WU Autism Spectrum Disorder & Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Discussion


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1)  Anderson Household


The client, Artesia, a 2 month old, African American, female lives with her grandparents. The grandparents are having a hard time coping with the loss of their daughter and son in law. The grandparents share that before they took their daughter’s family in, the daughter and her family were homeless and living in a car for several weeks before Artesia was born. Both the newborn and the mother were hospitalized later due to complications from birth. Artesia has two older siblings, a 6 year old male who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and an 18 month old male. The Grandparents believe it is their duty to raise their three grandchildren. Both grandparents are very involved in their Southern Baptist church.

Broderick & Blewitt, 2020 inform us how poor and minority children are more likely to experience community violence and other various deprivations. This can then have problematic effects on the child’s long term mental and physical health. Artesia and her siblings experienced homelessness for a short time. The grandparents should share this with health providers to ensure that each child is monitored for mental or physical effects. The grandmother also shared that her daughter “had a lot going on” at the time of pregnancy and birth. Knowing that Artesia’s mother neglected her emotions may have caused her to have lower levels of oxytocin and made her less likely to provide responsive caregiving to her children (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020). Due to the lack of sensitivity from the mother Artesia may experience problems with security (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020).


It is important to share information with the grandparents about the social and emotional development of infants and toddlers. By doing this you can address the concerns that you have for Artesia as she has experienced some events that may cause social and emotional delays later on. A major factor to consider when looking at the social and emotional development of infants and toddlers is their caregivers’ responsiveness. From what the grandparents have shared it sounds as if the mom may have been going through some mental health issues herself and therefore her maternal sensitivity and responsiveness to her children was lacking (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020). By providing the grandparents with this information they can talk with their health care provider and even their church to reach out for support to ensure that each of the children receives the sensitivity and responsiveness that they need to help them develop healthy skills. It is also essential to ensure that the grandparents understand the importance of providing the children with responsiveness and sensitivity to help them build relationships and gain positive representation of themselves, others and relationships (Broderick & Blewitt, 2020).

It would also be helpful to provide the grandparents with information on Autism Spectrum Disorder. Williams, Hartmann, Paulson, Raffaele, & Urbano, 2019, share that minority parents reported feeling less informed, understood, and included in making decisions about their child with ASD. There comes a lot of stress when providing care for a child with ASD. It may also be important to remind the grandparents of coping strategies to help them cope with the stress. African Americans historically draw upon cultural strengths to help them cope (Williams, Hartmann, Paulson, Raffaele, & Urbano, 2019). You may be able to provide how the grandparents’ church can support them in coping with stress as religion and spirituality are important factors in the African American community (Williams, Hartmann, Paulson, Raffaele, & Urbano, 2019).


As a younger, white female counselor one issue that I may face when working with this family is the difference in our race. I must be sensitive and address this to help reassure Ernie and Audrey, the grandparents, that I am aware of the racial/ethnicity difference but also share that I am open to learning about their culture. It is also essential that before meeting with this family that I meet with colleagues or do my research to become more familiar with the African American culture to ensure that I can provide the best support. Another factor that could be challenging is the age difference. I need to again do my research on how to interact with older individuals and older African Americans to ensure that I am respectful and understanding to help build our client and counselor relationship.


When working with Ernie and Audrey, the grandparents of Artesia, it is important to keep in mind the difference in race and age to ensure that I do my research to best support them and build their trust in our relationship. It is also important that the grandparents are provided with information about the emotional and social development of their grandchildren. They need to become aware of some of the at risk factors that Artesia has experienced. As Broderick & Blewitt 2020, shared a child’s early experiences with their primary caregivers help them to form their first representations of themself, others, and relationships. This will allow them to share this information with their health care provider to ensure Artesia and her siblings receive the care that they need.


Broderick, P., & Blewitt, P. (2020). The Life Span: Human Development for Helping Professionals (5th ed.). Pearson.

Williams, T. V., Hartmann, K., Paulson, J. F., Raffaele, C. T., & Urbano, M. R. (2019). Life After an Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosis: A Comparison of Stress and Coping Profiles of African American and Euro-American Caregivers. Journal of Autism & Developmental Disorders, 49(3), 1024–1034. https://doi-org.ezp.waldenulibrary.org/10.1007/s10…

2 post 

Emma Reeves is a 10-month-old infant who has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Emma is the youngest of 3 children. The family is Caucasian-American and of mixed European ethnic descent. The family also identifies as Protestant. Emma was born to her father, Lucas Reeves, and her mother, Anne, who struggled with alcohol abuse prior to and during her pregnancy with her. Lucas believes that Anne never wanted to be a parent and was distant and uninvolved as a parent. Following Emma’s diagnosis of FAS, Anne left the family and has not since contacted Lucas or her children. Lucas also has no family in the area and mentions that he feels overwhelmed.


Being aware of these influences can provide context in treating the family, because the parenting style that Emma and her siblings received from their mother may influence how they present or behave. The influences can also help in choosing appropriate treatment or resources for the family as well as individual resources for Emma’s development and care. According to Pancratz (1993), “Alcohol damage to the fetus during this stage can result in mental as well as growth retardation and heart damage or malformation. Damage to the central nervous system causes future problems in the area of behavior and disposition” (p. 4). Emma’s recognition may even be delayed due to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This is important to know, because it may influence the type of treatment that Emma can receive or may need. Being aware of the influences within the family, as well as the consequences from those influences, can also help understand the challenges that may arise in providing treatment for Emma.


One challenge that I may encounter when counseling this family is Lucas’s response to stress, which may come in many forms. Lucas, already overwhelmed, may be resistant to implement strategies already agreed upon. Lucas may also struggle to be consistent with strategies, appointments, reporting on Emma, etc., as he has no close family to help him during overwhelming times. This may affect the family dynamic and Emma’s treatment.


           Emma is a 10-month-old infant recently diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Emma’s father is struggling to raise her and her siblings after her mother, who suffered from alcohol abuse, left the family. Due to stress and a lack of family and support nearby, a challenge to Emma’s treatment may be her father Lucas’s response to stress.


Walden University (2019). Emma Reeves. Retrieved from  https://mym.cdn.laureate-media.com/2dett4d/Walden/COUN/6215/WEEK02/reeves.html