trees - bright red orbs waiting for later feasting.

One again this year, squirrel terrorists raided my garden sometime when no one was watching. They got my first tomato and they ate my first green pepper - I was tired of battles - 

I was going to win this squirrel war and I DID for less than $20.00 and a trip to the sporting good store, the hardware store and the dollar store!

Here's the strategy:

38 fluorescent ping pong balls, one can of red plastic spray
paint, a jar of cayenne pepper, tongs and an old bowl
 1. Pour Cayenne pepper in bowl
2. Holding a ball with the tongs spray with paind
3. Using a tong roll wet painted
ping pong balls in Cayenne Pepper
DO NOT HANDLE THESE with your hands
USE CAUTION in coating the balls 
4. Using the tongs place the cayenne coated balls 
at the base of your plants

It has been two months and at first the balls moved a bit from
place to place. They seem to now never move and in addition I have loads
of tomatoes and produce without squirrel bites!

PLEASE USE CAUTION when doing this
but it WORKED!


I can't believe it! You CAN drink alcohol when you are pregnant?

"Wow, oh wow. What can I even say? As adults we live as active of life and more independently than many persons who share our secret. Oh and we've been down the path of experiences no parent wishes for their child. I know what it feels like to have your book published and I am sure Emily Oster is excited. "Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong—and What You Really Need to Know," by Emily Oster to be published Aug. 20 by the Penguin Press.  

Please read her book and then read mine before you make a decision to celebrate 0-4-9. It is such a short time of your whole life!

Dear Emily,

My name is Liz Kulp, any woman who is able to have a baby is very blessed. My birth mother was blessed to have me. She was a single mom, who drank wine and as far as I know - not by the gallon. But her life choices became my life. And my life is not the life you want for any of those future beautiful children like Penelope. There are a lot of things that can create the secret most people don't see when they meet me. They don't see that I understand every third or fourth word of a conversation. People think I know what they are saying. Some of it I do know and some I don't, then later I have to figure it all out on my own—that is overwhelming. Perhaps you say I should just say I don't understand. Well, Emily I have tried that, and what happens when I do, people began to use more words and they add to my confusion. Or they slow down their speech as if I have no brain and treat me like a child.  If I trust you, I will tell you I need more information, but I have found over the years that people with high intelligence get frustrated when they try to help me so I remain quiet. Note, I am not an unintelligent person. I am differently intelligent. In fact, some of the ways I see the world may actually be a gift to you. 

My life did not begin as a child who people thought would struggle with brain and metabolic injury and that is a problem that will haunt me for the rest of my life because the therapies that could have been in place when I was in preschool and an infant did not happen. As I said, my differences are a secret, and unless you REALLY know what to look for you will not see what I deal with everyday.
In fact, my grandmother, Dr. Carrie Kulp, a professor at West Chester believed I was gifted and so did my great-grandmother who graduated from college as a child developmental professional. That was because the parts of my brain that work very well are in concrete thinking.

Emily, I am a woman, and like you I love and grow and learn new things each day. But, unlike you my life experiences because of my mother's choice have been hindered. I won't go into the details - they exist in all my books. And why would I want to write such books. Because I know how hard life is for people like me and their families. I know how hidden our secret is. I know that unless you love a person like me and truly get to know us and our families you remain hidden from our reality. I have chosen not to follow my mother's path. I have been sober four years and if I am blessed with a pregnancy when I am ready to parent a child in a healthy way - I will give that child the best I have to give from it's beginning. I know the cost. I am the cost.

Click Sam and my picture to
find my book on Amazon
When I was two I spoke in paragraphs and knew 60 breeds of dogs — no one suspected. The clues were all there and they who needed to understand my needs did not see.

