Date: Sun, 12 Dec 1999 17:22:29 -0500
From: Lynne Moss-Sharman <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Fetal Alcohol support group, Manitoulin-Sudbury
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Coping with fetal alcohol syndrome
By Denis St. Pierre/THE SUDBURY STAR  12/12/99

Debby Hunter knew she was assuming an incredible challenge when she
adopted a fetal alcohol syndrome child. “I knew quite a bit about it; I
worked with special needs kids for 15 years,” says Hunter, a longtime
social worker who lives in Silverwater on Manitoulin
Island. But other parents of children with fetal alcohol syndrome may not
be as well prepared, Hunter says. That’s why she would like to set up the
first support group in the Sudbury-Manitoulin area for parents of FAS
children. FAS is a combination of mental and physical defects caused prior
to birth, by alcohol consumption by a child’s mother while she is pregnant.
The physical, mental and emotional deficits of FAS are irreversible and
continue throughout the child’s life. They include impaired reasoning,
judgment and self control which often result in crime, delinquency and
other anti-social behaviour. 

FAS children also can have physical characteristics such as permanent brain
damage, growth problems and heart and kidney defects. Although not always
prevalent, facial characteristics can include a low nasal bridge,
abnormally small eyes, a flat midface, a short nose and thin upper lip. Two
months ago, Hunter adopted a four-year-old girl from southern Ontario who
was born with FAS. Despite her social work background, she still has had
difficulty accessing information and services for her child. “I had a hard
time just finding resources on FAS and I figured if someone with my
background has trouble getting help, what kind of problems would
some other people have.”  Creating a support group would have multiple
benefits for parents of FAS children, she says. “It would help get ideas
and advice to parents on how to handle their child’s
behavior. And we could have a respite program so parents could give each
other some relief every now and then. The big thing is to help people cope,
but it could branch out into different areas.”

While awareness of FAS has increased significantly over the last several
years, considerable misinformation remains, particularly in the education
and  health fields, Hunter says. “You find a lot of medical specialists and
even teachers end up telling parents                 so many different
things,” she says. An FAS support group could solicit and disseminate
accurate advice from experts on the syndrome, she adds.

Anyone in the Manitoulin-Sudbury area interested in establishing a support
group can contact Hunter at (705) 283-3645.

               "Let Us Consider The Human Brain As
                A Very Complex Photographic Plate"
                     1957 G.H. Estabrooks

                    FOR   K A R E N  #01182
                   who died fighting  4/23/99

                   [EMAIL PROTECTED]

    For people like me, violence is the minotaur; we spend our lives
        wandering its maze, looking for the exit.  (Richard Rhodes)
                   Never befriend the oppressed 
                    unless you are prepared to 
                    take on the oppressor.   
                        (Author unknown)

Reply via email to