TIMMINS – Amanda Mollins Koene is an FASD expert, inside and out.
The 16-year-old Timmins resident has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and sits on the FASD Awareness Cochrane-Timmins committee.
“Two and a half years ago I got an official diagnosis,” said Mollins Koene on Saturday, FASD Awareness Day. “It means that sometimes I have trouble controlling my impulses.”
The teen greeted people who stopped by the afternoon’s activities held at Hollinger Park on Saturday. She’s made several speeches about the disorder, and runs a Facebook page dedicated to educating people about it.
“Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a disorder that happens when a pregnant mom drinks alcohol. There are facial features, but they only happen within a specific time,” she said.
Mollins Koene said her parents often act as her “external brain.”
“They help me make the right choices, guide me, and help me with that.”
She was adopted at the age of one, but harbours no ill will towards her birth mother.
“I’m not (angry). I can honestly say that if my birth mom came to my door, I’d welcome her. I can honestly say that, because something that sticks to me is a birth mom who cares enough to come and say, ‘I made a mistake.’”
The teen said that sometimes FASD is the result of a mistake – not harmful intent.