Cost of FASD will snowball: Ontario nurses

Cost of FASD will snowball: Ontario nurses

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?

Pub pregnancy test plea to halt FASD

Pub pregnancy test plea to halt FASD

By: Julie Cush (BBC News), December 31, 2013

Accessed on: January 6, 2014

Commentary by: Krystal Glowatski

While Canada gears up to pilot an initiative where pregnancy test dispensers are installed in bar washrooms, it seems the UK is getting ready to experiment with this program as well.  The article articulates how pregnant women are bombarded with advice during pregnancy – and this is undoubtedly true.  However, the author also suggests that if you know you’re pregnant, why take the risk of harming your baby.

This back and forth reasoning in the FASD debates is nothing new.  Although, it is interesting that social awareness is moving forward despite criticism of ‘FASD’ in general in the UK in the past several years.  In June 2007, ‘PulseNews’ published an article stating the BMA was drawing a hardline on drinking during pregnancy, that there should be absolutely NO drinking while pregnant.  Dr. Trefor Roscoe stated in the article, “How far down the road of nannying are we going to go?  If alcohol really was that dangerous in pregnancy it would have been obvious years ago.  I doubt this was drawn up by GPs as GPs live in the real world.”  Moreover, in the past few years, various studies have been coming out of the UK and Denmark stating alcohol during pregnancy is not that harmful – which has produced a controversy all it’s own.

Here we are in 2014, putting pregnancy tests in public washrooms.  Are we moving towards an “FASD moral panic” or a new era of awareness and prevention?

FASD and Legal Issues Conference – Sept 18-20 (Edmonton)

Consensus Development Conference on Legal Issues of FASD

This conference is a three-day juried hearing of evidence and scientific findings that allows for the engagement and collaboration of citizens and decision makers in government and the justice system in addressing a specific set of key questions on legal issues related to FASD. Jury Chair: The Honorable Ian Binnie, Former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. See website for full details.

Questions to be addressed at this conference:

1. What are the implications of FASD for the legal system?

2. Is there a need for enhanced efforts to identify people with FASD, and how can these efforts be achieved?

3. How can the criminal justice system respond more effectively to those with FASD?

4. How can family courts and the family/child welfare legal system address the specific needs of people with FASD?

5. What are the best practices for guardianship, trusteeship and social support in a legal context?

6. What legal measures are there in different jurisdictions to contribute to the prevention of FASD, and what are the ethical and economic implications of these measures?