2022 marks the 6th annual National Access Ability Week in Canada. Voices of Albertans with Disabilities (VAD) is excited to host screenings of the Oscar Nominated Film Crip Camp.
Grande Prairie! We invite you to join us on May 31, 2022 for a FREE movie at the Douglas J. Cardinal Performing Arts Centre (in Northwest Polytechnic). Doors will open at 6:30 PM and the movie will start at 7:00 pm. In order to best accommodate you, we do ask that you register ahead of time. Tickets are limited.
Please select the ‘seating accommodation required’ if you will have an attendant, or require specific seating arrangements.
The NW Peace FASD Network is very grateful for the wonderful board members we have. We would like to recognize Kathy Lambert for Tim Hortons Volunteer of the Week. Kathy has been the executive director for Wapiti Community Support Association since 2018. Kathy joined the NW Peace FASD Network board as a director in 2021 as she was wanting to be involved in the great work the network is doing in the north. She has worked in multiple positions in the Human Service field in Northern Alberta. I am passionate about supporting people in getting connected to the resources they choose and to be successful in their goals. I believe in supporting individuals with FASD and their families to recognize themselves as supported valued members of our community.
By clicking on this link, attendees will be able to sign up as Caregivers, Caregivers + COMPASS Certification Program Participants, Health Care Professionals, or Health Care Professionals + Certification Program Participants.
Greaves, Lorraine, Nancy Poole, and Andreea C. Brabete. 2022. “Sex, Gender, and Alcohol Use: Implications for Women and Low-Risk Drinking Guidelines” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 8: 4523. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19084523
Alcohol use is coming under increasing scrutiny with respect to its health impacts on the body. In this vein, several high-income countries have issued low-risk drinking guidelines in the past decade, aiming to educate the public on safer levels of alcohol use. Research on the sex-specific health effects of alcohol has indicated higher damage with lower amounts of alcohol for females as well as overall sex differences in the pharmacokinetics of alcohol in male and female bodies. Research on gender-related factors, while culturally dependent, indicates increased susceptibility to sexual assault and intimate partner violence as well as more negative gender norms and stereotypes about alcohol use for women. Sex- and gender-specific guidelines have been issued in some countries, suggesting lower amounts of alcohol consumption for women than men; however, in other countries, sex- and gender-blind advice has been issued. This article reports on a synthesis of the evidence on both sex- and gender-related factors affecting safer levels of drinking alcohol with an emphasis on women’s use. We conclude that supporting and expanding the development of sex- and gender-specific low-risk drinking guidelines offers more nuanced and educative information to clinicians and consumers and will particularly benefit women and girls.
In 2017, CanFASD developed a document intended to encourage consistency in how we talk and write about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Our Common Messages Guidelines have now been around for five years, and we regularly update them to reflect new research and information.
CanFASD strongly believes that respect, dignity, and human worth for people with FASD, people who are pregnant, and their support systems should be promoted. We also value information that is accurate and evidence-based. Our Guidelines align with these values and promote messages that are in line with these principles.
Our revised 2022 Guidelines were just released. They include additions and updates related to:
FASD and mental health statistics;
Strengths-based language and healthy outcomes;
Language around diagnosis;
Using “may have FASD” instead of “suspected FASD”
Reframing conversations around “won’t” vs “can’t” to focus more on how we can best provide supports; and
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) the leading non-genetic developmental disability in Australia, caused by drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
In some cases the symptoms of FASD often go overlooked and undiagnosed – a recent study of almost 1,500 Australian women aged 18-44 years found that more than half (51 percent) of women surveyed were not aware that alcohol use could cause harm even in the first few weeks after conception – leaving those who have FASD unsupported in school environments and beyond.
“The effects of this condition are life long,” explains Professor Elizabeth Elliott, University of Sydney. “So even though it is often diagnosed in children, as those children grow up, if they have problems with understanding and expressing their feelings, if they’ve got poor impulse control, they often drop our of school, they often get in trouble with the legal system, and they often have poor self esteem. Many of them cannot live and work independantly, so it’s really important to understand that this is a life-long problem.”
To find out more, we spoke to three mothers who have experienced FASD, and hear their stories.
– Mother of a child with FASD
I was physically dependent upon alcohol when I fell pregnant after self-medicating on, amongst other trauma, the devastating news that without IVF, I could not conceive. That sad irony is not lost on me. When my son received his official diagnosis of FASD (he was first diagnosed with autism), it solidified what deep down, I already knew and that was very confronting. The guilt was crippling however it was also a moment of great relief as the early interventions and accommodations my son desperately needed became available to him. He had his correct diagnosis.
My child’s symptoms include difficulty with emotional regulation, extreme anxiety, speech issues, sensory issues and both academic and social challenges at school. Especially in mathematics and handwriting. These symptoms present as behaviours such as yelling, throwing things and shutting down. He has an NDIS plan which allows for him to attend speech therapy, occupational therapy and psychology. This has helped him immeasurably. His therapists also communicate with his school and they have been wonderful with implementing any and all accommodations suggested to ensure school is a positive place. Fidget and sensory items help with anxiety.
I have also learned and adapted to my son’s world rather than expecting him to fit our rigid world. He simply cannot do that. Rather than driving to team sports, we are driving to therapy appointments but we still make it a lot of fun.
My advice is for women wanting to conceive and given that around one third of pregnancies are unplanned, any women where potentially falling pregnant is a possibility. FASD is an irreversible lifelong brain based disability which is invisible from the outside in the vast majority of children and it’s 100% preventable. It can and does occur at low level alcohol consumption and when women have stopped drinking the second they found out they were pregnant. There is now no doubt that there is no safe limit of alcohol consumption at any time during pregnancy. Alcohol is a teratogen and crosses the placenta causing damage to the unborn baby’s brain and organ development. Prevention is key however I would be remiss not to address any women who may already have consumed alcohol during pregnancy and are worried about their child. The correct diagnosis is always the best diagnosis and women need not feel shame or blame in disclosing alcohol use during their pregnancy in order to get help for their children. Any women who are physically dependant on alcohol also need not feel shame in disclosing this as there is help and support available. My advice for health professionals, please show understanding and compassion. No mother intentionally sets out to harm her unborn child.