Just When Things Seem Bleak…….FASD Success Stories Series (13th Story)

My friend Dan Dubovsky often says in his training sessions that people with an FASD have concrete thinking and they often have moments of great insight. I want to share two such moments that my son had when he was very young.

One day he was visiting my mother at the recreational community she spent her summers in and she was taking him for a ride on her golf cart through the beautiful wooded area. The golf cart broke down a great distance from her summer place and they had to wait in the woods for quite awhile for my stepfather to come and rescue them. After a good deal of time spent waiting, talking together, and looking at the nature surrounding them my son said, “Mom-Mom, I think God is giving us a Time-Out.”

He offered me another unique perspective one day as we were driving in the car. He asked, “Dad, is Mom-Mom going to have an Easter Egg Hunt for me again this year?” I answered, “Of course she will, it is a tradition.” My son said slyly, “I know what a tradition is.” So I took the bait and asked, “What is it?” He replied, “It’s when you do the same old thing, only it’s still fun.”


Source: http://fasdforever.com/feedback/success-stories/page/4/

FASD Awareness Day – September 09, 2015

Morning Event

We will be at Churchill square (City Hall), don’t worry, you won’t miss us as we will be wearing

bright yellow t-shirts saying “Don’t get your baby pickled”

We will have bubble machines going for the kids and kids at heart

 We predict a nice weather, yes! a nice weather in September

(PS, don’t hold it against us if the weather changes, you know, we live in the North Pole)

We will have freshly brewed coffee and good conversation awaiting your arrival

So come and join us!

Click here to download event poster

Evening Event

Lighting of the Highlevel Bridge

The City of Edmonton has kindly agreed to lite the high-level bridge pink and blue to commemorate this day.

Watch out for this!

H level bridge

Mom Shares her Daughter’s Story Living with FASD

The Cocco Family

The Cocco family photo by Claudio Bartolloni The Cocco family, from left, is Sofia, 6, Marco, Isabella and Vicki.

Isabella Cocco is energetic and full of life, like most children her age. However, as she gets older, the 12-year-old Oakville resident is finding it hard to fit in. She was born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which affects her learning, growth and development. Her birth mother’s decision to drink alcohol during her pregnancy has left her with physical and behavioural issues she’ll have to live with for the rest of her life.

Her adopted mother Vicki Cocco describes how difficult it is explaining to Isabella why she isn’t making friends as easily as others.  Although she’s physically like other pre-teens, Cocco said mentally, she isn’t like other 12 year olds.  “Unfortunately, kids with FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) don’t have many friends so that has been a constant struggle for parents like us to see,” said the Halton Catholic District School Board teacher.

Cocco, who has lived in Oakville all her life, is sharing her daughter’s story in hopes of educating others about FASD, which has no cure, but is fully preventable.  As part of International FASD Awareness Day on Sept. 9, Cocco wants to draw attention to the need to prevent FASD and open the discussion on how the community can better understand those living with the disorder.

The 44-year-old said when she and her husband first laid eyes on Isabella 10 years ago in the Ukraine, they saw the signs of FAS. Isabella had wide-set and narrow eyes, facial abnormalities common of a child who was exposed to alcohol prenatally.  Cocco said it didn’t deter them from the adoption process, but rather motivated them to provide a safe and loving home for her.  “We decided to go ahead and give her the opportunity here in Canada she wouldn’t otherwise have in the Ukraine,” said Cocco.

The family’s biggest challenge continues to be helping others understand Isabella’s disability.  There are just some concepts she’ll never be able to understand or learn, said Cocco.  Learning and remembering, understanding and following directions, controlling emotions and communicating and socializing are among the effects of FASD.  Physically, a child with FASD could have slowed growth and heart, kidney or bone problems as well.

Cocco said despite the challenges, children who have FASD have the sweetest of hearts.

“They will give their hearts and beyond,” she said. “They want you to love them back and be treated as any other child would be treated.”

Isabella is growing and thriving to the best of her disabilities, she continued.  “She’s going into Grade 7 this year and she’s coming to my school, which she is super excited about,” said Cocco.  She’s cautioning pregnant women to take care of themselves and their babies by avoiding alcohol.  “Don’t drink. Not even a sip of alcohol,” she said. “This is a lifelong disability and you’re doing so much damage to a child.”

Halton FASD will be hosting a community event at the Art Gallery of Burlington on Lakeshore Road on Sept. 9 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. to celebrate International FASD Awareness Day.

Source:  http://www.insidehalton.com/news-story/5815708-oakville-mom-shares-daughter-s-story-living-with-fasd/

FASD Research Study for Parents in Canada

strongest families

If you have a child (age 4-12) who has been diagnosed with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder you may be able to take part in a study for a parenting program designed to help you deal with your child’s challenging behaviours. To find out more please continue. PLEASE NOTE: You must live in Canada to take part in this study.

Please click here if you are interested in the study

Capetown-South Africa Expanding use of baby simulators

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The City of Cape Town is set to acquire 32 baby simulators as part of its soft skills programme for school pupils.

Cape Town – Following a successful pilot project earlier this year, the City of Cape Town is expanding the use of baby simulators as part of its substance abuse prevention programme.

The city’s social development and early childhood development directorate was set to acquire 32 baby simulators as part of its soft skills programme for pupils, mayoral committee member for social development and early childhood development Suzette Little said in a statement.

