The Loop - e-news

National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Australia.
[ Issue #15, November 2014 ]

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Dear Members & Supporters,
This month in “The Loop”
Like for most at this time of year, it has been a very busy month!

The NOFASD Australia AGM was held on November 24th, with some new members joining the board and some retiring from their roles.  From all of us at NOFASD Australia we thank these people for their ongoing support.  Vicki has written more about the AGM in her "From My Desk" piece.

In November, Vicki travelled to Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart to deliver training and attend conferences this month, which she has also written about more in her section below. Meanwhile, Adelle delivered education sessions to both students and staff at Loganlea State High School in Queensland, attended professional development training with FASD Consultant Kerryn Bagley in Brisbane, and presented at a Parent Forum at Devonport High School in Tasmania.  
In December, Vicki is off to Parliament House for a meeting with the National Complex Needs committee, and Adelle will be attending a Drug Action Forum on FASD in Newcastle.

In our last newsletter we announced we had lapel pins for sale for $2 each.  The response to purchase these pins was amazingly overwhelming - we were sold out very quickly! - and we thank everyone who purchased pins.  We're happy to announce a further order has been placed and those on the backorder list should hear from us soon.  If you would like to order a pin (or more!), please contact Terri at [email protected] with your postal address and we'll arrange to get them to you as soon as possible.

If you're on Facebook please 'Like' our page, and follow us on Twitter, to keep up with the latest news and happenings.  We also encourage you to share the NOFASD Community newsletter with your family and friends.

Until next time,
Social Media & Administration Officer

NOFASD Australia does not necessarily agree with the views or opinions expressed in the following linked articles.  Links are provided for interest and informational purposes only.
From My Desk...

The NOFASD Australia AGM was held on November 24th and the Annual Report will be uploaded to the website in the next week or so. Sue Miers was re-elected Chairperson continuing her commitment to the work she began over 15 years ago. Clare Thompson, Rochelle Watkins and Yvonne Inguz were not required to re-nominate and continue their role as Board members. Joining the Board are Louise Gray (Vice Chairperson), Victoria Monahan (Treasurer) and Connie May (Secretary), Paul Harper, Amanda Mulligan, Janet Woollard and Kerrie Scholten.  Biographies on each of the Board Members will shortly be posted on the website.  Barb Smith, a foundation member retired. Barb was there at the beginning with Sue and has continually supported NOFASD Australia.  Lorian Hayes, Neroli Endacott and Tammy Penna retired and all were formally thanked by Sue for their ongoing support.

Among other events this month, I had the opportunity to present as a panel member on FASD at the National Acquired Brain Injury Conference in Sydney and present a workshop at the National Fostercare Conference in Hobart. The interest in FASD is building momentum and this is positive. For no real reason, national conferences reminded me of the times when organisers of FASD education and training events worry that audience numbers are small. I always say that a conversation with just one person is valuable because we never know if this one person will effect change in the life of a person living with FASD or prevent and alcohol exposed pregnancy.

I had the privilege this month to be present at the Line in the Sand Forum in Melbourne, an initiative of the Aboriginal Disability Justice Campaign on the inappropriate incarceration of Aboriginal people with a cognitive impairment. Chaired by Mick Gooda and organised by Patrick McGee from ADJC, presentations made over the day were interspersed with group work to develop an Action Statement. I travelled to Adelaide to present training to service providers at an event organised by the Exceptional Needs Unit. 

We are currently working on the development of a webinar education and training service. Many professionals, service providers and parents/carers from rural and remote communities are seeking information and support strategies in their role and our national work role and caller isolation has led to trialling this approach to offer support. It is anticipated that each month we will focus on a topic.

