By: Craig Gilbert (London Community News), 14 Jan 2014
Accessed on: 14 Jan 2014
Commentary by: Krystal Glowatski
On Monday, two nurses from the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) presented a case to the Select Committee on Developmental Services, composed of MPPs from all three parties who must put together a report and recommendations for the legislature regarding a comprehensive strategy for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
The message from the nurses was clear: Prevention is key; if Ontario doesn’t “get out in front of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)… we’ll all pay a lot more down the road.”
The nurses made a point to highlight the extent of FASD costs and problems – both problems for the individuals and larger social problems. They recognized that FASD isn’t only a health issue but also an education and justice issue. Liberal MPP Soo Wong stepped in to highlight this point by stating, “You might label little Johnny as a behavioural problem when in fact he has a medical condition… And it’s preventable. Teachers are not familiar with this term and are therefore not properly supported in the classroom. It’s not just about the health sector. It clearly is an education, a justice issue: they intertwine.”
While BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba have already created comprehensive strategies for dealing with FASD and mental health issues Ontario has yet to do so. The nurses are calling on the government to set this into motion now.
Currently, FASD Ontario Network of Expertise’s (ONE) website states they are drafting one.
In these projects there is often a heavy focus on prevention. But what about all of the individuals who have already been diagnosed? Or worse yet – those who have FASD but don’t even know it. What should be done about individuals who are in dire need of assessment, diagnosis, and services?