by Jyllian Cress Mainland Mi’kmaq Community Coordinator - FASD project, CMM

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is the most common reason for children’s learning to be delayed. FASD is caused by the biological mother drinking alcohol when pregnant. A woman drinking alcohol when pregnant may cause brain damage as well as birth defects. There is no safe time, type of alcohol or amount to drink during a pregnancy.

It is estimated that in Canada nine in every 1000 children are born have FASD. Physical difference of a child with FASD may include eye slits that are smaller making the eyes appear smaller, the ridge above the upper lip is flattened and the upper lip is thinner. The brain damage that happens because of  alcohol exposure can lead to the child not developing as quickly as expected, trouble paying attention, trouble in school, may be impulsive or unable to control themselves, trouble learning from their mistakes, hyperactivity, difficulty with abstract concepts  and being vulnerable and naive.

For a child who has FASD early detection and intervention services are key. Routine, structure and organization will help an individual with FASD know what to expect and could eliminate a lot of stress to the individual and those around them.  Don’t sweat the small stuff. Unless there is an issue of safety keep rules to a minimum and be flexible.

A way to start the conversation about FASD and spread awareness is to host a Mocktail party. This is a gathering held with non alcoholic drinks where people can talk about FASD, h ...

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