Today I am the UM clinic with one our kiddos who is participating in the Postnatal Choline Study. The purpose of the study is to see if Choline Supplements can help improve memory when it has been impaired by pre-birth exposure to alcohol. Memory is a huge challenge for our children with FASD's and on the surface anything that might improve it sounds good.
But what if we are able to improve memory BUT are are unable to modify other realities of FASD such as impulsivity and emotional immaturity? The truth is that most of our kids who were exposed to alcohol are highly attracted to things that we don't really want to encourage. Violence, s*x, anger, crime, dysfunctional behavior - you name it - it's very likely to be more interesting to them than more gentle ideals. So if we improve their memory are we making more room for the things we don't want them to remember and dwell on as well as those we do?
By improving their memory could we - in fact - make life harder for them and us?
It's generally accepted within my FASD moms group that affected kids with higher IQ's and fewer learning disabilities actually have a harder time with life. Did you get that? Harder - because they look and act more 'normal' so their challenges are attributed more to 'choice' than brain damage and there are fewer services available to them.
Which isn't fair at all - but that is how our society looks at this sort of situation.
If we are able to improve memory and make some things easier (like keeping up at school) but it also makes them able to remember and retain the negative information without necessarily creating a stronger cause/effect impulse control improvement. Will we be making things worse?
That is the question I posed to our researchers today.
Because I sure don't know.
(P.S. I suspect that there is something in the bigger picture of where certain sorts of memories are stored, how, why and when they are accessed that I don't actually understand...which means it's time for me to do a little more research.)