A Dirty Little Secret: The Story of Richard, a Victim of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Richard appeared to be an ordinary, active adolescent. He had been attending public school, with some difficulty, even though his intelligence was in the average range. At a glance, no one would suspect he had any problems. But Richard was not normal. He had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

When the brother of Sherry T. Ford suddenly died, she became the legal guardian of his two sons, ages eleven and thirteen. This is her story about the older nephew, Richard, and how his mother's prenatal alcohol consumption permanently damaged his brain.

Despite that there is a wealth of information on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Fetal Alcohol Effect (FAE), and Alcohol Related Neurological Disorders (ARND), false claims about the effect of prenatal drinking continue, and the danger of prenatal alcohol exposure remains a threat to the baby in utero.

Because the symptoms of FAS are not always easily identifiable to physicians and psychologists, misdiagnosis is frequent. Richard had significant physical and behavioral manifestations, yet FAS was never even considered.

Sherry hopes that her journey and search for answers will help other families in both identifying and averting the syndrome. Every day, children are born with FAS through no fault of their own--a condition that is permanent and 100 percent preventable.

This story is true and tragic. Sherry is optimistic that it will trigger awareness about the consequences of prenatal drinking. She believes that every child born should have a chance to reach their full life potential.

by Sherry T. Ford

In stores now!