Our perceptions of risk, especially as identified through racial and socioeconomic factors, are false. This is why current prevention campaigns don’t work - because the information applies to “them,” not “us.” Read More
As policies are implemented, states, communities, and systems need to adhere to the scientific principles behind the policies and avoid reactive and punitive approaches that do not serve the best interests of children and families. Good science makes for good policies. Read More
Too often we hear of a child who has been "diagnosed as FASD." Since there are no diagnostic criteria for FASD, the child is being labeled without due consideration of his clinical condition.
Infection with HIV or Hepatitis C is especially prevalent in pregnant women with a history of drug and alcohol use. Although newborn infection rates are becoming less common, this remains an issue of vital importance for prospective adoptive parents. Read More
Inclusion of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and its associated conditions in the DSM has long been a contentious issue. What has resulted is an alphabet soup of terms. In the new DSM 5, there is a code under which this condition can be diagnosed, helping affected individuals access treatment and providers get paid for services. Read More
Every decade or so, there is a “new” epidemic declared. This time, the media are publishing numerous articles about newborns whose mothers have used prescription medications, specifically narcotics, during pregnancy.
A recurring question that continues to arrive in my email in-box has been whether families should seek a diagnosis for their child if they think she has fetal alcohol syndrome. There is an underlying fear of labeling vs. diagnosing the child. Read More
A child with sleep problems may be suffering from one of two different types of sensory processing dysfunction, or a combination of both. Sensory avoidant children are overly sensitive to sounds, sights, smell, touch or movement; sensory seeking children need strong sensory input. In either case, the child will have difficulty relaxing into sleep. Read More
In the first year, the most important lesson you can teach your child is that you always will be there for her. This is a key time for your child's developing a sense of trust in a trusting world. Read More
Many young people who find themselves in trouble have had psychological exams, and almost all have scored well within the normal range on IQ tests. But it is when these young people are asked to connect the dots, to put everything together, to use the information embedded in the deep recesses of their brains, that everything seems to fall apart. Read More
Children, youth, and young adults with FASD are more likely than not to end up before the court on criminal or civil charges, but the legal system has not come close to resolving how their cases should be treated. Read More
There are two kinds of consequences: immediate and distant. Distant consequences are the most common strategy parents use to try to control their children’s actions: “If you post inappropriate pictures on the Internet, you will have trouble getting into college.” But distant consequences have little to no impact on controlling behavior.
One of the most common refrains I hear from adoptive parents is, "We thought with enough church and enough love, everything would be fine." The look on their faces is one of shock and bewilderment. Read More
"How much alcohol can a woman safely drink during pregnancy?" The answer is we don't know. But if it's your daughter, your granddaughter, or friend, or patient, the most caring answer is, "No amount is safe."
My grandmother was thirty-seven years old when she became pregnant with what was to be her seventh child. She had no medical care during pregnancy, and when the time came she called the local midwife who attended the delivery at home. Without much fanfare, my uncle was born, though what followed was something no one had expected. Read More
When I was first contacted by Psychology Today to develop a blog for its online rendition, my first response was, "What's a blog?" As a member of the sixty-something generation, I read hardbound printed books, get my news from a paper, pay my bills by writing checks each month, and communicate with friends by telephone. Read More
Ira J. Chasnoff, M.D., is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. His most recent work is The Mystery of Risk.