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David with F.A.S.

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David Vandenbrink seems like a normal 21-year-old, bright and articulate. There is little to suggest that while in his mother's womb, he suffered permanent brain damage. His condition, fetal alcohol syndrome (F.A.S.), went undiagnosed for the first 18 years of his life, causing confusion, anger, and pain for both David, a Canadian Indian, and his non-native adoptive family. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a term used to describe a set of symptoms seen in some children born to women who drank alcohol during pregnancy. The damage can be subtle or severe, resulting in a wide range of symptoms in the areas of slowed growth, disfigurement, and damage to the brain. Associated behavioural problems include impulsiveness, poor judgment, and an inability to grasp the consequences of actions. This personal story, using video footage shot by David himself, along with the experiences of members of his family, is a hard look into the serious consequences of a little-known, but widespread, health problem.

1997, 44 min 36 s