December means celebration for many – end of year parties, schoolies and workplace functions. A television program this week about preparation for Christmas had on display all the glamour, colour and tinsel and then the presenter made the statement “all that’s missing is the champagne!” These kinds of statements are common and can be heard all year round even on the morning shows. Christmas and New Year are wonderful events but on a serious note, I would like to mention the calls we receive in late January from worried, expectant parents who realise that from the time of conception to the time their pregnancies were confirmed, their alcohol intake was high and often consistent. Our callers never intentionally risked their unborn child’s healthy development. There is no easy answer to the question “have I harmed my child?” We listen to callers speak about knowing the risk posed by alcohol use in pregnancy, about how much alcohol was consumed in a 2 to 4 week period and there is a disconnect between drinking and the possibility of pregnancy. The reality is  no-one can ever say which pregnancy or which unborn child is vulnerable however and can offer support and always value a caller’s statement that no alcohol has been consumed since learning of the pregnancy. The message for December is an old one and is precautionary: If you are planning to be pregnant, plan not to use alcohol. Likewise, if you plan to drink, then plan not to be pregnant.

Vicki Russell

Of Special Interest
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report
On the 7th November, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released a report presenting information about data collection regarding the identification of ways to facilitate the collection and reporting of FASD related information in Australia.
The report, in summary, states that:
  • There is limited information currently available about FASD in Australia and internationally, which reflects the low level of awareness of FASD conditions, the difficulty in diagnosis and the absence of agreed diagnostic criteria.
  • The quality of the information available is variable and incomplete for determining FAS cases.  There is no information available on other disorders in the spectrum.
  • Priorities for determining the prevalence of FASD are regular surveillance and monitoring. 
  • A national data repository on FASD would enable appropriate resources and services to be delivered to those affected (and their families) as well as providing support to researchers and clinicians.
NOFAS [USA & UK] Rejects Classifying FASD as a “Criminal Injury”
There is currently a court case in the United Kingdom that could lead to the criminalization of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.  NOFASD Australia opposes such action as gendered, reinforcing women as accountable for alcohol use in a culture in which alcohol use is pervasive. As explained in the NOFAS statement, NOFAS Opposes Criminalizing Alcohol Use by Pregnant Women,  NOFAS opposes any law or policy that would impose a criminal penalty on the act of drinking alcohol while pregnant.  Read more…
National News and Media
Void in data as fetal alcohol babies in crisis
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are at "crisis levels in many indigenous communities", according to the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, who will use a new report to argue for tougher welfare rules to take control of the disorder.  Read more…

NSW/ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance – 'Not One More'
'Not One More' is a campaign by the NSW/ACT Alcohol Policy Alliance calling on the political parties in the upcoming election to commit to stopping alcohol harms across NSW.  Each day in NSW alcohol results in 66 assaults, including 27 domestic assaults, 28 emergency department presentations, 142 hospitalisations and three deaths. One more harm from alcohol is one too many.  The State Election in March 2015 provides NSW with an opportunity to ensure that their next Government continues to work towards a comprehensive plan that addresses alcohol harms. Watch the video.

FASD Workshop – 11 December – Newcastle CDAT
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) represents the single largest form of non-genetic birth defects. More evidence is emerging of the significant under estimated impact of FASD diagnosis in the policing, juvenile/criminal justice, education and community/family service and support systems.  Newcastle Community Drug Action Team (CDAT) has organised a very important workshop of invited key local stakeholders (assisted by Professor Elizabeth Elliott AM) on Thursday 11 December 2014 to initiate a comprehensive (whole government/whole community) model strategy development process specifically for Newcastle to systematically address the impact of FASD.  Read more…

Indigenous Elders call for caution over FASD
Indigenous welfare groups and Elders have urged the federal government not to stigmatise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as part of moves to combat Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  Research from the Fitzroy Crossing area in Western Australia’s Kimberley Region has shown that  one in four Indigenous babies is born there with FASD.  Read more… 

The battle for Fitzroy Crossing: June Oscar is at the helm again
Today it is tranquil as June Oscar collects sticks to turn into charcoal; she has a smoking ceremony to perform in a few days, a blessing ritual she performs regularly for the babies of her friends and family. She [tells] me about the battles fought and sometimes won in her community of Fitzroy Crossing, and the crisis unfolding now, among the children she so deeply cares about. For this valley of about 4500 people has one of the world’s highest recorded rates of babies born with brain damage due to their mother's alcohol consumption in pregnancy. "I've often said it's a humanitarian crisis," she observes, "one that will require everyone to think deeply, to respond collectively." Read more…