Liz Kulp (transcribed from conversation)

I like Ed Riley's statement to the Wall Street Journal

I find it amazing that the author wants to take on the responsibility of assuring so many women that it is ok to have “a glass of wine or so a day” while pregnant. She readily acknowledges that “all drinking isn't created equal,” but fails to recognize that all women are not created equal. There are many factors that go into determining whether consumption of alcohol during pregnancy might have an impact on the developing fetus, besides the timing, amount, and pattern of consumption. Additional factors that influence the outcome relate to nutrition, age and one’s genetics. A recent study out of England (Lewis et al, 2012) on over 4000 children found that several genetic variants controlling alcohol metabolism were strongly related to lower IQ at age 8. Importantly, the effect on IQ was seen in the offspring of mothers who were consuming 1-6 units of alcohol per week. If you had these genetic variants, but abstained during pregnancy your child did not show an effect on IQ. A unit is probably a little less than the standard American drink, which brings up another issue. Just how big is that one or so glasses a day you are recommending? A standard drink of wine is 5 oz, but over-pouring is the norm thus underestimating the volume consumed. I for one believe that most women are probably ok with a glass of wine now and then during pregnancy, but I just can’t tell who those women are. Individual genetics, drinking habits, and other contributing factors limit the ability of science to make the assurances that Dr. Oster appears willing to endorse.

To find the Emily Oster, the author and her new book on Facebook at fb.me/profemilyoster

To find my books visit www.fasdbookstore.com

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I Will Never by Vicki Brewster, May 21, 2004

I Will Never

I will never have the children I dreamed of adopting-
But I do have the children
God planned for me to adopt.
So I will adopt new dreams
for my family and children.

I will never be able to be the mom I want to be.
But I am "their" mom
So I will be the mom they need.

I will never have a "normal" day - one without meds,
doctor appointments, therapy, IEP meetings.
But I do have normal moments.
So I will learn to savor the moments
and take each day as it comes.

I will never be able to assume my children can
follow the simple rules, act appropriately,
understand the consequences of their actions,
or be safe.
But I can surround them with a support system
who will think for them,
remind them of the rules and consequences,
and keep them safe.
So I will be their external brain.

I will never know what my children could have been.
But I can celebrate the wonder of who they are
and what they can become.
So I will give them all the love, support,
encouragement, and the tools they will need
to become productive adults.

I will never be able to change the fact that
the birth mother drank during her pregnancy.
But I can forgive.
So I will not condemn, pass judgment or hate her.

I will never forget the damage that alcohol has done
to my children's brains.
But I can make a difference for another child.
So I will share my knowledge and experiences
as often as I can.

I will never see another child screaming in a store
and just assume he's misbehaving due to poor parenting.
But I can sympathize
with the stress and frustrations of meltdowns.
So I will smile
and offer words of encouragement and support to the mother.

I will never hear another horrible news story
about a child in trouble with the law
and not wonder - was he FASD?
But I can pray for them and their families.
So I will pray for the ones in the news
and the ones we don't read about.

I will never know a bigger joy
than watching my children master a new goal,
remember a rule, or sleep thru the night.
But I can lower my expectations of them and myself.
So I will celebrate with them
every mountain climbed and hurdle crossed.

I will never have a day that is not wholly consumed
with the results of a woman who drank during pregnancy.
But I can raise the community's awareness,
education and support
of this totally preventable birth defect.
So I will.
So I will.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Quick Nutrition Guide for Children with #FASD


By Jodee Kulp
Our FAScinating Journey – Keys to Brain Potential Along the Path of Prenatal Brain Injury  is available at https://www.createspace.com/3579462

The material following has been selected from Our FAScinating Journey to give you beginning knowledge and ideas for further research in helping children and adults with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD)


PROTEINS are the building blocks of neurotransmitters. It is essential to eat enough protein in balanced amounts with fats and carbohydrates.  The protein needs of each individual vary. Too much protein for some people can restrict ‘brain protein.’ Not enough protein will result in a protein deficit.  There are many sources of protein and protein combinations to provide adequate protein sources. Protein quality determines which proteins are the best for your body is dependent on the types and amounts of amino acids that the protein contains and how well your body can digest the protein, or the protein’s digestibility. Proteins eaten alone on an empty stomach can pick up dopamine and acetylcholin nuerotransmitters.

Best protein resources
Fresh cold-water fish, low fat cottage cheese, free-range and drug free poultry, eggs, hard cheeses, low fat low lactose yogurt, beans, seeds, nuts, and some fruits and vegetables. (organic and grass fed lean red meat contain rich sources of minerals, protein and B-group vitamins and though costly you may decide is worth the extra money). You do not need to eat animal products to get all the protein you need in your diet. Fruits and vegetables with highest protein values include: asparagus, aubergine, brussels sprouts, broccoli, beetroot, spring onion, mushroom, okra, spinach, sweet corn, tomatoes, yams, dried apricots, raisins, avocados, dates (search vegan diet protein sources.)


