[Minnesota] A young man with a gun gives us all reason to learn about fetal alcohol syndrome

April 12, 2010
Winona, Minn. — By Lindalee Soderstrom
Minnesota Public Radio

When I read Friday morning’s article in the Hastings Star Gazette about the child in Hastings, Minn., who displayed a gun at his middle school, I was touched that he came back to his classroom. He even broke glass trying to get back in. The teacher, who had locked the door after the student left the first time, calmly kept asking the child what he could do for him.

One might not think of a 14-year-old middle schooler as a child. But I am the adoptive mom of a young man, now 24 years old, who was diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) at birth. I know that the adaptive daily living skills and social/emotional development of someone with FAS is often deemed to be one-half that of someone their biological age.

So this 14-year-old in Hastings, who has not been identified but is described as showing symptoms of FAS, may have the capacities of a 7- to 8-year-old — and not a normal 7- to 8-year-old, but one with unique and invisible special needs. [more]