Mississauga – September 9, 2011 is International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day, when people around the world shine a spotlight on this devastating disorder that affects 1 in 100 babies.
If you are pregnant, avoid alcohol. This might be the best gift you can give to your unborn child. There is no known safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy; no alcohol is best.
Family members and friends can help by giving encouragement, offering non-alcoholic drinks and abstaining from drinking around pregnant women.
For information or support, residents of Peel Region can go to the following websites: www.peelregion.ca/health/fasd, www.fasworld.com, or contact Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700.
FASD describes the range of health, developmental, intellectual and social concerns that may result from prenatal exposure to alcohol.
“Of all the substances of abuse (including cocaine, heroin and marijuana), alcohol produces by far the most serious neurobehavioral effects in the fetus” (Institute of Medicine Report to the U.S. Congress, 1996).
While most children with FASD appear to have little or no physical damage, the damage to their brains can affect learning and memory. They may appear to understand a concept one day but seem to have no knowledge of it the following day. This creates frustration for the affected individuals and everyone interacting with them.
There is no cure for FASD. However, with early diagnosis and effective intervention, parents and service providers are better equipped to manage the effects of FASD, leading to greater prospects for life success for children with this disorder.
The Peel FASD Steering Committee includes representatives from Associated Youth Services of Peel, Child Development Resource Connection Peel, Credit Valley Hospital, ErinoakKids, Infant and Child Development Services Peel, Peel Children’s Aid, Peel Children’s Centre, Peel Public Health and Dr. Angelo Simone.
Since its establishment in February 2005, the Steering Committee has collaborated to develop a virtual diagnostic team. Partners have also provided in-kind staff member service time to diagnose children as part of the Peel FASD Clinical Service, an initiative of Success By Six Peel.
Funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) is helping to enhance the provision of FASD services for children aged birth to 6 years in Peel and increase awareness of the disorder within the community. OTF is an agency of the Government of Ontario. For more information, visit www.trilliumfoundation.org.
Information: Mora Thompson, Peel Children’s Centre