CARBOHYDRATES are made from carbon dioxide and water by green plants in the sunlight. Sugars, starches and fibers are the most common carbohy-drates. They enhance neurotransmitters. Most people think of carbohydrates as grains and high starch vegetables like potatoes.Carbohydrates also include lower starch (3%)vegetables like asparagus or fruit like strawberries or higher starch (20%+) vegetables beans, corn, yams and potatoes or fruit like bananas, figs and prunes. Lower starch fruits and vegetables release glucose (sugar) slowly into the bloodstream, as do whole grains and legumes. Potatoes and rice release glucose quickly causing power surges in some people and then a let down. If glucose levels fluctuate, mental confusion and dizziness may occur.

3% Slowest releasing vegetables
asparagus, bean sprouts, beet greens, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, cucumber, endive, lettuce, mustard greens, radishes, spinach and watercress.

3% Slowest releasing fruits
cantaloupe, rhubarb, strawberries, watermelon, melons and tomatoes.

beans (string), beets, brussels sprouts, chives, collards, dandelion greens, eggplant, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, okra, onions, parsley, peppers (red), pimento, pumpkin, rutabagas, turnips.

apricots, blackberries, cranberries, grapefruit, guava, melons, lemons, limes, oranges, papaya, peaches, plums, raspberries, tangerines, kiwis.


Enzymes are chemical catalysts that are needed to change chemicals into organs, cells and hormones. They are manufactured in the body from amino acids, plus vitamins and minerals. Without a particular enzyme, any one of thousands of chemical changes needed in the body won’t operate.  You need a balance of protein, vitamins and minerals to continue to manufacture enzymes.
            For example, take an elderly woman eating only white bread and tea for each meal or a teen eating only junkfood and sodas.  Each day they are using up protein already in the body to rebuild cells. They are not adding any protein to the diet nor getting any real vitamins and minerals. Even if they suddenly start eating steak, milk and eggs poor nutrition leads to poorer nutrition their body has stopped producing ‘protease’ the enzyme needed to break down protein, lactase the enzyme to break down lactose, phosphatase to breakdown calcium and galactase to breakdown glacactase. In other words, she can no longer digest and utilize this food with higher nutritional value.

Providing enzyme supplementation can help kick start enzyme production, but it takes time.


AMINOACIDS are the building blocks of protein. There are over 20 different amino acids found in animals and humans. The term essential amino acid refers to the amino acids that your body cannot make. Because your body cannot make these amino acids, they must be consumed in the diet, thus making them essential. There are nine essential amino acids.
ANTIOXIDANTSHelp to clean the brain. These are foods that produce healthy chemicals that clean the brain from free radicals that cause cell deterioration. They act like a rust cleaner that keeps rust off brain matter. Vitamin E and C, beta carotene, lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, grapeseed and pinebark extract are antioxidants.

RICHESTANTIOXIDANTFOODresources Blueberries, strawberries, cooked kale, raisins, raspberries, apples, grapes, cherries, prunes, blackberries, garlic and raw spinach. Mangoes and sweet potatoes contain high levels of vitamin E and C, plus beta carotene. 
CYANIOXIDANTS—PINEBARK (pycnogenol) and GRAPESEEDHas 20 times the antioxidant activity of vitamin C and 50 times that of vitamin E. It can cross the blood-brain barrier and can stay in the blood stream for up to 72 hours. Few other antioxidants cross this barrier and none do it as well.


MULTI-VITAMINInsure your child’s vitamin and mineral intake with a high quality daily multi-vitamin. Liz takes an intensive care, easy absorbable multi. Her vitamin is designed to include high levels of B vitamins, vitamins E, C, folic acid and selenium.

Research studies now show a strong correlation between aggressive behavior in children and deficiencies in nutrients such as niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, magnesium and tryptophan. Before changing your child’s medications, try a daily multi-vitamin, one preferably without artificial colorings.


