Gail Harris, who has worked with Arizona children with FAS and FAE since the 1970s as a special education teacher, worries about children with FAE. “Fetal alcohol effect is a hidden handicap,” Harris said. “The kid looks normal, but his behavior or his ability to learn is severely impaired. We feel like they should be able to control themselves more than they can. So we end up blaming the child.”

Theresa Kellerman, a Tucson parent advocate, said children with FAE often come across as brighter than they are. “The expectations are so high because they can come across as really intelligent.” Ruth Solomon teaches at-risk kids at Kellond Elementary School and believes many of them have FAE. “These are the gray-area kids, and there are no special classes for them,” she said. “This sounds horrible, but they are too dumb to be smart, too smart to be dumb. Some of the kids with FAE fall into this range.”

Solomon believes the number of FAE kids is growing. “So many of these kids are being born to women who think, ‘What do a couple of drinks do?’ But it can do so much damage.” “Kids with FAE appear to be normal otherwise, and that’s a big problem. FAE can be a bigger problem than FAS because it is so widespread and because people tend to discount its importance.”

To read this article in its entirety click here. It is a very, very long article from Southern Arizona Online a publication of The Tucson Citizen, but is probably the best one I’ve read in a long time. It explains Fetal Alcohol Syndrome by telling the stories of those affected by it. It’s definitely worth the read.  I was able to identify with the stories because we have raised children with these issues for over 20 years. More than half of my children have the characteristics indicative of FAE/FAS.