Tag Archives: FASD

Women alcoholics on the rise in Delhi, and across India

States like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have seen a rise in women drinkers. In some of these states, the proportion is higher than that of Delhi.

Retrieved from: http://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/women-alcoholics-on-the-rise-in-delhi-and-across-india/story-TIC95PQgC83RoLef5dmdEP.html


According to members of Shakti, the Delhi group has the highest number of women as compared to similar groups of other states.According to members of Shakti, the Delhi group has the highest number of women as compared to similar groups of other states.(File Photo)

When a sexagenarian wobbled up to the podium at the Frank Anthony Public School in Lajpat Nagar on Saturday, clad in a brown saree, a beige button-down cardigan and sporting a bindi, like every other Indian grandmother you meet in India, the words out of her mouth seemed misplaced.

“I am Rukmini*, and I am an alcoholic”.

Rukmini, who has been sober since May 1995, is one of the 30-35 women who are part of the all female Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group, Shakti, in Delhi, and played a major role setting up the group.

According to members of Shakti, the Delhi group has the highest number of women as compared to similar groups of other states. This raises the question: have the number of women consuming alcohol in the national capital increased?

Female drinkers in Delhi

According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), in the decade between 2005-2006 and 2015-2016, the percentage of men and women who consumed alcohol in India and the percentage of the male population in Delhi who consumed alcohol has reduced. However, the percentage of women in Delhi who consumed alcohol has gone up from 0.4% of the female population in 2005-2006, to 0.7% in 2015-2016.

Other states like Chandigarh, Goa, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have also seen a rise in women drinkers, and in some of these states the proportion is higher than that of Delhi.

So what brings out more women in Delhi to seek help? Is it because it is easier to get it in Delhi than in other states? And are these women from all walks of life?

Has the consumption of alcohol increased?
States like Manipur, Goa and Kerala have seen a rise in women drinke rs. In some, proportion is higher than Delhi.
  • Have you had trouble quitting drinking, even though you have planned to do so?
  • Have people around you raised concerns about your drinking habits?
  • Do you drink re gularly, on an almost daily basis?
  • Do you start your day with a drink, or start shaking if you don’t?
  • Have you developed a tolerance for liquor, and find yourself needing more alcohol to get drunk?
  • Has your drinking gotten you into trouble? Either with the law, at work, your friends, your relationships, or family?
  • Have you found yourself drinking more than you had initially planned to, because you find it hard to stop once you have started?
  • Have you skipped work or school because of drinking?
  • Do you drink until you blackout?
  • Have you felt the need to quit drinking, because you feel that your life would be better?
If you have answered yes to more questions here than you feel comfortable with, it might be time to reflect on whetheryou have a problem or not.
Disclaimer:  The views and opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Edmonton and Area Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Network.


MOFAS: Keeping Routines for Children with an FASD


keeping routines for children with an FASD

Having a routine for children with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) can help reduce stress and anxiety. Children with an FASD have permanent brain injuries that can impact communication, understanding, responses to stress, and more. It can help your child overcome these brain injury symptoms, and stay calm more easily, to know what to expect, where they are going, and who they’ll be with.

Here are some tips for keeping a routine for your child with an FASD:


Plan out your day

Planning out your child’s day, to the extent you can, can help alleviate stress. Children with an FASD might have fears of the unknown. It can be helpful to talk about daily activities and what your child can expect. When kids know what is to come, they often have an easier time with transitions. Check the MOFAS Pinterest page for ideas on how to make your own charts and calendars. You can also try to plan ahead to address things you know might cause anxiety for a child. For example, if you’re headed somewhere where you expect a crowd, and you know your child gets anxious in that situation, you and your child can plan what they can use as fidgets, safe spaces, and breathing techniques that will help them stay calm.


Use alarms and timers to help keep track of time

Children with an FASD can have a hard time knowing the difference between one minute, five minutes, or 30 minutes. To help your child manage time, you can use visual timers, markings on the face of an analog clock, auditory timers, and alarms. Setting times for brushing teeth, taking a shower, or even getting ready for school can help your child stay on track. Create a sense of time with the help from FAS Link.


Give clear instructions

If you ask a child without an FASD to do their homework, they’ll understand what that means. But a child with an FASD may need to have all those steps broken down. “Do your homework” could be described in steps using the “first – then” approach like this:

To do your homework:

  • First, find your backpack.
  • Then, take out your homework assignment.

Next, do your assignment:

  • First, grab your pencil.
  • Then, write your assignment.

Lastly, you’ll need to put everything away:

  • First, put the homework and pencil back in your backpack.
  • Then, put your backpack by the door for the morning.

Kids with an FASD need to have a clear understanding of all the steps. For additional ideas on how to help a child with an FASD handle routines, check out The Autism Helper.



Days fluctuate. Schedules won’t always be perfect, and there will be meltdowns and other setbacks. That’s okay. If you can, allow time for improvising, taking things a little slower, and rebounding. And if you notice a certain routine isn’t working, you may want to try making some changes. Things won’t work every time, what works for some may not work for others, and what works one day may not work another day. Trust your instinct on what your child needs. And as hard as it is, taking care of yourself as much as you can help you stay flexible and creative when things aren’t going as planned.

