David Harper (right), manager of La Frontera Center's Herbs Etc., waters geraniums with a disabled job trainee.
Tucson psychologist Patricia Tanner Halverson said people with FAS are more likely to produce alcohol-impaired children because of their tendency toward alcoholism. Seventy percent of women with FAE have a history of alcohol and drug problems.
"Can you imagine an FAS parent with an FAS child? How can you begin to meet this child's needs when you don't have it together?"
Tanner Halverson said many with FAS and FAE are unable to live happy, successful lives.
"They cannot take their rightful place in human society," Tanner Halverson said. "Many of them cannot take care of themselves. They cannot live independently. They will never have good judgment. It's not something they can learn."
The depression they experience is overwhelming.
"Depression comes from lots of behavioral problems, and knowing you're different, and a history of failure," said Tucson clinical neuropsychologist Kris Kaemingk, who is studying children with FAS and FAE.
The more they fail in the world, the more they are alienated by society, she said.
"Society's tolerance of a 20-year-old with the attention span of a 4-year-old is very limited," Kaemingk said. "Society is afraid of individuals bouncing off the wall."
And for most of these adults damaged by alcohol in the womb, there are few services.
The Division of Developmental Disabilities provides services to clients who either are mentally retarded or have epilepsy, cerebral palsy or autism. But many with FAS have IQs of 70 or above, which is too high for them to qualify for services.
For those who do qualify, services are not always available.
"Our vocational rehab program has 3,400 people on the waiting list," said Ron Barber, district program administrator for DDD.
"They can't even get into training and evaluation."
Even with all the services in the world, the brain damage caused by prenatal alcohol exposure is permanent.
"No matter how much training and support you give a person," said Barber, "FAS doesn't go away."