More than 110,000 FASD related documents online. Worldwide discussion forum.
Margaret Sprenger and Bruce Ritchie received the St. Michael's Hospital "Award for Pioneer Work in the Area of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders".
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FASlink began online in 1995. FASlink's website contains more than 110,000 searchable FASD related documents and serves more than 400,000 visitors annually. The FASlink Discussion Forum shares 50 to 100 letters daily and compiles the papers and discussions into the FASlink Archives. Our membership is worldwide but most are in Canada and the USA, from the most remote locations to urban centers. You can join the FASlink Discussions.(.....more)
To ignore the facts does not change the facts.
Remember - we cannot tell or teach them what to think - but have to work at "how to think"
If you tell a child something a thousand times and he still does not understand, it is not the child who is a slow learner. To be an effective teacher, you have to always be open to learning.
Parenting is always done by amateurs. By the time we get to be reasonably competent we are no longer fertile.
Households with disabilities are always in "survival mode".
Parents tend to transfer many of their own neuroses and emotional baggage to their kids. Kids with FASD simply emphasize many of the "normal" child raising concerns as well as add a bunch of others.
If you are going to train a puppy, first you have to train the trainer, and deal with the trainer's issues. If you have a stressed-out parent you will have a very stressed out child. One of the greatest gifts we can give to our children is being calm, particularly under stress.
Another great gift is that of unending patience. Without patience, you will drive both your child and yourself nuts.
An equally important gift is an off-the-wall sense of humour. Our kids can find humour in the neatest places. The best way to defuse a confrontation is with humour. You may be able to escalate a power struggle to where you can "win" and get immediate compliance, but everyone loses in a power struggle.
Pick your battles carefully. Don't set yourself up to be permanently "tuned out".
Invisible Disabilities - An individual’s place, and success, in society is almost entirely determined by neurological functioning. A child with a brain injury is unable to meet the expectations of parents, family, peers, school, career and can endure a lifetime of failures. The largest cause of brain injury in children is prenatal exposure to alcohol. Often the neurological damage goes undiagnosed, but not unpunished.
There are strategies that can work to help the child with an FASD compensate for some difficulties. Early diagnosis and intensive intervention and tutoring can do wonders, but the need for a supportive structure is permanent.
Video Presentation to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Standing Committee on Social Policy, Bill 118, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
Introduction to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (PDF) Document prepared for the above presentation.
Legally intoxicated is defined as a Blood Alcohol Level of .08%. A 100 lb (45 kg) female consuming 5 standard drinks will reach a BAL of .25% - three times the legal limit. BAL reduces .01% per hour.
About 50% of pregnancies are unplanned. "If you drink, don't have sex. If you have sex, don't drink. Prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum DIsorders (FASD)”
Most girls are 2 to 3 months pregnant before they find out. Maternal prenatal alcohol consumption even at low levels is adversely related to child behavior. The effect was observed at average exposure levels as low as 1 drink per week.
Alcohol damage to the fetus occurs over a wide and diverse continuum. Damage varies due to volume ingested, timing during pregnancy, peak blood alcohol levels, genetics and environmental factors.
FASD is not a threshold condition. It is a continuum ranging from mild intellectual and behavioural issues to the extreme that often leads to profound disabilities or premature death.
At the mild end, damage may be the loss of some intellectual functioning (IQ), visual problems and higher than normal pain tolerance. At the severe end, damage may be severe loss of intellectual potential, severe vision problems, dyslexia, serious maxilo-facial deformities, dental abnormalities, heart defects, immune system malfunctioning, behavioral problems, attention deficit disorders, hyper-activity, extreme impulsiveness, poor judgment, little or no retained memory, deafness, little or no capacity for moral judgment or interpersonal empathy, sociopathic behaviour, epilepsy, tremors, cerebral palsy, renal failure, heart failure, death.
Even brief exposures to small amounts of alcohol may kill brain cells in a developing fetus. A study carried out by John Olney, M.D., at the Washington School of Medicine in St. Louis showed that just two drinks consumed during pregnancy may be enough to kill some developing brain cells, leading to permanent brain damage.
There is no safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are 100% preventable. If you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant, don't drink any alcohol at all.
The Canadian Paediatric Society states: "Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a common yet under-recognized condition resulting from maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. While preventable, FAS is also disabling." "Health care providers play an important role in identifying babies or children with FAS. They should become familiar with the screening tools that are available to diagnose the condition in children at various ages." “FAS diagnostic and treatment services require a multidisciplinary approach, involving physicians, psychologists, early childhood educators, teachers, social service professionals, family therapists, nurses and community support circles.”
Effective interventions to reduce health problems related to prenatal alcohol consumption: (Summary)
FASD is 100% preventable, but not curable. Early diagnosis and intensive intervention can help substantially, but the need for a supportive structure is permanent. Massive Denial surrounds alcohol issues at all levels of society and government.
"Formic Acid in the Drinking Patient and the Expectant Mother" by Dr. Bhushan Kapur.
Methanol in small amounts is present along with ethanol in beverage alcohol. The body's natural enzymes preferentially metabolize ethanol while methanol breaks down into highly neurotoxic Formic Acid. Use of high levels of Folic Acid was found to inhibit brain damage caused by the methanol. The use of Folic Acid during pregnancy has been recommended for several years to prevent neural tube defects. However, this study indicates that even higher levels of Folic Acid can be very beneficial to the developing baby, particularly where alcohol exposure is a factor. Folic Acid is mandated as an additive to all flour sold in Canada. The debate has begun on its required addition to all beverage alcohol to help mitigate damage caused to both infants and adults.
"Neonatal Screening for Prenatal Alcohol Exposure - The Grey Bruce Study" by Joey Gareri, HBSc, MSc student was presented. It is a confirmation study on meconium assay detecting Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters as a biomarker of maternal alcohol consumption during the final 20 weeks of pregnancy. Meconium is the first fecal excretion from the newborn baby. The FAEE study, found a high level of exposure in 4% of newborns. This confirms studies by United States Drug Testing Laboratories using the Avitar MecStat-ETOH meconium testing for FAEE's that have shown 15% to 18% of newborns have been exposed to significant levels of alcohol in the final 20 weeks with 4% having been exposed to very high levels of alcohol. Meconium testing should be part of the standard testing protocol for all newborns. "Results of meconium tests offer a unique opportunity to record gestational exposure to ethanol. Missing this opportunity can leave many children impaired by alcohol at risk of being undiagnosed: evidence of maternal drinking is a prerequisite for diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in cases where pathognomonic facial features are not apparent."
These concerns place tremendous emotional pressure on our families. Disabilities mean high needs dependents and often mean one parents must drop out of the work force, perhaps losing $30,000 to $60,000 annually from the family resources. Disabilities also cause enormous stress on marriages and lead to marital breakdown and single parenthood with its attendant heightened emotional and financial stresses. In Ontario 85% of support orders are in default. If you can't support one household on the available income, how can you support two? Disabilities often mean complete destruction of the family finances, no retirement pension, stress-related / distress-related physical and mental illnesses of the caregiver and the dependent.
When the parents are going through excessive stress, that can reflect back on the child and amplify the child's problems. For example, it can be highly stressful to have to battle bureaucrats to obtain the services to which your child is entitled. It is even a struggle to find out what services are available. They tend to be well kept secrets.