FASD E.L.M.O. is hosting an Information Open House on Friday, September 8, 2017 from Noon-1:30 p.m. at 1250 Dundas St. London in the Katherine Harley Room.
For More Information Contact:
Craig Read: 519-494-7916 and
Juanita St. Croix: 519-630-2240
Co-Chairs of the FASD E.L.M.O. NETWORK
The top three priorities for the FASD E.L.M.O. Network are to promote and support
interagency, inter-ministry, and intergovernmental efforts in the areas of:
- neurodevelopmental assessments,
- family-focused supports and interventions.
Since FASD: A Framework for Action was released by Health Canada in 2003, advocates
for appropriate services continue to be discouraged by lack of diagnostic services
and supports - leading to some very daunting statistics:
- In spite of awareness campaigns the rates of drinking have increased over the past
20 years. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/203013.php Canadian studies confirm
concerning use of alcohol: ‘increases were also found in daily drinking among past
year drinkers, from 5.3% in 2002 to 9.3% in 2009. This increase was especially prominent
among women and drinkers aged 18 to 29 (from 1.3% in 2000 to 7.2% in 2009)' http://www.camh.net
This has the potential to increase the incidence of FASD.
- Currently 89 % of children identified with an FASD are in permanent care of an agency
or being raised by people other than their biological parents. PDF
- NOFAS reports up to 70 % of children in care could have been exposed to alcohol
- 70 % of children who are affected are unsuccessful in school, suffering suspensions,
expulsions and dropping out. Over their lifespan, 94 % of affected individuals suffer
mental health problems, including depression and suicidal ideation. 60 % suffer
periods of confinement in in-patient mental health facilities or become incarcerated.
(Dr. Ann Streissguth in University of Washington longitudinal studies…)
- The estimated 1% of our population who suffer from FASD contribute to at least 60%
of the prison population in a recent Alberta study…'Early diagnosis, a supportive
environment, and early intervention have been identified as crucial factors to optimize
outcomes for affected individuals.' PDF
- The cost of FASD annually to Canada from day of birth to 53 years old, has been
determined to be $5.3 billion. (Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Winter; 16 (1):e91-102.
Epub 2009 Jan 23.)
We sincerely believe that increasing community awareness, capacity for diagnostics
and services, and the implementation of evidence-based, family-focused interventions
and supports would significantly improve outcomes for individuals who are affected
by FASD and aid in prevention efforts.
With regard to prevention, advocates are concerned about inconsistent messaging
about alcohol exposure, and a lack of targeted training for health care professionals
related to prenatal advice and alcohol use screening. The physical facial features
of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome occur before a woman is likely to know that she is pregnant,
and since the brain is developing throughout her pregnancy, the teratogenic effects
of alcohol exposure can have a serious impact on her developing fetus for the full
term of gestation. The Public Health Agency of Canada has stated that the incidence
of FASD is about 1%, however, increasing women's drinking rates, and documented
rates of unplanned pregnancies indicate a potentially much higher exposure rate;
and with a lack of diagnostic capacity, the loss of human potential due to alcohol
exposure is very hard to document.
We would request that with the current state of understanding, all messaging promote
abstaining from alcohol for any woman who hopes to, or might become pregnant. Further
that the use of screening tools such as T-ACE be promoted for use by all women's
health care practitioners to minimize the impact of FASD on children. Health curriculum
which promotes good prenatal health and clearly identifies the dangers of exposure
to alcohol and other teratogens would also aid in prevention efforts.
Diagnostics – Neurodevelopmental Assessments:
Since alcohol affects brain development and function, neurodevelopmental assessments
assist families and professionals to understand the functional strengths and needs
of both children and adults. For individuals who have been impacted by prenatal
alcohol exposure, an accurate, multidisciplinary assessment of strengths and needs
is crucial for implementing supportive approaches to learning, physical, emotional
and social development. In spite of the amazing diagnostic capacities in our richly
endowed local health and mental health systems, FASD is often considered only after
an individual has had multiple related diagnoses, and ineffective interventions.
This is particularly concerning as consistency is important to positive development.
A proper assessment at any age can guide appropriate supports and interventions.
Sadly, though, an FASD identification is often considered after secondary disabilities
have developed, as ineffective interventions impact on the individual's relationship
with their family and community, often bringing them into conflict with the law.
The multidisciplinary assessment team which has been created by our area's FASD
Coalition through a recent Trillium grant will help to increase understanding of
the impact and incidence of FASD, but, as a pilot, will only assess a small number
of children and youth, and sustainability is always a concern. The willingness of
many local agencies to cooperate in this venture and support families and individuals
in a team approach is indicative of the high level of commitment within our community;
however, secured funding and designated resources are required in order to ensure
that families identified will have access to comprehensive and timely assessments,
and that our community continues to build capacity in the area of FASD-specific
support programs and services.
Family-Focused Intervention and Supports:
One of the key determinants of successful outcomes for individuals who are impacted
by FASD is having a stable home life. Again, sadly, of those identified with FASD,
the statistics of multiple caregivers and family breakdowns are daunting. Family-focused
supports and interventions which are guided by a clear understanding of FASD and
the strengths and needs of the individual, as well as the abilities and needs of
the caregivers are urgently needed in a deliberate, coordinated approach over the
lifespan. The identification and services related to FASD currently use resources
which are provided by many agencies and ministries. With the multiple needs often
identified in individuals who are affected, again, a multidisciplinary team approach
will be critical in improving positive outcomes and reducing the criminalization
of individuals who struggle with brain damage that occurred before they were born.
Less than 10 percent of individuals who are diagnosed are able to live independently
in adulthood, so supports based on functional ability are required for success in
all aspects of life, work and relationships.
This region is particularly well-positioned to implement any pilot projects and
document the success of work that is being done. Our health, mental health, education,
justice, academic, and adult and youth services sectors are poised to respond to
a call to coordinated action. Network member organizations are committed to professional
development and use of evidence-based and emerging practices related to prevention,
assessment and service. The FASD Elgin, London, Middlesex Oxford Network has a clear
mandate to move forward in the areas of prevention, assessment and services; and
the deliberate cross-representation that is occurring to infuse information about
emerging practices in discussions related to FASD will ensure progress in improving
Currently, without clear direction in the field, individuals, groups and regions
are struggling to create grassroots change leading to a huge investment of human
resources that could be better used. There is an enormous duplication of efforts
across regions and a high level of burnout for professionals and families who work
tirelessly to promote improved understanding and better use of resources to prevent
FASD and support individuals and families who struggle with FASD.
We look forward to working with you to promote advancements in preventing Fetal
Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and recognizing and providing supports for individuals
and families who are impacted by PAE.
FASD and Behaviour....
We are taught that behaviour is learned, deliberate, manipulative, and responsive
to discipline but with FASD it is often reactive, impulsive, immature and becomes
worse with consequences