"I see [the Antone books] as a kind of bible because you get to hear lots of different voices speaking about a wide range of successes and challenges. I find myself going back to them when it's late at night and I'm wondering what to do about something. I use ideas or stories from them in my trainings as well. Bottom line, the books have a lot of value, both to educate and to console."
Fantastic Antone Grows Up is a field guide to life with an adolescent or young adult with fetal alcohol syndrome/effects. Under the best of circumstances, adolescence is a trying time for young people and their families. The budding adult seeks independence and autonomy while the resistant child within longs for protection and structure; questions about sexuality and work, social commitments, and solitary accomplishments loom large and can create a family battlefield. For the challenged and the challenging young people with FAS/E, circumstances as they begin maturing can be even more difficult.
In this sequel to Fantastic Antone Succeeds,young people with FAS/E and their caregivers report on their experiences coping with the problems of adolescence and young adulthood. Again the editors and authors have concentrated on the wisdom of practice as they candidly convey which techniques worked and which did not during the difficult passages of the teenage years and beyond.
The twenty-one chapters are grouped according to theme. Section one discusses the meaning of success for adolescents and adults with FAS/E, and indeed the need to define success in new ways. Section two discusses strategies that work in areas such as counseling, education, sexuality, trouble with the law, and independent living. Section three covers what families need from the community, including innovative programs that help individuals with FAS/E and how to get a diagnosis at adolescence. The book also contains lists of important resources, organizations to contact, and helpful internet sites.
More has been learned about how alcohol poisoning in the womb alters brain function and physical development, but science is far from providing the answers that affected young people and their caregivers need about everyday life with FAS/E. This is why voices of experience are so important--with their practical messages of coping, caring, loving, weeping, laughing, and--more often than might be expected--succeeding.
Judith Kleinfeld is founder and director of the Northern Studies program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She has published numerous books and articles, including Gender Tales: Tensions in the Schools (St. Martin's Press, 1995) and two books on fetal alcohol syndrome/effects, Fantastic Antone Succeeds and Fantastic Antone Grows Up(University of Alaska Press 1994, 2000).