F.A.S.D. is a lifelong disorder

On the 10th of September I attended a forum on F.A.S.D.(Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) in Red Deer.

On the 10th of September I attended a forum on F.A.S.D.(Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) in Red Deer. F.A.S.D. is a disorder that occurs when consuming alcohol during pregnancy. Consuming alcohol during this critical time causes dramatic neurological damage to the brain of the fetus and results in significant cognitive problems for the child that are lifelong. A person with F.A.S.D. will require lifelong support from social agencies because of cognitive problems that affect impulse control, concentration and social relationships. From information shared at this forum, I learnt that there are 36,000 persons diagnosed with this problem in Alberta. Estimates of inmates with F.A.S.D. the Canadian Justice suggest numbers are in excess of 50%. Not much has been known about this disorder until quite recently but for the last few decade more and more information has available about this condition.

There are a significant number of repeat offenders in the justice system and I believe F.A.S.D. is an important contributing factor. The diagnosis of F.A.S.D. is based on specific criterion, that have been refined in the last 20 years, and is based on brain scans that have detected significant neurological abnormalities in people with the disorder. Because of the lifelong impact of the disorder, the Alberta government has created 24 clinics province wide to assess people affected by this condition and developed an awareness campaign for women in their child bearing years.

This is important information for communities, families and prospective employers. Information like this can prevent the disorder form occurring and can help smooth the work environment for people who struggle with this disorder. Having patience with an employee struggling to learn some of the details of their job or periodically losing concentration, might ensure over the long term a dependable, loyal and satisfying employee, who is proud of their work.

For more information call Central Alberta FASD Network. COORDINATOR: Betty Lou Benson I 403.309. 5650 I fasdnetwork@shawbiz.ca.

George Jason

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