How safe is alcohol use in pregnancy?
Should mums-to-be who drink be branded criminals?  A landmark case addressing this question is currently underway in the United Kingdom. Lawyers for a seven-year-old child with FAS, argue the child should receive compensation from the government-funded Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority as this child has been the victim of a crime.  In this case the mother is alleged to have drunk heavily during pregnancy, despite warnings that this might harm her unborn child.  For compensation to be awarded, the court must agree that the mother’s actions were criminal.  Read more… 
Social Investment Request for Information [NZ]
The Government wants to improve the lives of New Zealanders most in need. We want to know what you think we could do to make the biggest difference for the hardest to reach children and their families.  The Treasury has released a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New Zealanders and others whose input might help the Government invest to get better results. The deadline for responses to the RFI is 4 December 2014.  Read more…  

Pora ‘confessed for $50,000 reward’ [NZ]
Teina Pora admitted to a crime he did not commit because he wanted a $50,000 police reward, his lawyers have told a Privy Council hearing in London.  Pora had confessed to the murder and rape of Burdett only because he wanted the $50,000 police reward and expected immunity from prosecution, Krebs said. Pora had now sworn an affidavit stating this. Read more…

Young Australian women are most dependent on alcohol
They’re out at clubs late at night, drinking to excess and paying for it the next day. Young, cashed-up professional women are the most "high risk" or dependent on alcohol, new research claims. The majority of participants in Hello Sunday Morning, an online sobriety support community, are young women (61 per cent) and nearly all had been engaged in "risky" or "high risk" drinking. The research was based on 3037 participants in the program and carried out by the University of Queensland. Read more…

What is the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder [NZ]
Every year around 600 New Zealanders are born with a horrible condition because their mothers drank while they were pregnant.  The terms Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and its more extreme form Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) have appeared recently in two news items.  In a hearing in front of London’s Privy Council the lawyers for Teina Pora and the Crown agreed that Pora suffers from FASD.  Meanwhile the English Court of Appeal is wrestling with whether a girl born with FAS is entitled to criminal injuries compensation.  Read more… 
17 Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Organizations and Resources To Know About
Every year over 40,000 infants are diagnosed with a completely preventable syndrome. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. FASDs are completely preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol during pregnancy. There are numerous resources available for individuals looking for more information on FAS. Here is a list of organizations and resources to get you started.  Read more…

Tips for Caregivers of Children with FASD
Like all of us, a person or child with FASD is unique and special. Each has their own individual strengths and challenges. They have brains that work a little differently and often different approaches to caregiving are needed to help them become their “best person”.  Several caregiver tip sheets are available with the FASD Child in mind. As every child is different, assistance from a professional with knowledge about FASD may be needed to adapt the strategies to meet the individual needs of the child. Read more… 

Grateful for the journey
A first-hand account from Terri Winder, an adoptive parent of three siblings living with FASD.  Read more…

FASD ONE – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Ontario Network of Expertise
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Ontario Network of Expertise (FASD ONE) is a group that works together to address issues related to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in the province. Membership includes experts and specialists in research, health promotion, diagnosis, justice services, education, community and policy development, and service delivery as well as family members who have intimate knowledge of the practical needs of individuals with this disability. Action group members have been working together for a number of years but have formalized the collaborative approach in 2005.  FASD ONE is an unincorporated collaboration of diverse provincial and local stakeholder action groups working to promote, plan, facilitate, and support the coordination, enhancement, and expansion of services and initiatives to better serve children, youth, parents, pregnant women, and families affected by FASD in communities across Ontario. Read more…

52 Ways to Talk about Adoption Card Game
Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) is pleased to present 50 Ways to Talk About Adoption, a unique card game for adoptive families.  Created by its adoption-competent staff, this game encourages family discussion of adoption in a playful and interesting way.  Read more… 
International News and Media
Foetal damage caused by alcohol 'equivalent to attempted manslaughter' [UK]
Severe damage inflicted on an unborn baby by her mother’s heavy drinking during pregnancy was equivalent to an attempt at manslaughter, the court of appeal has been told.  Opening a claim for compensation on behalf of the girl, now seven, lawyers argued that she was entitled to payments from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).  Read more… 

