Selfadvocatenet.com in support of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Day Sept 9th,2019
Intention is to educate people on this day what is FASD and the struggles go through not to exploit it .
But is educate what can do to help them
What is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)?
FASD is a hidden but significant disability in the developed world where alcohol is a normal part of the culture. It describes a broad spectrum of developmental disabilities resulting from damage caused by exposure to alcohol during pregnancy.
Drinking at any stage of pregnancy can lead to cognitive, functional and emotional difficulties, and occasionally physical differences are found. When learning and functional needs are not adequately understood and appropriately supported, FASD can also lead to secondary problems such as mental health disorders, educational and social problems.
How is FASD caused?
Alcohol is a neurotoxin or teratogen that alters normal development in utero. There is no safe level. The harm depends on a range of complex factors, such as the amount, frequency and timing of alcohol use. Other factors also have an influence such as genetic factors in both the mother and the child, maternal age and health and whether other substance use or external factors such stress, violence or other negative experiences are present.
How prevalent is FASD?
International prevalence studies suggest FASD occur in 2-5% of the population, and may be higher, where binge drinking is socially prevalent. This would equate to around 1200-3000 children born each year with FASD. No research has confirmed the exact prevalence in New Zealand, but it is thought the numbers born affected could be significantly high due to cultural normalisation of hazardous drinking.
Furthermore, FASD without physical symptoms can often be misdiagnosed, and is therefore described as a hidden or invisible disability. Accurate diagnosis requires a specialised, multidisciplinary assessment. New Zealand and Australia follow the Canadian FASD Guidelines for Diagnosis.
Is FASD preventable?
Yes. FASD is the leading preventable cause of intellectual disability in the developed world. Alcohol can harm the developing fetus at any stage during pregnancy. Not all babies exposed to alcohol will have FASD but the risk increases with every drink. For women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the only safe option.
Can FASD be reversed?
Unfortunately brain damage that occurs early in development tends to be permanent. However individuals with FASD live happy successful lives when those around them become better informed and supportive.
Napier mother says raising a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder child is a ‘life sentence’
With its sweeping views out over Hawkes Bay, Kim Milne’s seafront Napier home is a “very nice jail,” she says.
The reason she feels imprisoned is her 15-year-old adopted son David’s fetal alcohol disorder, which means his behaviour is unpredictable and he has to be monitored 24 hours a day.
“He’s highly impulsive. We have locks on our doors to keep him in because he could wander off in the middle of the night, and he doesn’t even know why he’s doing it – a thought comes into his brain and he’s off. That’s our life.”
It is also a life that has involved battling to get David educated. He has been stood down from school a number of times and his parents say they have had no choice but to remove him from two schools, knowing the principals would expel him if they did not.
“As soon as David gets anxious, he goes to frustration; frustration leads to anger, anger leads to damage – that’s just the way it goes.”
That “damage” can be to another child in the school playground or to the wall at home.
“We’re constantly at Mitre 10 for repairs,” Milne said.
But the damage is not just to the property and people around David. It starts in his head.
“My son has been given a life sentence … he’s not going to get parole and he’s not going to get any chance of ever changing this. He just doesn’t get it. Life is like hieroglyphics.”
In David’s own words: “It sucks. With my condition, it feels like life’s irrelevant, pretty much. It’s like you’re hallucinating every single moment of life, pretty much. Everything isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.”
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, caused by mothers drinking during pregnancy, can result in a range of brain and central nervous system disorders, and a number of other life-long conditions and health complications.
Hawke’s Bay paediatrician and former Children’s Commissioner Russell Wills said alcohol consumption was as high as it had ever been with “aggressive marketing” and cheap prices fuelling problem drinking among young women to an extent not seen a generation ago.
“That must cause problems, and it does.”
But the disorder was “100 per cent preventable,” he said.
“The message is very simple. If you think you might be pregnant don’t drink. There is no safe amount of alcohol in pregnancy.”
The Government launched an “action plan” in August to increase access to support and services for women with alcohol and drug issues.
The plan also involves conducting research into the incidence of FASD in New Zealand and developing a coordinated and consistent pathway for supporting affected people and their families.
This information on website called ActionPoint Communities targeting alcohol harm go to their link click here