Retrieved from: https://www.mofas.org/2017/06/keeping-routines-children-fasd/

How We’re Navigating Summer Break With Kids Who Thrive On Structure.


Ah summer! We’re talking flip flops, sunglasses, bike rides, hanging by the pool, staying up late, catching fire flies, and then sleeping until we wake up the next morning. Nothing better, right? But when you’re parenting kiddos with special needs, who thrive in a structured, routine-driven environment, summer can spell disaster.


I get it. I’m the parent of eight children, three of whom have major special needs that range from sensory processing needs to hyper-activity and extreme anxiety. Three of my children have been diagnosed with alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder, which falls under the umbrella of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

They thrive in structure…all the time. Because drug and alcohol exposure in-utero caused damage to the pre-frontal cortex of their brain (where executive functioning skills like reasoning, logic, impulsivity control, and social awareness exist) they are often incapable of lax schedules, easy-going days, or little to no routine. If you’re in this trench currently, you understand this full-well. And, your summers are anything but easy-going. In fact, much like us, you’re on-duty constantly, sometimes throughout the night.

This is our normal. This is what we are signed up for. But for many, it’s taking the life out of them, especially if they are fairly new to this journey, or parenting children from traumatic places. We know exactly what you’re walking through right now. We’ve been there and are still there in many regards. Even though we are a few years down the road in terms of parenting children from trauma, we still have to figure this out every single spring, before summer begins.

Here’s how we’re navigating summer break with our kiddos who need structure:

  1. Create a routine. During the school year, we live and die by routine — even our weekends are structured around this. But what about summertime? It’s tough because you want to let things go, not have a set bed time, not have a set wake-up time, or midday schedule. But at what cost? I know it feels restrictive to keep your routine in place during the summer, but it’s much worse to live in chaos.
  2. Set expectations ahead of time. Right before summer starts, we explain the expectations for summer break to our kids. We go through chores and incentives for completing said chores. We also share the schedule and structure we are creating for them (and us). We explain why we are doing this and remain crystal clear on how this will help us have the best possible summer break together. This will look different, and certainly sound different in your home, but the sooner you can do this, the better. It’s not too late, so start now!
  3. Be intentional with downtime. This is as simple as gathering your kids around for a movie, board game, or even going on a family bike ride. Realistically speaking, when you are raising children with special needs, there is really no such thing as downtime. However, “unscheduled” time can be intentionally structured.
  4. Build in fun education. Where we live in Central Indiana, we have several park nature centers where our kids can have fun and also learn. It keeps their minds stimulated and gives them a focused activity. Zoos are great for this. Another avenue for fun education is through your kids’ school. We asked teachers before the school year ended to provide summer reading schedules and incentives. It’s a win for our school as much as it is for us.
  5. Publicize the daily schedule. In conjunction with your routine, you need to create a visible daily schedule. One of our sons is on the autism spectrum and continually asks, “What’s next?” We decided to create and publicize the schedule for him to see and it helps. When his brain is telling him to ask and ask, he’s able to visit our kitchen’s bulletin board and read exactly what we are doing next. While we don’t really mind the repeat questions, the visible schedule reassures him and gives him security.
  6. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Our good friend, Dr. Ira Chasnoff from NTI Upstream has a great perspective for helping kiddos like ours navigate through their days. He says, “Whatever you do one day, repeat the next. The key is to repeat, repeat, repeat.” No matter what, repeat, repeat, repeat. The only way to build up consistency with your kiddos and your routine is repeating the same thing every single day.

Our new normal functions differently than families with children without special needs. When I accept what is, I’m able to not only see the beauty right in front of me, I have the chance to create memories with the beautiful children I’m blessed to call mine.

Here’s to summer — and your peace of mind!

Check out more posts by Mike & Kristin Berry that offer hope for families in the trenches at: http://confessionsofanadoptiveparent.com/ourstory/

Retrieved from: http://confessionsofanadoptiveparent.com/how-were-navigating-summer-break-with-kids-who-thrive-on-structure/



Volunteers needed for intervention study!

We are doing a research study on a self-regulation intervention for adolescents with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

We are looking for participants age 11 to 17 who have a diagnosis of FASD.

The intervention will take place over ~12 weeks and will include weekly 1-hour one-to-one intervention sessions focusing on improving self-regulation. The intervention focuses on identifying and talking about different levels of alertness as well as the use of different strategies to improve self-regulation across a variety of environments (home, school, etc.).

There will also be three testing sessions (~2.5 hours each) so we can understand the effect of the intervention. Caregivers will fill out questionnaires about their child’s history and behavior at each testing session.

If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please e-mail labfasd@gmail.com or call our FASD Research Lab 780-735-7999 ext. 15631.

The global toll of fetal alcohol syndrome


The global toll of fetal alcohol syndrome

Study provides worldwide estimates of this preventable birth defect

Source: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Summary: Worldwide, an estimated 119,000 children are born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) each year, a new study shows. The study provides the first-ever estimates of the proportion of women who drink during pregnancy, as well as estimates of FAS by country, World Health Organization region and worldwide.