'Stronger warnings needed' over pregnant women drinking [UK]
Campaigners and doctors are calling for stronger warnings about drinking during pregnancy, ahead of a legal test case on foetal alcohol syndrome.  The case will decide if a child born with serious disabilities caused by her mother’s alcohol consumption should be compensated as a victim of crime.  Some estimate suggest thousands are born every year in the UK with serious health defects caused by alcohol.  Read more… 

Leef pulls FASD bill from Parliament [Canada]
Yukon MP Ryan Leef plans to withdraw his private member's bill to amend the criminal code of Canada to recognize fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.  Leef says he made the decision to pull Bill C-583 after realizing chances were slim it could become legislation in time for next year's election.  "There was no way it could get through three readings in the Senate between April and the end of June with all the other legislation before it," he said.  Read more… 

Womb Wounds: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder [USA]
Recently referred to as an "invisible condition" by the popular Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome [sic] Disorder (FASD) often goes undiagnosed.  A supervisor at the Toronto Children's Aid Society described to the Trauma & Mental Health Report the stream of FASD cases that have recently found their way into youth care and justice systems.  Read more… 

Call for New Developmental Project Proposals by the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD) 
CIFASD is soliciting potential new investigators through its development/pilot research project mechanism. The mission of CIFASD is to inform and develop effective interventions and treatment options, mechanistic studies, and diagnostic approaches of FASD through multidisciplinary research involving basic, behavioral and clinical investigators and projects. Selected projects will begin on June 1, 2015. Funding of a project for a second year is contingent on good progress during the first year. As this is a consortium of investigators, how your proposed developmental project interrelates to existing projects is a prime consideration. To be eligible for consideration, you must be a member of a college or university, or a recognized research institute. There are no limitations in terms of your geographical location.  Read more… 

Special Olympian With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Named A Finalist For 'Runner's World' Cover Contest [USA]
Runner's World announced Andrew Peterson, a 21-year-old Special Olympian born with fetal alcohol syndrome, as a finalist for its cover contest. Peterson announced his finalist position in Runner's World on his Facebook page called "Andrew Peterson Goes for the Gold."
"Runner's World introduced me this afternoon through social media," Peterson said, linking to the Runner's World article. "Here's the link — complete with several photos from my photo shoot as well a shortened version of the speech I've delivered to 35,000 high school students in Indiana (which my brother Brandon put together for me over the weekend). And thank you to all the people who've always believed in me and pushed me to become better on and off the track."  Read more… 

Babies to benefit from PrimeWest grant: $1.6 million applied to reduce prenatal drug use [USA]
It has become commonplace for babies to be placed on protective holds after they are born to mothers who have been abusing drugs during their pregnancies, especially in areas with high poverty like Bemidji [Minnesota].  A solution has presented itself in the form of a collaborative PrimeWest Health grant.  The Reducing Substance Abuse to Improve Pregnancy Outcomes Program will promote sobriety during pregnancy to decrease occurrences of NAS and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome through early intervention and by educating and increasing awareness in the community.  Read more… 

Local organizations link up to help families stay healthy [USA]
On Oct. 19-20, the annual PumpkinFest event in downtown Ukiah provided an ideal setting for Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) staff and other like-minded organizations to share important health messages with families with young children – the most likely population to be pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or know someone who is.  Some 400 passers-by may initially have been attracted by sippy cups and baby bibs, or by the refreshing mocktails (non-alcoholic, non-sugary drinks), but many visitors engaged with booth-tenders about ways to stay healthy and walked away with information on the availability of services covering nutrition, breastfeeding, and treatment for alcohol and drug dependency.  Read more…  