B VITAMINS: Essential for cognitive function, helps to improve memory and assists in brain development. Prenatal exposure, encephalitis, stroke, prolonged drinking or vitamin Bdeficiency can cause damage to the hippocampus and thalamus.The effect may be good recall of past and normal short term memories, but they are unable to recall what they had for breakfast, last hours class notes or what spelling words they had just learned. Their procedural memory seems unaffected and the person may become steadily more competent and faster at performing a task, even though they do not remember ever doing it.

B1  Thiamin Changes carbohydrates to glucose then into energy or fat and helps to provide energy to the brain, heart and central nervous system. It helps prevent nervous irritability; necessary for a good appetite.

whole grain, nuts, legumes, yeast, liver, beans, peas, soy products, fish, and pork.

B2 Riboflavin Transports hydrogen; is essential for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins; helps keep the skin and eyes in a healthy condition.

lean meats, nuts,. liver, brewers yeast, leafy green vegetables, whole grain cereal, cheese, fish, eggs, milk

B3 Niacin Needed to convert food into energy, maintains normal functions of the skin, nerve tissue and digestive system. Can help lower LDL(bad) cholesterol. Reduces allergic reactions and supports sugar metabolism.

RICHESTVITAMINB3 resources  fortified cereals, breads and grain products, meats, fish, poultry, nuts, grain products, peanuts

B6 Pyridoxine Essential for brain function and the production of red blood cells. Aids in the immune system. Essential to protein, amino acid and carbohydrate metabolism. This is found in most foods naturally but a problem may be in the malabsorbtion.

RICHESTVITAMINB6 resources  yeast, liver, crabmeat, brown rice, meat, fish, wheat bran, germ and grains, vegetables, white and sweet potatoes, eggs, poultry, bananas

B12 Cyanocobalamin Helps to build and maintain the central nervous system. Important in the production of dopamine (energy) and serotonin (well-being). Necessary for production of red blood cells and normal growth.

clams, shellfish, meat, eggs, green vegetables, orange juice, yogurt, cheese, eggs, milk, fortified breakfast cereals.

FOLATE (FOLICACID)Necessary for the production of RNAand DNA (the building blocks of cells)and normal red blood cells. Helps to lower homo cysteine levels and prevents some birth defects. Helps relieve depression.

Fortified rice; pasta, breads, cereals, and grains, poultry, lentils and beans, green leafy vegetables, avocados, papayas.

VITAMIN C Ascorbic Acid Protects against infection, assists in healing, helps maintain strength and elasticity of blood vessels. Enhances iron absorption. It is so important to the brain that it is found in concentrations of 15 to 100 times higher than elsewhere in the body. It is one of the most active and abundant antioxidants in the body. Stress hormones deplete it, since vitamin C is needed to synthesize them. Water, heat, light, oxygen and cooking all destroy vitamin C. When cooking steam lightly. Smoking one cigarette destroys 25 mg and aspirin triples the excretion rate of vitamin C.

orange juice, rose hips, guava, kiwi, black currents, kale, parsley, red peppers, brussel sprouts,  broccoli, collards, cabbage, white and sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, tomatoes, artichokes, swiss chard, strawberries

VITAMINK Necessary for blood clotting, aids in bone formation, helps regulate levels of calcium.

Brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, turnip greens


VITAMIN E Protects fatty acids in the blood stream and improves overall blood circulation including blood to the brain. It is the primary fat-soluble anti-oxidant in the brain. Heat, oxygen, freezing and chlorine destroy vitamin E.

seeds, nuts, soybeans, eggs, brown rice, oats, fresh wheat germ, peanut butter, sweet potatoes, mangoes, sunflower oil


CALCIUMnecessary for teeth and bones, where most dietary calcium is found. The rest moves in and out of cells allowing conduction of impulses between nerves and contraction of muscles. Aids in heart regulation, blood clotting, muscle contractions and relaxation. Excess calcium depresses magnesium levels.

cooked bones as in canned salmon or sardines, sesame seeds, tofu, dairy products, yogurt, turnip greens, broccoli, milk, blackstrap molasses, spinach, broccoflower.

