By Shawna Price
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) is an invisible disability that many people live with.
It is permanent brain damage caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
To this day not everyone knows it is dangerous to drink alcohol during pregnancy. This includes beer, wine, coolers, liqueurs, and any other alcohol.
FASD is usually a result of either an addiction issue, or a lack of knowledge and understanding about what prenatal exposure can do to a developing fetus. No mom goes into their pregnancy wilfully intending to hurt her child.
FASD has many symptoms attached to it, including slow learning, short attention span, hyperactivity, or memory problems. Included in the symptoms of FASD are challenging behaviours.
Children, youth and adults with FASD may lack the ability to reason, organize, plan and understand cause-and-effect.
Parents, who are raising children with FASD and any other disability, need their community’s support not judgment.
There are ways we can help families raising children and youth with disabilities, such as keeping negative comments to ourselves, being patient and kind.
In order to change our minds and the minds of others about FASD, we have to change some of the terminology. So, instead of saying “behaviours” try saying “symptoms” … just by changing your words, you’ll change your mindset from punishment to support.
For more information and support, please call the writer at the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre at 250-395-5155 or electroencephalographic.
• National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome at www.nofas.org
• SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence at www.fasdcenter.samhas.gov
• Center for Diseases Control and Prevention FAS Prevention Team at www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/fas
Shawna Price is the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre’s FASD key worker.