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Advocating within the Criminal Justice System for Persons with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Ann Carrellas, LMSW Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy September 9, 2009. Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy . 60th anniversary this year Affiliated with Michigan and USA Arcs

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advocating within the criminal justice system for persons with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

Advocating within the Criminal Justice System for Persons with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Ann Carrellas, LMSW

Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy

September 9, 2009

washtenaw association for community advocacy
Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy
  • 60th anniversary this year
  • Affiliated with Michigan and USA Arcs
  • Started by families to fight for rights of their children who had developmental disabilities
  • Human rights organization
  • ACA’s mission is to ensure that people with disabilities and their families have choices, opportunities, and the supports they need to be fully included in community life through advocacy and education.We envision a community that fully supports equality, dignity, respect and inclusion for all people.
how aca advocates for persons with fasd and their families
How ACA advocates for persons with FASD and their families
  • Provide technical assistance and support to secure SSDI and SSI for eligible children and adults
  • Provide intensive assistance to access community supports such as employment, community mental health, public benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps, affordable housing
  • Advocate for inclusive education and positive supports in school
  • Develop working relationships with DHS, CMH, WISD, courts, schools, employer, MRS, Michigan Works!, and SSA and other groups to ensure the person is able to use the supports and services in the community
one question
One question
  • Think of one question you would like to have answered today about FASD and the people that you work for and with.
  • Ask us if we don’t get to what you want to know.
what we will discuss today
What we will discuss today
  • What are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders?
  • What are the secondary disabilities that make it more likely someone will be involved in the criminal justice system?
  • What happens to a person with FASD that enters the correctional system?
  • How can we best support and advocate before, during and after involvement with the CJS?
fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

FASD is not a diagnosis. It covers broad range of effects. We use terms such as:

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
  • Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder
  • Fetal Alcohol Effects
  • Alcohol-Related Birth Defects

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, www.samhsa.gov

fetal alcohol syndrome fas
Fetal alcohol syndrome(FAS)

This diagnosis includes 4 components:

  • facial characteristics
  • growth deficiencies
  • brain damage
  • confirmed maternal alcohol use during pregnancy.
slide8

Alcohol-related neuro-developmental disorder (ARND)

  • Reserved for individuals with neurological impairments linked to prenatal alcohol exposure including:
    • decreased head size at birth
    • structural brain abnormalities
    • a pattern of behavioral and mental impairments
slide9

Alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD)

  • Describes the physical defects linked to prenatal alcohol exposure including:
  • heart
  • skeletal
  • kidney
  • ears and hearing
  • eye malformations
slide10

Fetal alcohol effects (FAE)

A term that has been popularly used to describe alcohol-exposed individuals whose condition does not meet the full criteria for an FAS diagnosis

More accurate to use ARND and ARBD

fetal alcohol spectrum disorders1
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
  • What are some of the problems that children, youth and adults with a FASD face?
  • Can you think of someone that had a FASD and what worked to support them?
primary and secondary disabilities
Primary and Secondary Disabilities

What are the primary and secondary disabilities associated with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders?

What is the impact of these disabilities on someone’s ability to function day to day and manage the complexities of social interactions?

primary disabilities
Primary Disabilities

Disabilities the child is born with due to the organic brain damage

  • Lower IQ, gap between verbal and performance measures than the norm
  • Learning disabilities
  • Problems with fine motor control
  • Impaired odor and visual senses development
  • Language and speech impairments
  • Auditory memory impairments
primary disabilities1
Primary disabilities

7. Attention deficit disorders

8. Response inhibition impairment

9. Spatial learning problems

10. Information processing difficulties

11. Difficulties with executive functioning tasks-forming, planning, carrying out goals

12. Sensory overload or underload

implications of primary disabilities on behavior
Implications of primary disabilities on behavior
  • Poor judgment and easily drawn into crimes with peers such as theft
  • Assumed to be lying and manipulative because they really can’t remember what happened or what events led to the behavior or incident
  • Impulsive so lots of accidents
  • Socialization and social skills problems
  • Higher levels of behavior problems
secondary disabilities
Secondary “Disabilities”
  • Problems finishing school
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Trouble parenting
  • Homelessness
  • Joblessness
  • Mental health problems
  • Victimization
  • Trouble with the law
  • Premature death
how are people with fasds viewed
How are people with FASDs viewed?

What strengths/resiliencies do they have?

  • Help them identify their strengths
  • Help them identify what they like to do
  • Support them to understand how the effect of their behavior on those around them
  • Keep it short and simple
slide18

Karl Marx said:

From each according to his abilities, to each according to their needs

what do persons with a fasd need to successfully manage their lives
What do persons with a FASD need to successfully manage their lives?
  • Caring person in their life who can mentor them ie an external brain
  • Financial stability, safe and affordable housing, food--the basics before all else
  • Assistance to manage systems--criminal and family courts, stay connected to school, resources, get mental health supports
  • Vocational services that are individualized
  • Skills training-social, banking, paying bills, filling out a job application
what do persons with a fasd need to successfully manage their lives1
What do persons with a FASD need to successfully manage their lives?
  • Access to health care and family planning services
  • Someone to call in a crisis even if it is of their own doing
  • Help them learn to take control of their lives
  • We use person centered planning and self determination
what can you do to support someone who has a fasd
What can you do to support someone who has a FASD?
  • Be patient and steadfast
  • Be someone who listens and is respectful
  • Be an advocate for the person
  • Have a relationship that is supportive
  • No blaming only finding solutions or as near to one as we can manage
  • Help the person understand the consequences of what they do
what can you do to support a person with a fasd
What can you do to support a person with a FASD?
  • Be person centered in your approach
  • Understand where they are at emotionally, cognitively, and in their life experience
where to get more information
Where to Get More Information
  • List of references in the handout
  • Look for conferences concerning these topics
that s it
That’s it
  • Disability doesn’t mean no ability just another variation of interdependence that we all share.
  • Any questions?
  • Thank you.