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?

Diverse groups join to mark International FASD Awareness Day

Diverse groups join to mark International FASD Awareness Day

By Ian Graham, Thompson Citizen (October 3rd, 2013) (Accessed: October 11th, 2013)

Commentary by Shauna Makie

Just over a month ago, the world celebrated International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day (September 9th). For the community of Thompson, Manitoba, this day in their community offered an opportunity for the members of the Northern Regional Health Authority (NRHA) and several other organizations to join together to explore issues related to FASD. At a community café, the coalition listened to a young woman with FASD share her accomplishments, had access to a resource fair, and an awareness walk.

Chantal McLelland, NRHA chair for the FASD Coalition, highlighted the importance of raising awareness of FASD and how challenging relaying these messages can be due to the misinformation and misconceptions of FASD.  The resource fair provided to attendees included displays by people and organizations working with those who have developmental disabilities, including FASD. Foster parents had a spotlight project led by the University of Manitoba Northern Social Work program bringing together conversations around the challenges of raising children with FASD and creating themes in order to help learn new ways to overcome these challenges.

Although the International FASD Awareness Day has passed, the importance for continued awareness is needed long after the t-shirts have been worn and the awareness walkers finish their last stride. McLelland stated that approximately one in 100 children born in the country today are affected by FASD, marking it as the most common disability in Canada.