Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD, is often called "the Invisible Disability" because most individuals affected have no physical traits

Centering Kids Podcast: The Invisible Disability

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD, is often called the invisible disability because most individuals affected have no physical traits. Despite being more prevalent than autism, the spectrum disorder is not well known among educators or in the medical community in general, meaning those living with FASD struggle their entire lives, often being misdiagnosed, or never diagnosed at all.

Only 10% of individuals living with FASD have physical traits, which is why it’s known as an invisible disability.

In season 1, episode 11, our host Kristen Theisen explores  FASD, which affects 1 in 20 children. Theisen interviews Tamra Cajo, Director of the FASD Diagnostic Clinic at The Florida Center for Early Childhood, and Jen Werden, a mother whose adopted child was diagnosed with FASD. The women discuss general causes of the disorder, difficulty when it comes to raising FASD children, and resources where parents can find help.

After learning her adopted son has FASD, Werden decided to become an FASD advocate and now works for The Florida Center as a parent liaison.

“It’s hard to walk this journey and it’s even harder to walk it alone. I did not want one more parent to have to do that,” Werner said.

Symptoms of the invisible disability are often perceived as behavioral challenges when in reality there are major differences in the brain. In the episode, Werner describes her son’s struggles in school and at home, using a lightbulb as an analogy of his day-to-day behavior.

“Some days the bulb is shining bright and he’s ready to take on the world, other days it’s flickering and you know he’s struggling, then there are days that it’s not lit up at all and we know it’s going to be a really hard day.”

You can listen to Season 1, Episode 10, Our Disabilities Don’t Define Us, here.

Click here for our entire first season of podcasts.

Show notes: 

To learn more about our FASD Diagnostic Clinic, the only FASD Clinic in the State of Florida, click here.

For statistics and general information about FASD visit our partner organization www.proofalliance.org