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Fetal alcohol syndrome is a patter of physical or mental illness, mostly deformities that is developed due to excessive use of alcohol by mothers during pregnancy. It is however not always the case that ingestion of alcohol would always cause a baby to develop fetal alcohol syndrome.
Fetal alcohol syndrome hinders the development of a child in many ways due to the varied birth defects that manifests themselves in victims. The most common physical aspect that is hindered in children with this condition is growth. This could occur on any parts of the body but mostly the head and height of the child is greatly diminished, ( Malbine 1996). This condition of having a small head (micro cephalic) is mainly due to failure of the brain to grow normally, which could also vary from a mild level to moderate.
The face could also have an abnormal growth of features on it, such as a sunken nasal bridge, having short eye openings as well as having a short nose. It is also very common for skeleton defects such as the child having abnormal positions for joints as well as problems with their functions. Heart defects have also been reported due to this syndrome whereby a child could have a murmur, which is a hole between the right and left hand side of the heart between the ventricles.
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Another physical defect on children is that of having cleft lips as well as hydrocephalus which is a condition where one has an increased flow of fluid in the brain leading to an increased pressure on it. Lastly it is true to say that this excessive drinking by pregnant women could lead to many defects even some involving internal organs such as the liver and kidneys that may not be very easy to detect until it is very late. The development of the nervous system, which works in tandem with the body skeleton e.g. spine and cranium are also greatly compromised.
Emotionally, as the child grows emotional lapses are also very likely. To start with, children with this condition are mostly vey slow learners. This may cause them to have very unpredictable mood swings as it is very difficult to communicate with them and know exactly how they are feeling and any problems they are facing. These children are also very impulsive in their behavior and are usually likely to act without any foresight or care about the effects of some of their actions. This is because they do mostly feel depressed inside and have no real connection to a parental figure that can help counsel them.
Children with this condition often cut a forlorn figure in the society and tend to have a feeling of being disliked hence are more likely to experience outbursts and temperaments to people around them, (C. Margaret, 1995). Some would even cry for long hours, especially small children for any reasons including loneliness or even pain caused by any of the aforementioned defects. They therefore are generally not very in the society as compared to the others.
There are also social implications of the fetal alcohol syndrome. Some could stem out of the initial birth defects obtained at birth while others are developed with time as the child grows. An example is a kid with cleft lips who could be traumatized for looking very different from the other children or having trouble interacting with other children in case they may poke fun at him about the same. A child with joint problems is also not likely to participate in games activities therefore making them feel isolated and ostracized from the rest of the children.
The children involved also demonstrate poor attention and concentration skills due to mostly thinking about their own problems. They are very often hyperactive and could involve themselves in many delinquent activities such as stealing and even lying. They may also not have a proper response to social cues and therefore seem so different and even isolated figures in the society. In some cases, people with history of alcohol from their families could also have problems making new friends as they are not easily likely to reciprocate friendship once initiated. This may lead the victims to lead a life of social withdrawal where despite encountering many people, they would tend not to associate with very few people.
This life of utter sullenness could go on and on as the victim tends to resent the people around them as they perceive themselves as very different from the rest. It is also possible that the victims might develop an inferiority complex in the social setting they are in given the fact that families with drinking problems are seen to be very disorganized and with many problems. An example is having their learning in school disrupted mostly due to the issues with the family or even just by being stubborn and feeling like it. This might lead the victim to lag behind and by not having a good educational background they would jeopardize their chances of getting good jobs and being successful and settling in life.
Statistics have also shown that children who suffer from this condition are very likely to engage in alcohol use in their lives. This is especially very unfortunate when they do start at a very early age as it leads to a dominoes effect of very many other problems to the victim. In addition to using alcohol, the chance of using drugs is very high. Substances such as cocaine, Cannabis and many more are being used every day by children with problems with alcohol. Again the negative effects this has on the individual cannot be overemphasized.
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Children with the fetal alcohol syndrome are much more likely to participate in crime more than any other child. This is mostly due to the negative image that is portrayed by the parents as most drunk people behave in an uncouth manner. They cause problems to the society and have no particular willingness to act any different than they learnt from their parents. Subsequently, these individuals are not likely to get jobs thereafter as most employers do not hire people with criminal backgrounds.
In general, we can say that all these negative social effects are due to an 'attachment disorder' which can be termed as the lack of trusting and true relationship to an adult, therefore denying them the chance for the parental care and chance to learn from them.
The final aspect is about the cognitive development inhibition of the fetal alcohol syndrome. Cognitive development has to do with the instincts to learn, perceive and understand in human beings. It should be noted first that fetal alcohol syndrome is likely to cause an individual to have a poor memory. This therefore becomes a platform for many other memory related problems to come in. This includes lacking a specific mathematical deficiency as well as having problems with abstraction i.e. time and time.
Lack of a good comprehension of what is around them and having an impaired judgment are also common effects of this condition. Many would make decisions hurriedly without so much care on how these would affect them in future. This could also be partly be explained by the poor development of the brain which hinders its function of reasoning and critical thinking.
It is therefore true to say that fetal alcohol syndrome is very dangerous and injurious to its victims and pregnant mothers should be warned to steer away from alcohol as it might have profound negative effects to the baby and the child it would grow into. It is also true that the defects caused by the alcohol to the baby are very many and very unique to every victim.