Dennis the Menace had FASD

I just heard that Dennis the Menace was based on the cartoonist’s son who had FASD. As a child, I didn’t like this cartoon. I found Dennis annoying. Now I understand why he did what he did. As an adult I would have more compassion. Sorry Dennis for misunderstanding you!

I found this information out from the Catholic Children’s Aid Society:

In the classic cartoon series Dennis the Menace, Dennis is depicted as a mischievous, lazy and defiant young boy, constantly getting himself into trouble. In each episode, Dennis drives his neighbour, Mr. Wilson, mad with his mischievous outbursts, eventually leading to an argument between the two of them. But by the end of each episode, Dennis’ charm wins over Mr. Wilson, and they once again become best friends.

Dennis the Menace had Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Cartoon creator, Hank Ketcham based Dennis’ character on his own son, who had FASD as a result of his mother’s drinking during pregnancy. FASD is a brain disorder caused by pre-natal exposure to alcohol that impairs the executive functioning of the brain. Damage to the brain is irreversible, and there is no cure for FASD. It is common for people to misinterpret FASD-related behaviours as noncompliance or laziness.

But Dennis’ “apparent” bad behaviour wasn’t disobedience, rather it was the effects of physical, mental, and learning disabilities caused by FASD. Dennis, like so many children with FASD, struggled with behavioural challenges—it’s not that Dennis didn’t want to behave, but rather that he couldn’t because he didn’t understand the instructions!


The Nostalgia Blog

From 1971 until 2001 Dennis the Menace appeared as the spokestoon for Dairy Queen. Dairy Queen dropped him because they felt children could no longer relate to him. Don’t worry Dennis, even Donkey Kong had to go through this. RIP. I assume he shot himself after this news

…So they are a big cause to the pollution problem in the world?

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