"Damaged Angels" Book Review
© 2004 Teresa Kellerman
Damaged Angels - Canadian Edition
"Damaged Angels" by Bonnie Buxton is the book we've all been waiting for. Bonnie is a journalist and her skills as an author are well utilized in this publication. Bonnie passionately throws her entire self into this book - painstakingly thorough research, enticingly personal interviews, and most importantly her unique yet somehow familiar experience as the parent of a child with fetal alcohol damage. This book is a "must read" for all parents, teachers, social workers, doctors, and other professionals in the fields of medicine, mental health, education, treatment, and prevention.
Bonnie Buxton with daughter Colette (FASD) © 2004 Brian Philcox Photo used with permission
“Bonnie Buxton’s book, Damaged Angels: A Mother Discovers the Terrible Cost of Alcohol in Pregnancy, is an invaluable contribution to the literature on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Ms. Buxton deftly weaves the story of her children and many other individuals together with the best opinions for treatment and intervention that are in the literature and being presented in work shops. This is a beautifully balanced story of family hopes and frustrations, and eventual successes and failures. It is a must read for anyone caring for a person with FASD or considering it.” —Sterling K. Clarren, MD, FAAP, Robert A. Aldrich Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Genetics and Development, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, USA
From the Washington Post:
daughter, Colette, was a beautiful, energetic toddler who stole the hearts of
her adoptive parents. But by first grade, Buxton writes in Damaged Angels: An
Adoptive Mother Discovers the Tragic Toll of Alcohol in Pregnancy (Carroll
& Graf; paperback, $15.95), Colette was stealing money and lying,
seemingly without remorse. Buxton, a Toronto-based journalist, struggled for
years to get special education and therapy for her daughter. School and mental
health professionals downplayed Colette's problems; some blamed Buxton and her
husband, and even Colette herself. By age 14, Colette was sexually active and
involved with drugs.
Only after Colette became a homeless crack addict at age 18 did Buxton discover that her daughter suffers from permanent brain damage caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. Like many of the estimated 3 million affected Americans, Colette does not have the "face" (wide-set eyes) and severely impaired intelligence usually associated with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which has been popularized by the media and often presumed to be mainly a Native American disorder. In fact, FAS is just the most physically obvious manifestation of several impairments covered by the umbrella term Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).
Buxton presents well-documented studies and anecdotal evidence that challenge the notion that there is a safe threshold of alcohol consumption or a safe time to drink during pregnancy. When prenatal alcohol exposure results in FASD, children may require specialized treatment for learning disabilities and behavior problems. Diagnosis is key yet often elusive. To skeptics tempted to write off these "bad" children, Buxton notes that the preventable tragedy of FASD costs Americans $3-4 billion annually in social and medical services, welfare, criminal justice expenses and lost productivity.
Buxton's heart-wrenching book is a wellspring of information and compassion for families dealing with this condition and a must-read for concerned parents and professionals.
Read Another Review
Bestselling Books from Amazon.CA
FAS Community Resource Center