As many as 1 in 20 US kids harmed by alcohol in the womb, study says

Here is a piece By Michael Nedelman, CNN on the prevalence of alcohol consumption among pregnant women in the US.  It is reported that 1 in 20 children in the US is harmed by alcohol while still in their mother’s womb

Numbers of women drinking during pregnancy are higher than expected. One in 10 pregnant women reported drinking in the last 30 days, with more than 3% reporting to binge,  in a 2015 report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),Photo:

Numbers of women drinking during pregnancy are higher than expected.  One in 10 pregnant women reported during the last 30 days, with more than 3% reporting to binge, in a 2015 report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

(CNN)More children have been affected by drinking during pregnancy than previously thought, according to a study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Up to one in 20 American kids falls somewhere on the spectrum of disorders caused by maternal drinking, according to the study’s more conservative estimate. But that number could be as many as 1 in 10, using another approach outlined in the study.
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are a group of conditions that may include abnormal growth and facial features, intellectual disabilities and behavioral problems, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We have long thought and believed that estimates that we had previously in the US were pretty gross underestimates,” said Christina Chambers, one of the study’s authors and a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. “It’s not an easy disorder to recognize.”
Chambers and her colleagues say their results may be closer to reality than earlier studies. A “commonly accepted estimate” in the US is a prevalence of 1 in 100, the authors say, which is on par with the lower end of their study’s findings.
But the new study’s higher numbers were met with criticism from other experts, including Susan Astley, director of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Diagnostic and Prevention Network at the University of Washington.
“I don’t have a very high regard for the numbers,” said Astley, who also teaches epidemiology and pediatrics at the University of Washington. “I’m very disappointed to see this featured in the likes of JAMA.”
Astley said the new study both overestimates and underestimates the prevalence in different ways, largely due to how the data were collected. She said she doesn’t know whether the true prevalence is higher than previously thought but stressed that more research was needed.
“It’s absolutely clear we need accurate estimates of this. In my opinion, we don’t currently have that,” she said.


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Please click on the links below to download minutes for supports & services and Society meeting

February 2018 – Supports and Services Minutes

February 2018 – Society Meeting Minutes

Education Act amendment to increase FASD awareness in hands of Halton MPP Indira Naidoo-Harris

It’s now up to Halton MPP and Ontario’s Minister of Education Indira Naidoo-Harris.

Parents and caregivers of those with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) across the province will be waiting.

EMMA:44909613They will watch in anticipation to see if Naidoo-Harris rises in the legislature at Queen’s Park on Feb. 20 and carries Bill 191 forward for second reading; if not, the bill will die.

Bill 191 calls for an amendment to the Education Act to promote awareness and understanding of FASD, as well as best practices to support students with the disorder, and to collaborate with parents and caregivers to do so.


“It’s a paradigm shift in thinking, in being able to think brain, not blame.”
Parent advocate Mary Ann Bunkowsky

The private member’s bill was first raised and unanimously supported last December by Kingston MPP Sophie Kiwala.

“The bill is critical to children with FASD to achieve success,” commented Mark Courtepatte, co-chair of the Hamilton FASD Parent and Caregiver Support Group, and former acting chair of the Halton group of the same name, as well as chair of the Ontario FASD Political Action Group.

“Many school boards across Ontario today do not recognize FASD under the (ministry’s pupil) exceptionalities. Autism is very similar to FASD in the characteristics, behaviours and methods and approaches to support them, however, the supports and awareness within the ministry of education and school boards across Ontario for FASD are a fraction of what exists for Autism,” said Courtepatte.

FASD is often referred to as ‘Autism without the supports’, he said.

According to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services FASD Round Table report, there are in excess of 130,000 people with FASD in Ontario.

“Most teachers and EAs across Ontario supporting children with FASD are not familiar with FASD and have not had any formal training on how to support them,” said Courtepatte. “We are very concerned that the bill will be dropped from the docket on Feb. 20.”

Concerned and discouraged, said Courtepatte, because parents who have written to the minister have received no commitment from her to support the legislation.

The legislative schedule for the upcoming parliamentary session has not yet been set, said the minister’s spokesperson Richard Francella, adding that “we continue to explore further ways to better support students who are living with FASD and their families.”

“We know that students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder may require supports in order to succeed in school. Our government has committed to investing $26 million over four years to expand support for children, youth and their families and caregivers affected by FASD,” said Francella.

This amount may appear considerable, but is negligible, said Courtepatte, especially if you consider that FASD is cause by pre-natal exposure and that the government made $1.9B profit from alcohol (2016), and most FASD children were adopted from a government agency.

The new investment supports six initiatives that will create one‐stop access to information and training resources, expand parent support networks, increase access to FASD initiatives developed by Indigenous partners, said Francella.

Click here for the rest of the article

Student with FASD Wins Scholarship

Jada King-Drake who has FASD is one of the winners of the post-secondary education scholarship.  King-Drake grew up moving in and out of the foster care system.  Jada overcame adversity and in her own words she says “I didn’t think I would be able to make it this far with the grades that I have,” but she won an award that is annually given to deserving students in financial need who demonstrate, “strength of character, strong academics, a commitment to pursuing higher education as well as a desire to contribute to society,” according to a press release announcing the winners.