CHOLINEresearch indicates a mother’s choline intake may influence the development of the memory center in fetal brains. Helps maintain healthy cellular structure and functions, plays role in muscle control.
Video (2012): FASD Expert -
Jennifer Thomas on Choline

Linus Pauling Institute

eggs, milk, fish, whole grains, liver, iceberg lettuce, cauliflower, peanuts

IRONis essential to the production of red blood cells. Aids in manufacturing amino acids, hormones and neurotransmitters. It strengthens the immune system. An iron deficiency in babies and children can have significant and permanent effects on brain development. Iron is a vital component for fueling our bodies, carrying oxygen to the brain and helping our newborns reach their greatest potential. Iron is deposited in the brain—it is part of the brain structure and an essential nutrient for mental development. Newborns have three times the ratio of iron in their bodies as adults.  Babies have very high iron needs, because they grow so rapidly. Infants who are iron deficient can suffer from altered behavior, reduced immunity, slower language, gross and fine motor development, and reduction in IQ. Most babies are born with enough iron stores to last four to six months. Breastfed babies rarely lack iron, not because there is a high concentrate of iron in breast milk, but because the iron in the breast milk is readily absorbable.  A USstudy of nearly 5,400 children 6 to 16 found those who were deficient in iron were more than twice as likely to score below average on standardized math tests than more well nourished peers. (Reuters Health, 2001)

NOTE:Before using iron, get a blood test. Some of the symptoms of iron deficiency are the same as iron overdose. In addition, not all iron supplements are the same. Some are dangerous. Too much iron can make you sick or KILLACHILD

Evidence is showing that children with ‘pica’— eating dirt (geophagia), lead paint, or ice (pagphagia) often show iron deficiencies. Symptoms of iron deficiency include listlessness, fatigue, memory deficits, sore tongue, reduced cognition.

RICHESTIRON resources  
organ meat, liver, red meat, poultry,  mussels, oysters, tofu, legumes such as lentils, kidney beans and chickpeas, eggs, enriched breads and pasta, nuts.

MAGNESIUMImportant for bone development and protein building; necessary for energy production, muscle relaxation and maintenance of heart health and function. Activates almost all the key enzymes needed for your neurons to create energy from glucose. Low levels of magnesium can cause the nerves to fire too easily even from mild stimuli. This can result in noises sounding too loud, lights too bright, and emotional reactions on the edge. Magnesium deficiency in children is characterized by excessive figiting, anxious restlessness, psychomotor instability and learning difficulties in the presence of a normal IQ (Magnesium in Health and Disease, Seelig, 1980). Magnesium seems to absorb better in combination with folic acid and vitamins b6 and B12.

nuts, meats, tofu, milk, beans, bananas, apricots, legumes, yogurt, whole grains, leafy green vegetables, avocados, brown rice, carrots, citrus fruits.

SELENIUMActs as an antioxidant to help protect cells from damaging free radicals. It works in synergy with vitamin E to protect polyunsaturated fats from becoming oxidized. It is necessary for thyroid function. Helps with moods. It is a detoxifier of heavy metals that damage the brain. It binds mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium which disrupt brain chemistry. 

RICHESTSELENIUM resources  Grains, garlic, meats, seafood, tuna, soybeans, molasses, cashew nuts, brazil nuts, breads, oatmeal, soynuts, pasta, poultry, shellfish, sunflower seeds, cabbage, celery, mushrooms, onions

ZINCis a component of every living cell in the body. It is essential for the structure and function of over 50 enzymes. Is needed to maintain proper levels of vitamin E in the blood. It is important for growth, sperm production, night vision, appetite, sense of taste and smell, immune system functioning and wound healing.  Zinc deficiency may make children irritable, tearful, sullen and have gaze aversion (Moyhahan, Zinc Deficiency and Disturbances of Mood and Behavior. Lancet, 1:91, 1976) Chineses studies with school children show improved performance in memory, reasoning, perception and eye-hand coordination with additional zinc intake. Beef and lamb have a high zinc content especially in kidneys and liver meats. 
RICHESTZINC resources  
oysters, seafood, red meats, poultry, nuts, whole grain breads and cereals, tofu, eggs, milk.

INTERESTED IN NUTRITIONAL THERAPY FOR CHILDREN LIVING WITH FASD and/or HAVE QUESTIONS —Join Diane Black, PhD, Netherlands at Nutrition_for_FASD@yahoogroups.com