“A pilot project earlier this year proved hugely successful in teaching learners about the effects of substance and alcohol abuse on babies, with a specific focus on foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS),” she said.

The city enlisted the services of Reality Learning SA to run the pilot project on its behalf and pre- and post-tests were conducted to gauge how much the children learned from the programme.

It also elicited questions and discussions about other issues, such as sexual abuse, including when “no means no” and who to speak to when there was a problem, as some pupils said they felt they could not confide in their parents, teachers, or police.

Both principals and pupils requested additional programmes on topics, such as sex education, bullying, and peer pressure.

“In this financial year, each of the directorate’s eight districts will receive four simulators, including a healthy baby simulator, substance abuse addiction simulator, foetal alcohol syndrome simulator, and a shaken baby syndrome simulator,” Little said.

Click here for complete article

Source: http://www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/western-cape/cape-expanding-use-of-baby-simulators-1.1904282#.Vdtu9LJVhBd

The Risks of Drinking Alcohol When Trying to Get Pregnant

Most women know to stop drinking during pregnancy because of the risks to their developing fetus. But a new study shed light on the risk of women drinking alcohol while trying to conceive. The study on laboratory rats found an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the offspring of rats that were given alcohol around the time of conception.

pregnancy and wine

“There is now a lot of evidence that events occurring very early in pregnancy can influence lifelong health,” says Karen Moritz, PhD, associate professor at the School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia, and the lead author of the study. “We know that poor nutrition, either too little food or too much, during pregnancy, can lead to children with increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases.”

Moritz fed the rats the equivalent of five drinks during a period four days before conception until day four of gestation. They found that the offspring had elevated fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, and decreased insulin sensitivity at six months of age. Together these raise the risk that they would develop type 2 diabetes and obesity in early middle age.

“Before the egg implants, before any organs start to develop, alcohol consumption somehow causes changes to the embryo,” says Moritz. “We think the alcohol exposure around conception has caused changes in the very early embryo. This may be changes in expression of genes necessary for normal development or the metabolism of the embryo.”

The researchers also wanted to compare the effects of alcohol to the effects of a high fat and sugar diet, like the typical Western diet, which when consumed by pregnant women, has also been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. They placed some offspring, both control animals and those exposed to alcohol, on a Western diet when they were young adults. They found that the degree of insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) was similar in control rats (no alcohol) exposed to a Western diet and those exposed to alcohol but on a non-Western diet.

“This suggested that alcohol exposure around the time of conception was equally able to induce insulin resistance as consumption of the high fat diet in adult life,” says Moritz.

The study is the first to show an effect of alcohol consumption around conception on metabolism in offspring, but it is preliminary. “This study demonstrates the association, but it is important to remember that it is an animal model, “says Siobhan Dolan, MD, MPH, medical advisor to the March of Dimes. “So now it needs to be tested in women.” In the meantime, Dr. Dolan recommends women trying to conceive skip alcohol. “There are many reasons to abstain from drinking alcohol when you are trying to conceive or are pregnant, and this is yet another,” she says.

Source: http://www.endocrineweb.com/news/reproductionsexuality/16068-steer-clear-alcohol-when-trying-get-pregnant

FASD mislabelled, more widespread in WA than thought, researcher says

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is far more prevalent in Western Australia than the public is aware and is often mistakenly labelled as other conditions like ADHD, a leading researcher says.

Pregnant woman

Photo: FASD can cause delayed development, birth defects, poor growth and brain damage. (Ian Waldie, file photo: Getty Images

Canadian doctor and academic Julianne Conry is in Perth to speak at a symposium being held at the University of Western Australia on Thursday.

The symposium will explore a range of issues surrounding Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD, which results from prenatal alcohol exposure.

It can cause social and behavioural problems, delayed development, birth defects, poor growth and brain damage.

In Western Australia some research has been undertaken to investigate the prevalence of FASD in remote communities like the Fitzroy Valley in the Kimberley, where one in eight children are believed to be living with the disorder.

However, there is very little data on how it affects the wider community.

These are highly educated women but it doesn’t matter where you live or what your income level is, FASD occurs where drinking occurs.

Dr Julianne Conry

Dr Conry has spent the past 20 years researching and assessing children and adults with FASD in her home town of British Columbia which is considered a leader in diagnosing and supporting people with the condition.

She said it was wrong to think FASD was a problem that only affected Aboriginal people in remote communities and that the public would be shocked to learn how many children are sufferers.

“We’re inclined to think ‘I’m middle class, it isn’t going to affect me’,” Dr Conry said.

“Certainly in North America as women have become employed at higher levels … [they] have begun to drink like the men.

“Then they’re having their children later in life, so they have already established drinking patterns.

“These are highly educated women but it doesn’t matter where you live or what your income level is, FASD occurs where drinking occurs.”

The Telethon Institute’s Raewyn Mutch said it was hard to get an accurate picture of just how many West Australians were affected by FASD because there was limited ability to diagnose it and few places that provided support or care.

Ms Mutch agreed there was a public misconception about which children were either at risk or already suffering from the disorder.

“There’s this shaming of certain parts of the community that are seen to have VB cans lying on the ground and them sitting on the grass and drinking,” she said.

“That’s in contrast to other sectors of our community who are in high heels holding champagne glasses.

“One sector of society is esteemed because of how they drink and socialise, another is shamed.”

Click here for the rest of the article

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