'Choices' program reaches out to women [USA]
If even one woman decides to get on birth control while she is sexually active and drinking, it is worth all the efforts of a local program designed to help women make healthy choices, says Choices program coordinator Susan Pourier.  Choices, a national program that was brought to South Dakota in 2010, has grown from a small grant-based program with the Oglala Sioux Tribe to an active organization with a curriculum designed specifically for Native women.  Read more… 

Mother, Daughter Bring Awareness to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome [USA]
Each day, dozens of students fill the hallways of Warren Elementary School, including Annie Stanley, 10.  Monday, she practiced reading and spelling, made more difficult by Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  "I just growed up and that's what I gotted, in my brain," Annie said.  "She never got a voice.  Nobody asked her if she wanted a drink. She got it," Cherie Stanley, Annie's adoptive mother, said.  Read more… 

FASD Communities is a first of its kind organization to build a community for young adults with FASD [USA]
Our mission is to provide a FASD resident-based living center that combines a homey atmosphere with meaningful vocational opportunities, that focuses on what you can do, not just what you can't. A place to develop your talents, engage in sports and recreational programs and find plenty of lifelong friends. Read more… 

Lakeland FASD exceeds provincial standards [Canada]
An independent seven-year evaluation of the provincial 10-year strategic plan on FASD concludes that programs and services funded by the government are working.  The Lakeland Centre for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (LCFASD) provides government funded services in FASD diagnosis/assessment, support services, prevention, and awareness.  Each FASD network area was evaluated as part of this provincial review.  The LCFASD is one of 12 service networks in the province and is recognised in this evaluation as a leader in the development of uniquely rural programs and for assisting newer networks in becoming established.  Read more…  

Alberta's child advocate calls for changes [Canada]
Alberta's children's advocate wants social workers to better connect aboriginal kids in government care with their families and culture.  It’s one of three recommendations made in Del Graff's report examining the suicide of a 15-year-old aboriginal boy.  The teen had tried four other times to kill himself before he was found hanging in a playground near his group home in 2012. He was diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and sometimes lashed out violently against other teens and care home staff. Read more… 
Latest Research
Why does society accept a higher risk for alcohol than for other voluntary or involuntary risks?
J. Rehm, D.W. Lachenmeier and R. Room, BMC Medicine, 21 October 2014, doi: 10.116/s12916-014-0189-z
Societies tend to accept much higher risks for voluntary behaviours, those based on individual decisions (for example, to smoke, to consume alcohol, or to ski), than for involuntary exposure such as exposure to risks in roil, drinking water or air.  The voluntary mortality risk of alcohol consumption exceeds the risks of other lifestyle risk factors. In addition, evidence shows that the involuntary risks resulting from customary alcohol consumption far exceed the acceptable threshold for other involuntary risks and would be judged as not acceptable.  This is along with special treatment of alcohol in the public health field, in part reflecting overestimation of its beneficial effect on ischaemic disease when consumed in moderation.  Read more…
The Making of a Medical Disorder: Tracing the Emergence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Alberta
I. Shankar, Social Work in Public Health, 6 November 2014 (epub ahead of print), doi: 10/1080/19371918.2014.938390
This article examines the processes through which health disorders become accepted as a public health concern, and the defining role played by social actors responsible for bringing such disorders to public attention. Such analysis provides us with a particular history of health disorders and the implications of this early history in the current conceptualization of such disorders within contemporary health programs and policies. This article traces the emergence and acceptance of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) as a public health concern in Alberta and the ongoing tensions resulting from this early history. Specifically, the author examines the integral role of social workers and various government officials in getting FASD recognized as a health concern. This Alberta case study demonstrates the importance of investigating the sociopolitical context in which health disorders emerge and become accepted.  Read more… 