Here is the article retrieved from:

Two Squamish Grade 12 students have each been awarded $5,000 to help with their post-secondary education.

pixJada King-Drake, one of two local scholarship winners. Photo: JENNIFER THUNCHER

Jada King-Drake and Sebastian Hable both won the Horatio Alger Association Canada scholarships.

The funds are awarded annually to deserving students in financial need who demonstrate, “strength of character, strong academics, a commitment to pursuing higher education as well as a desire to contribute to society,” according to a press release announcing the winners.

The Squamish pair were two of 85 students across Canada who received the scholarships.

On paper, King-Drake has every excuse not to be the success she is. Raised moving in and out of the foster-care system and diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), she did struggle as a pre-teen, she says, but that is well behind her now.

Originally from Campbell River and a member of Wei Wai Kum First Nation, King-Drake acknowledges she has overcome adversity.

“I didn’t think I would be able to make it this far with the grades that I have,” she said.

She said she noticed that when she started to communicate with people what was going on for her, things started to improve.

FAS can make it hard to concentrate, she said, but medication helps her focus.

She worked really hard to get good grades, she added.

“It is awesome that I got it,” she said of winning the scholarship. “There are so many deserving students who would also love to have this scholarship.”

She has several plans to further her education. First, she wants to move to Alberta to live with her mom, who she has reconnected with.

But she also wants to go to university.

She is considering studies in marine biology, teaching, corrections or even journalism.

“I have a range of different things I would like to do,” she said.

Fellow scholarship Hable attends the Sea to Sky Alternative School, in fact he is the school’s Prime Minister.

He also participated in the British Columbia Youth Parliament in Victoria over the winter break.

The Austria native moved to Squamish permanently in 2015.

He says he thinks he won the scholarship because he demonstrates leadership and academic excellence.
“And they think I can carry out my goals and be successful,” he said.

After graduation he hopes to major in mechatronics or genetic engineering at UBC.

Mechatronics is technology combining electronics and mechanical engineering, Hable explained.

For more on the scholarships go to

Fetal Alcohol Disorder May Be More Common Than Previously Thought


In a new JAMA study of more than 6,000 first-graders, researchers estimate that between 1.1% and 9.8% of American children have developmental or neurological problems caused by fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs)—a significantly higher number than previous studies have reported. And out of the hundreds of children determined in the study to have FASD, only two had been previously diagnosed.

The estimate comes from school-based assessments, family interviews and in-person evaluations of 6- and 7-year-olds in four communities across the country: one in the Midwest, one in the Rocky Mountains, one in the Southeast and one in the Pacific Southwest. Previous studies, which have estimated the rate of FASD to affect just 1% of children, involved smaller groups of people from single communities or from people in doctors’ offices, say the authors of the new study.

FASD is an umbrella term for health abnormalities caused by exposure to alcohol in the womb; it includes fetal alcohol syndrome, partial fetal alcohol syndrome and alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder. FASDs are a leading cause of developmental disabilities around the world, and people with these conditions can experience growth deficiencies, facial abnormalities and organ damage. They often have physical, cognitive and social challenges throughout life, and have an increased risk of premature death.

Before the current study began, researchers established standardized classification criteria for FASD based on facial features, growth, and neurodevelopmental performance. Using that criteria, they then screened a random sampling of first-graders in public and private schools in the four chosen regions, and interviewed the children’s mothers and other close relatives.

Based on their findings, the authors determined that FASD affected between 11 and 50 out of every 1,000 children they examined. That translates to between 1.1 and 5%, which they say is a conservative estimate: It assumes that no additional FASD cases would be found in children in those communities that hadn’t participated in the study.

Click here for the rest of the article

GRL: Girls Revolutionizing Leadership

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A day for girls to explore leadership within themselves and their community


8:30AM – 3:30PM | MARCH 3, 2018
GRL: Girls Revolutionizing Leadership

We invite girls ages 12-17 to join us for a day of workshops and learning.  The day will include an agency fair, prizes, and free lunch!

Click here to download the Poster


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Webcasr

The Prevention Conversation: A Shared Responsibility Project

learningseriesbannerRegister now for the February 21, 2018, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Webcast

Join us for this free webcast entitled: Supporting Employment Success in Adults with FASD.

Securing and maintaining employment for persons with FASD can be challenging.  In this webinar, our presenters will discuss what employment success looks like for persons with FASD, which includes:

  • Sharing findings, including survey responses and video footage, from the CanFASD study “Supporting Employment Success in Adults with FASD”
  • Presenting the preliminary evaluation tool guide for guiding employment professionals in their work with adults with FASD
  • Explaining the prompts for evaluating a client’s well-being and factors for preparing for, obtaining and maintaining employment

This webinar will be of interest to persons directly affected by FASD, employers and anyone else supporting persons with FASD.

Date: Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. MST
Speakers: Dr. Marnie Makela and Aamena Kapasi


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