Worldwide, an estimated 119,000 children are born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) each year, a new study from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) shows.

The study, published in The Lancet Global Health, provides the first-ever estimates of the proportion of women who drink during pregnancy, as well as estimates of FAS by country, World Health Organization (WHO) region and worldwide.

Globally, nearly 10 per cent of women drink alcohol during pregnancy, with wide variations by country and WHO region. In some countries, more than 45 per cent of women consume alcohol during pregnancy. In Canada, which has clinical guidelines advising abstinence during pregnancy, an estimated 10 per cent of pregnant women still drink, which is close to the estimated world average.

Nearly 15 per 10,000 people around the world are estimated to have FAS, the most severe form of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FAS is characterized by mental, behavioural and learning problems, as well as physical disabilities. In Canada, the estimate is 10.5 cases of FAS per 10,000 people.

Not every woman who drinks while pregnant will have a child with FAS. “We estimated that one in 67 mothers who drink during pregnancy will deliver a child with FAS,” says lead author Dr. Svetlana Popova, Senior Scientist in CAMH’s Institute for Mental Health Policy Research.

She notes that this figure is very conservative and does not include other types of FASD that may occur from alcohol consumption during pregnancy, including partial FAS (pFAS) and Alcohol-related Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ARND).

Although it’s well established that alcohol can damage any organ or system in the developing fetus, particularly the brain, it’s still not known exactly what makes a fetus most susceptible, in terms of the amount or frequency of alcohol use, or timing of drinking during pregnancy. Other factors, such as the genetics, stress, smoking and nutrition also contribute to the risk of developing FASD.

“The safest thing to do is to completely abstain from alcohol during the entire pregnancy,” says Dr. Popova.

The study involved comprehensive literature reviews and statistical analyses to determine the estimates, which are intended to help countries plan public health initiatives and policies, such as FAS surveillance systems and educational efforts on the risks of alcohol use during pregnancy, the researchers note.

The five countries with the highest alcohol use in pregnancy were in Europe: Russia, United Kingdom, Denmark, Belarus and Ireland. As a region, Europe also had a 2.6 higher prevalence of FAS than the global average. The lowest levels of drinking and FAS were found for the Eastern Mediterranean and South East Asia regions, as there are high rates of alcohol abstinence in these regions.

The predictive model that the research team developed in this study could also be used to estimate the prevalence of other disease conditions, notes Dr. Popova. Her team is currently extending this work to study the global scale of all fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). An earlier study by Dr. Popova and her team, published in The Lancet last year, showed that more than 400 disease conditions co-occur with FASD.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Svetlana Popova, Shannon Lange, Charlotte Probst, Gerrit Gmel, Jürgen Rehm. Estimation of national, regional, and global prevalence of alcohol use during pregnancy and fetal alcohol syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The Lancet Global Health, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/S2214-109X(17)30021-9

Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170113155419.htm

How thinking about behavior differently can lead to happier FASD families


A new study from the University of Rochester sheds light on how parents and caregivers of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) can best help their kids, and at the same time, maintain peace at home and at school.

“Children with FASD often have significant behavior problems due to neurological damage,” says Christie Petrenko, a research psychologist at the University’s Mt. Hope Family Center.

Petrenko and her colleagues found that parents of children with FASD who attribute their child’s misbehavior to their underlying disabilities–rather than to willful disobedience–tend to use pre-emptive strategies designed to help prevent undesirable behaviors. These strategies are likely to be more effective than incentive-based strategies, such as the use of consequences for misbehavior, given the brain damage associated with FASD.

The study included 31 parents and caregivers of children with FASD ages four through eight. Petrenko and her team analyzed data from standardized questionnaires and qualitative interviews that focused on parenting practices.

Petrenko says that the study, which is published in Research in Developmental Disabilities, shows that educating families and caregivers about the disorder is critical.

People with FASD often have problems with executive functioning, which includes skills such as impulse control and task planning, information processing, emotion regulation, and social and adaptive skills. As a result, they are at high risk for school disruptions and trouble with the law.

Parents who use pre-emptive strategies “change the environment in a way that fits their child’s needs better,” says Petrenko. “They give one-step instructions rather than three-steps because their child has working memory issues. They may buy clothes with soft seams if their child has sensory issues, or post stop signs to cue the child to not open the door. All of these preventive strategies help reduce the demands of the environment on the child.”

The study also shows that parenting practices correlate with levels of caregiver confidence and frustration. Families of children with FASD are frequently judged and blamed for their children’s misbehavior. Parents and caregivers who are successful in preventing unwanted behaviors have higher confidence in their parenting and lower levels of frustration with their children than parents who counter unwanted behaviors with consequences after the fact.

Petrenko says that evidence-based interventions for families raising children with FASD have been developed and show promise for improving outcomes for children and families. She and her team at Mt. Hope Family Center are continuing to further test these interventions and identify what strategies and approaches are most effective in getting evidence-based information to families.


Retrieved from: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-11/uor-hta111816.php

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