PITTSBORO, N.C. — A Pittsboro parent is leading the way for families with children who have been diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. 

Kathy Hotelling created NC FASD Informed, a nonprofit to guide family members who are navigating the diagnosis with their child after having trouble finding resources herself.

What You Need To Know

  • FASD stands for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder 
  • People with FASD may have growth deficiencies, facial abnormalities or organ damage
  • NC FASD Informed is a nonprofit to guide families navigating the diagnosis

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are kind of a large umbrella that cover many conditions people may have who have had exposure to alcohol in the womb.

Because it is such a vast umbrella and can present itself in different ways in a person, it can be tough to diagnose. 

Hotelling noticed when her adopted daughter neared her teen years that some of her developmental milestones were not being reached.

“We went to a plethora of specialists, neurologists, neuropsychologists, therapists, geneticists, psychiatrists, developmental pediatricians, gastroenterologists. And everybody shrugged,” Hotelling said.

Hotelling eventually found a provider who almost immediately diagnosed her daughter with FASD.

The National Institutes of Health report people with FASD may have growth deficiencies, facial abnormalities or organ damage, which can include the brain. It can also contribute to social or behavioral challenges. 

Speaking about her daughter, Hotelling shared, “She was 13. We're going into Chapel Hill. And she said, 'Oh my gosh, mom, I have fetal alcohol.' I said, 'Yes.' She goes, that means it's my brain. It's not me.”

Hotelling hopes her nonprofit can help other families learning to live with FASD.

“I’m trying to help North Carolinians be aware of the possibility of FASD to help them get their loved ones diagnosed and to the appropriate interventions and services,” Hotelling said. 

The nonprofit is hosting a virtual seminar today. Click here for more info.