'It makes me feel like my brain's going to burst' - 46,000 Kiwis suffer from fetal alcohol disorder

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Source:

Seven Sharp

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder has the ability to cause problems from learning difficulties to violent, emotional meltdowns.

We speak to six mums and kids affected by the condition, which about 46,000 Kiwis live with.
Source: Seven Sharp

And for some 46,000 Kiwis, FASD is a daily battle which the Government will not recognise as a disability.

Seven Sharp spoke to several families with a child suffering from FASD, including Alex and his mum Jackie, who drank while pregnant.

The pair have been living with the lifelong health problem for all of Alex's young life.

"I still do [feel guilty]. I don't think that will ever go away," Jackie told Seven Sharp.

"My skin feels like it’s been pinched by needles and basically it really hurts and it itches a little bit," Alex said.

FASD also causes anger, and uncontrollable meltdowns which can last for hours or even days.

Mother India adopted daughter Rosie when she was just seven-months-old.

She knew Rosie’s biological mum had drunk during pregnancy, but was wrongly told it hadn't affected her child.

"She hits us, kicks us, swears at us, last year it was very, very bad, it was ... with knives," India said.

"It makes me feel like my brain's going to burst," Rose said.

India and her husband have been caring for Rosie for ten years with no government help.

"It's non sensical, absolutely non sensical, because our children have brain damage … and it's lifelong, I just can't understand why we're being denied access to services," India said.

The threshold for mental health services comes down to IQ level, and Rosie does not fall in a specific category.

India grew so desperate she tried taking the Ministry of Health to the Human Rights Commission, but the Ministry said it does not recognise Rosie as disabled.

"My child deserves the best possible life, I'll do everything in my power to see she has that," India said.

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