Midwives’ knowledge, attitudes and practice about alcohol exposure and the risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
J.M. Payne, R.E. Watkins, H.M. Jones, T. Reibel, R. Mutch, A. Wilkins, J. Whitlock & C. Bower, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 5 November 2014, doi: 10.1186/s12884-014-0377-z
Midwives are an influential profession and a key group in informing women about alcohol consumption in pregnancy and its consequences.   There are no current quantitative Australian data on midwives’ knowledge, attitudes and practice in relation to alcohol consumption during pregnancy and FASD. This cross-sectional study was conducted at 19 maternity sites across the seven health regions of country Western Australia.  A total of 334 midwives were invited to participate in the research and 73.4% of these were eligible.  Nearly all midwives in this study asked and advised about alcohol consumption in pregnancy and around two thirds provided information about the effects of alcohol in pregnancy. Our findings support the need for further professional development for midwives on screening and brief intervention. Policy should support midwives’ practice to screen for alcohol consumption in pregnancy and offer brief intervention when indicated.  Read more…

Incidence and prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder by sex and age group in Alberta, Canada
N.X. Thanh, E. Jonsson, A. Salmon & M. Sebastianski, Journal of Population Therapeutics and Clinical Pharmacology, 29 Oct 2014 (epub ahead of print)
All patients recorded in the Alberta provincial health databases of inpatients, outpatients and practitioner claims from 2003-2012 were included in this study to estimate incidence and prevalence of FASD by sex and age in Alberta.  The number of people with FASD were calculated from available data on FAS and estimated prevalence of FASD among individuals diagnosed with 21 FASD-related conditions such as learning disabilities, mental retardation and nervous system defects.  Fractions of FASD-related diagnoses that can be attributed to alcohol use during pregnancy was estimated by a systematic review.  The study found annually, 739 to 1884 people were born with FASD in Alberta, establishing an incidence of 14.2-43.8 per 1000 births, depending on the length of follow-up.  This study suggests new incidence and prevalence of FASD, which are higher than what has been commonly used.  Read more… 
Nutrition Implications for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
J.K. Young, H.E. Glesbrecht, M.N. Eskin, M. Aliani & M. Suh, Advances in Nutrition, November 2014, doi: 10.3945/an.113.004846
Optimal maternal nutritional status is of utmost importance for proper fetal development, yet it is often altered with alcohol consumption.  It is critical to determine a means to resolve and reduce the physical and neurological malformations that develop in the fetus as a result of prenatal alcohol exposure.  The focus of this review is to provide an overview of nutrients that may prevent or alleviate the development of FASD. Results from various nutrient supplementation studies in animal models and FASD-related research conducted in humans provide insight into the plausibility of prenatal nutrition interventions. Further research is necessary to confirm positive results, to determine optimal amounts of nutrients needed in supplementation, and to investigate the collective effects of multiple-nutrient supplementation.  Read more… 

Productivity Losses Because of Morbidity Attributable to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Canada: A Demographic Approach
B. Easton, L. Burd, A. Sarnocinska-Hart, J. Rehm and S. Popova, Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Nov 2014 (epub ahead of print)
The purpose of this study was to estimate the productivity losses due to morbidity of individuals with (FASD). A demographic approach was used. Population estimates were calculated using data for the most recent available year (i.e., 2011) on the population of Canada by provinces, the labor force, unemployment rate, and the average weekly wage, all of which were obtained from Statistics Canada.  The study found about 0.03% of the Canadian workforce experiences a loss of productivity because of FASD-attributable morbidity, which translates to aggregate losses ranging from $418 million Canadian dollars (CND) to $1.08 billion CND annually, and concludes FASD imposes a considerable economic toll on Canadian society and therefore requires more preventive efforts.  Read more…
Prevalence and Characteristics of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
P.A. May, A. Baete, J. Russo, A.J. Elliott, J. Blankenship, W.E. Kalberg, D. Buckley, M. Brooks, J. Hasken, O. Abdul-Rahman, M.P. Adam, L.K. Robinson, M. Maning and H.E. Hoyme, Pediatrics, 1 November 2014, doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-3319
The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and characteristics of FASD among first grade students (6- to 7-year-olds) in a representative Midwestern US community.  From a consented sample of 70.5% of all first graders enrolled in public and private schools, an oversample of small children and randomly selected control candidates were examined for physical growth, development, dysmorphology, cognition, and behaviour.  The conclusion drawn was that children who have FASD are more prevalent among first graders in this Midwestern city than predicted by previous, popular estimates.  Read more…

