Monday, October 10, 2016

FASD workshop held in Pincher Creek

Cst. Roberta Small Bones and FASD Facilitator Sabrina Hacker
Toni Lucas - Close to 50 people who work with people who have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) met in Pincher Creek for a workshop on Friday, September 30. FASD is fetal alcohol exposure that causes permanent brain damage. Speakers included South Alberta FASD Network Prevention Conversation Facilitator Debbie Deak, Lethbridge Police Service Cst. Roberta Small Bones who was discussing FASD Youth Justice Project, and Adult FASD Justice Program Coordinator Sabrina Hacker. September was proclaimed FASD month by the Town of Pincher Creek and a number of awareness raising measures were undertaken throughout the month, culminating in the workshop. One of the goals of the monthlong campaign was to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.

FASD is a spectrum disorder caused by a woman drinking alcohol during her pregnancy. Some people born with FASD will have very mild or few symptoms while others will have a range of side effects. Some of the signs of FASD can be visible from birth, and some such as comprehension, social or adaptive skill can only be tested as the child ages. FASD is a completely preventable disorder that can have cognitive, behavioral, motor skill and physical outcomes. It can affect language, intellect, learning, long and short term memory, social skills, adaptive skills, and sensory issues.

Many affected will require lifelong support as an adult with disability. There are a variety of treatments for those with FASD depending upon their symptoms. At this time however, there is no cure as the brain was damaged during the development of the child in utero.

The workshop was hosted by McMan Agency, which has programs to help those with FASD in and around the community of Pincher Creek. McMan works with other people and agencies who are also dealing with FASD clients to create a multi facility network within the community to help those affected at all stages of their life.

The only guaranteed way to prevent FASD is to avoid all alcohol consumption during pregnancy. The first step is education to women so they can take charge and chose to not drink during their pregnancy and potentially inflicting their unborn child with lifelong disabilities.

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