Greensboro, NC -- Gov. Bev Perdue has declared September 9th Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Day.
"Too many of our children are born into a life of frustration, through no fault of their own, because of choices their mothers made," the governor in a news release about the declaration.
According to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are 100 percent preventable, yet about 40,000 babies born in the United States every year suffer from it.
News 2 spoke with Kathy Hotelling, a parent advocate, about her experiences living with a child iagnosed with the disorder.
"She was three months pre-mature; she was 2-1/4 pounds. At four months she was 7.4 lbs," said Hotelling. "And my physician said, 'don't worry, she'll catch up. All of my preemies catch up by the time they are 2-years-old.' She just never caught up."
Hotelling adopted her daughter, Sasha, when she was just 4-months-old.
Hotelling says she tried for years to find a doctor who could explain her daughter's numerous behavioral, social and psychological problems.
It wasn't until Sasha was 10-years-old that she was finally diagnosed.
"It's been so frustrating, and what I try to remember is, as bad as it is for me, what is it like for her in her head because she doesn't understand?" Hotelling said. "She'd say to me, mom, why do I act like this? I don't know why I act like this. Why aren't I like the other kids?'"
Hotelling says helping her daughter live a normal life hasn't been easy but at 18-yearsold now, Sasha is living a better life than she would have without an early diagnosis.
Sunday morning, Hotelling spent time at South Central Church of Christ in Raleigh talking to the congregation about her experiences.
She says, while early diagnosis is important, what's even more important is prevention.
Drinking alcohol is never safe at any stage of a pregnancy.
She adds that alcohol is worse than drugs on a growing fetus and women of child-bearing age, even if they don't plan on having babies, should be aware.
You can find more information about FASD at www.ncpregnancy.org
WFMY News 2