Gabby and Joe Esmeyer

My name is Gabby Esmeyer, I am 13-years-old and I have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are caused by the mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy. That is why I am here today to talk to you about my FAS. FAS affects my life in many ways.  I cannot jump or run very well and my motor skills aren’t as up to par as most of the kids my age. I struggle in my classroom studies, I need constant help at school,  and I am not very organized. I have a hard time keeping my room clean and remembering to do daily living tasks.  I am very social and I know a lot of people, but sometimes I am TOO social, so in the classroom I drop whatever I am doing and lose my focus. I cannot do more than one thing at a time or else I become very frazzled, and either just give up on everything or just shut down.  I am very unorganized and various teachers at my school have to help me pack my organizer bag and my mother has to label all of my school folders so I know which is what classroom stuff.  I don’t have very many TRUE friends who see me as me and who I am. I rarely get asked to attend birthday parties or go to sleep overs at other girls houses. There are some other people who treat me very unkindly like I am a very different person. Sometimes I just wish they would be nice and remember I have feelings too.

My twin brother’s name is Joe Esmeyer and he also has FAS.  It is hard to think when you have FAS which does not help his life at all.  If something happened an hour ago, he probably would not remember it. His FAS also affects other people’s life too and causes a lot of stress for everyone in our family and his teachers at school. If he did not have our family to help him, he would probably not be able to function daily. He is in Special Education classes because he has FAS.  His writing is bad and he cannot write in cursive because of his motor skills. He cannot think strait and sometimes needs help at school to figure something out. He takes medication for ADHD to try to help him focus daily in life and at school. He barely has any friends at school because of FAS and gets picked on and bullied because he is small.  It is hard for him to go to bed because of his FAS and he only sleeps about 4-5 hours a night.

I belong to the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls and my brother is in the Order of DeMolay, which is a brotherhood for boys. I love singing and being in plays at school while my brother likes anime and comic books, riding his bike, break dancing, playing with our five dogs, going to our brother’s house, Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and video games. He likes to read Percy Jackson books and has read them all.

Sometimes I wish I can take a magic pill and my FAS/FASD would be gone but other times I am happy just the way I am.  I want people to know FAS/FASD is not all that bad, if you have great family and friends to support you.  I have a wonderful mother, father, big brother, sister, and sister-in-law who help me and my brother with my FAS/FASD struggles.

Thank you for reading our story.