Like many other city-dwelling, twentysomething Alaskans, Shawna gets up in the morning and goes to work. She spends time with her family. She posts cute selfies on Instagram. She likes funny memes and reading and makeup.And she has always known her brain is a little bit different.
She skipped first grade, then went to second grade twice. She’s great at memorizing things -- phone numbers, gas prices -- but couldn’t tell you the plot of the book she just finished reading. She’s got a great job at a local financial institution, but she’s always broke a few days after payday.
“I look perfectly fine,” Shawna said. “It doesn’t look like I should have difficulty with anything, but I do.”
Shawna -- whose last name has been withheld to protect her privacy -- experiences a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
“I’m a successful 23-year-old with FASD,” she said. “It’s possible.”
But it might not be, she added, if she didn’t know why her brain works the way it does. When she was 8 years old, Shawna got something that sets her apart from many other people with FASDs: a diagnosis.
Learn more:Living with FASD