Moment to Moment: Teens Growing Up with FASDs

Under the best of circumstances, adolescents face an uphill battle on their way to maturity. Adolescents affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol, including those within a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs), endure untold additional challenges, trying to find a way to understand and interpret stimuli that are coming at them from multiple directions. Moment to Moment: Teens Growing Up With FASDs explores the lives of four adolescents with FASDs and the effects that prenatal alcohol exposure has had and continues to have on their journeys to finding independence, fulfillment, and understanding the world around them.

All adolescents face difficulties associated with reaching young adulthood: hormonal and behavioral changes, sexual activity, and a desire for increased independence. But adolescents with FASDs have impaired brain function and must learn to cope with how that functioning affects decision-making and the growing demands of school and peer relationships.

Moment to Moment captures the challenges a family must overcome as children with FASDs reach maturity and attempt to strike out on their own as young adults. Many adolescents with FASDs end up in trouble with the law for reasons they cannot comprehend, and consequently, are at the mercy of a court system that most often does not accept or understand their plight.

As adolescents with FASDs get older, mood disorders, anxiety, and depression become increased threats to their emotional and psychological health. They are often manipulated by their peers, and due to the brain damage caused by prenatal substance exposure, lack the ability to stop bad behaviors and inhibit themselves.

Because the human brain is not fully mature until the age of 25, parents of children with FASDs report that at this age, emotional behavior and social skills finally develop more fully. They are able to engage in social and employment worlds, although with limited success.

Moment to Moment: Teens Growing Up With FASDs takes an intimate and eye-opening journey into the lives of those affected by FASDs, their families and friends. The film, produced by a small crew from Chicago, looks at young people with unique needs growing up and entering into a social system that is not prepared to provide the services that are necessary for a successful future.