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders among children in a Brazilian orphanage
K. Strömland, L.O. Venturra, L. Mirzaei, K. Fontes de Oliveira, J.M. Bandim, A.P. Ivo and C. Brandt, Birth Defects Research Part A: Clinical and Molecular Teratology, 5 November 2014, doi 10.1002/bdra.23326
The objective was to investigate the frequency of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and ophthalmologic anomalies in orphanage children in Brazil. A prospective study was performed on 94 children living in an orphanage in Brazil. The children were examined by a multidisciplinary team consisting of specialists in pediatrics, neurology, psychology, neuropsychiatry, and ophthalmology. Of all the children studied, 50% had mothers with known alcohol abuse and 47% had one or more diagnoses of neurodevelopmental/behavioral and/or cognitive deficits. Altogether 17% had FASD, comprising three children with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), six with partial FAS, and seven with alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder. Nearly half of the children living in the orphanage had neurodevelopmental disorders and a considerable number showed signs of damage from prenatal alcohol exposure. Read more… 
Upcoming Events
Supporting children and families affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) - Free Webinar
DATE: 10th December 2014
DETAILS: This webinar, including Vicki Russell (NOFASD Australia CEO) as a presenter, will describe some of the adverse consequences of FASD on children’s development, and outline effective approaches to support children and families affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.  While FASD can be found in any population, its impact can be especially significant for children placed in out-of-home or kinship care. The presentation will therefore address the additional challenges of supporting children with FASD living in these circumstances.  The webinar will build upon a CFCA paper and practice guide that will be published on December 3. If you subscribe to CFCA news you will be notified when these resources are available.  For more information and registration, click here.  

Retreat for Adoptive Parents of People with FASD - Vancouver, BC, Canada
DATE: 31st January 2015
DETAILS: 8.30am to 2.30pm.  Includes a choice of two speakers in the morning, free time for a walk, journaling, networking, art or massage, and a self-care presentation and discussion.  For more information and registration, click here. 

The 6th International Conference on FASD – Research: Results and Relevance 2015 – Vancouver, BC, Canada
DATE: 4-7th March 2015
DETAILS:  This advanced level conference continues to bring together experts from multiple disciplines to share international research.  From pure science, to prevention, diagnosis and intervention across the lifespan, the conference will address the implications of this research and promote scientific/community collaboration.  It provides an opportunity to enhance understanding of the relationships between knowledge and research and critical actions related to FASD. This multicultural, interdisciplinary conference will be of interest to the following audiences: addictions; administrators; child welfare professionals, clinicians; community members; educators; elected officials; family members; policymakers; FASD specialists; health/mental health; justice; physicians; researchers; women’s service providers; and anyone interested in the field of FASD. For more information and registration, click here. 

2015 Australian Winter School Conference – Call for Abstracts
Want to contribute to the dialogue on the latest thinking and practices in drug and alcohol treatment? Then the AWSC Team would love to hear from you!  They are looking for conference speakers and workshops to inspire delegates and introduce them to new ideas and ways of thinking and working.  
Welcome are submissions of abstracts from people who are:
  • Involved in delivering innovative evidence-based drug and alcohol programs and services
  • Have some new and ground-breaking researcher to report on that has direct relevance to practice and treatment
  • Have an example of an effective or successful early intervention and prevention or health promotion program or social marketing campaign
  • Are involved in an innovative area of alcohol and drug policy that impacts on alcohol and drug treatment
Abstracts are welcome on a wide range of drug and alcohol topics including: early intervention, prevention & health promotion; working with Indigenous communities; young people, alcohol & drugs; pharmaceuticals; NSPs, PIEDs; measuring impacts & outcomes; partnerships; domestic and family violence & child safety; family and child centred practice; social marketing; and FASD.
Unleash Potential is the exciting theme that we are taking to the 2015 Australian Winter School conference . Our focus is on broadening our experiences, challenging our responses, adopting new perspectives and turning ideas into action.
Deadline for Abstracts is Friday, 23rd January 2015. For the full list of abstract topics, guidelines, and templates, please visit the conference website.
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