Brain Development – The Early Years

The brain guides growth and development. By understanding how the brain works, you can help children develop and grow.

A child’s brain develops through relationships and interactions with parents and other people. Look for everyday ideas of things you can do to help.

Brain development begins during pregnancy and continues into adult years. Babies are already learning even before they are born. At birth, the brain is about one-quarter the size of an adult’s and is made up of billions of neurons. A newborn’s brain is like a house that has just been built. The walls and doors are up, but the wiring isn’t all in place. There are still a lot of changes to come.

Building the brain is like building a house

In a house…

  • The structure is built starting on the ground.
  • The base or foundation is set, the walls are built and the electrical system…

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Update: FASD and the Justice System

Dr. Michelle Stewart, Strategic Research Lead for Justice Interventions with CanFASD, has had a busy start to the year! As an applied researcher, Dr. Stewart is actively engaged in local FASD initiatives focused on bringing about better justice outcomes for individuals with FASD. As a part of this work, and alongside the Canada Northwest FASD Partnership (CNFASDP), Dr. Stewart hosted a national symposium on February 22nd and 23rd 2017. The symposium, entitled “FASD, Justice & Reconciliation: Tough Questions, New Collaborations” brought together policy-makers, researchers, front-line workers, and family members from across Canada to discuss FASD and justice in conversation with the recently released Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action.

TRC Calls to Action #33 and #34 focus specifically on FASD within the justice system. Dr. Stewart took these Calls to Action as an opportunity to think differently about FASD and justice. The symposium, hosted in Regina…

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CanFASD: MEDIA RELEASE, Safest not to drink during pregnancy, best recommendation


Safest not to drink during pregnancy, best recommendation

CanFASD cautions that although conversation about stigmatization is important, there is still no established safe level of alcohol to consume during pregnancy.

May 19, 2017 — CanFASD, Canada’s leading FASD research network, says that a recent article posted by the The Guardian presents potentially harmful information about pregnancy and alcohol. The article posted on Thursday, May 18th claimed that warning pregnant women over dangers of alcohol goes too far. A similar article posted to The Telegraph states that advising women not to drink while pregnant is “sexist” and causes “needless anxiety”.

The two articles are based on a news release issued by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service promoting an upcoming conference entitled, Policing Pregnancy: Who Should be a Mother?

CanFASD agrees that although conversation around compassionate, non-judgmental ways to communicate this message to women and expectant mothers is indeed important—the current recommendations…

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The invisible disability caught in Canada’s prison system

The young man was illiterate, had an IQ below 70 and couldn’t tell time on an analog clock.

After receiving a court-ordered curfew, he started asking other people to notify him when it was 8 PM, in order to comply with that condition. Karrie-Noelle Plohman — an outreach program manager at Winnipeg’s Touchstone FASD Program who worked with the man — recalls that he quickly became aware of what it looked like outside at certain times, and when the sun set.

But the seasons changed. The sun started setting at different times.

“So he ended up getting repeated curfew breaches simply because he couldn’t actually tell time,” Plohman says.

It’s just one of the many problems that people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)  face in the criminal justice system due to difficulties with impulse control, learning from mistakes and understanding complex instructions…

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