EU FASD Australian and International News March 2021

Byline Times (UK) – Lack of Specialist Services is Failing Children with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Susan Nathan explains how children and young people with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the UK are not receiving adequate services due to the lack of understanding of their needs.

Express (UK) – Youngsters do not use contraception during sex because they are too drunk to remember
A fifth of young adults forget to use contraception at the height of passion because they are too drunk to remember when having sex, a study has found. Research among 1,200 16-25-year-olds revealed many are taking unforeseen risks due to a lack of knowledge, education – and intoxication.

Newstalk ZB (New Zealand) – Changes in KiwiSaver rules for those with congenital conditions announced
The Government has announced the four life-shortening conditions that will allow people impacted by them early access to their KiwiSaver funds.

CanFASD blog – Announcing the 2021 Sterling Clarren Award recipient!
We are excited to announce that this year’s recipient for the Dr. Sterling Clarren FASD Research Award is Dr. Brianne Redquest for her research on understanding and reducing stress in caregivers of individuals with FASD.

A Heart For All Students – Homeschooling FASD: Support Tips
11 years later, Natalie and John made the decision to homeschool him. They did so in an effort to save him from a constant barage of bullying. Additionally, they needed to provide him with the academic accommodations that homeschooling provides.

The following blog was written by Elizabeth Hannah of Black Horse Therapies. Her reflections on how we label therapeutic work with young people can be applied to all therapies, including therapy with animals, and may benefit many living with FASD.

National Organisation for FASD (UK) – Risky Behaviours
In February 2021 the National Organisation for FASD teamed up with OnePoll and 72Point to learn more about young people’s understanding of the risk of sex, alcohol and pregnancy. OnePoll polled 1200 16-25 year olds across the UK.

CTV News (Canada) – Prison experience for man with FASD led to decline in mental health: Manitoba judge
A Manitoba judge says an Indigenous man with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder had a “hellish” time at a correctional facility, where he alleged he was sexually assaulted by other inmates.

Government of Ontario News (Canada) – Ontario Expanding Diagnostic Services for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
The Ontario government is investing $2.8 million annually to expand Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnostic services by funding 12 new FASD clinics for a total of 21 funded FASD diagnostic clinics across the province.

Borgen Project (South Africa) – Challenging the Stigma Framing FASD in South Africa
South Africa has the highest rate of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in the world, with some communities experiencing a prevalence of up to 28%. FASD encompasses a range of conditions that affect people who were exposed to alcohol before birth.

ABC News (Australia) – Researchers return to find out fate of children involved in landmark FASD study
Ten years after a groundbreaking study revealed record-high rates of FASD in outback Australia, researchers have returned to the Kimberley to see how the children are coping in adulthood.

ABC News (Australia) – Advocates of FASD students in Qld schools push for more support, prevent future ‘in correctional services’
The Queensland government is being called upon to better recognise fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) as a disability in schools by a passionate researcher, with the support of parents, caregivers, and experienced health practitioners.

Mirage News (Australia) – Community organisations welcome Senate Inquiry report into FASD
The final report from the Senate Community Affairs References Committee into Effective approaches to prevention and diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) was handed down on Wednesday afternoon.

Fife Today (UK) – Fife launch of support group for little diagnosed lifelong disorder with no cure
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder service. FASD is a result of pre-birth exposure to alcohol. Now, there is a new one-to-one service for parents and carers, run by Fife Alcohol Support Service (FASS).

The Lawyers Daily (Canada) – Justice clinic improves outcomes for persons with developmental disabilities
March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness month and an apt time to shed light on the unique challenges facing persons with developmental disabilities in the criminal justice system. A long-standing challenge has been the equitable and meaningful participation by persons with developmental disabilities in the court process.

Verywell Health (USA) – Substance Abuse among Pregnant Women on the Rise During COVID-19
The number of people struggling with substance use disorders has gone up during COVID-19, and a new study out of Washington State University COVID‑19 Infant, Maternal, and Family Health Research Collaborative suggests pregnant women are included in this group.

SHAAP (UK) – Developments in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders – a UK perspective
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) results from alcohol exposure during pregnancy, and is thought to be the most common neurodevelopmental condition in Scotland.

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EU FASD Australian and International News 17 April 2021

Maple Ridge News (Canada) – More supports ‘urgently’ needed for those living with FASD
Those living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, FASD, face a future with little support, and a lack of understanding that is rife with racist assumptions.

CBC (Canada) – Spike in young adult drinking raises alarm at N.B.’s fetal alcohol centre
Annette Cormier has a habit of thinking nine months out when she looks at behaviour patterns today. So when new research from UNB suggests a third of young adults in New Brunswick are drinking more during the pandemic, she asks herself: How many are women who don’t yet know they’re pregnant and the harm that can result?

Essential Baby – Why dads-to-be should put down the beer: Alcohol before conception found to increase birth defect risk
Bad news for men hoping to become dads: new research has found a potential link between paternal preconception drinking and a higher risk of birth defects.

New Era Newspaper (Namibia) – Dashed hopes, damaged lives … drinking while pregnant puts babies at risk
Of all children assessed for disability in the Erongo region, 25% were found with disabilities more likely related to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a medical expert has said.

USA Today – Two or more of these risk factors during pregnancy may increase a child’s risk of mental health problems years later, study says
Doctors have long known that unplanned pregnancies in women with certain chronic health problems and exposure in the womb to substances like drugs and alcohol can lead to a child’s increased risk for psychiatric or behavioral problems.

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EU FASD Australian and International News 14 April 2021

The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) – ‘No intention’: Reynolds dumps draft proposals to cut diagnosis-based NDIS funding
New National Disability Insurance Scheme Minister Linda Reynolds says she has “no intention of excluding Australians from the scheme” on the basis of their diagnosis, appearing to dump radical reforms drafted under the previous minister Stuart Robert.

Aldergrove Star (Canada) – Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder gets ‘meagre’ support compared to other conditions: B.C. report
Children and teens with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder need to be included in the Ministry of Children and Family Development program that helps support youth with special needs, according to a report released Thursday (April 15) by by the Representative for Children and Youth.

Representative for Children and Youth (Canada) – Excluded: Increasing Understanding, Support and Inclusion for Children with FASD and their Families
The provincial government should take both immediate and long-term action to improve supports and services to children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) and their families, recommends a report released today by B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth.

We MUST meet our children where they’re at so they can explore the gifts in them. Learn their interests, support their interests, and nurture their growth.

CanFASD – Article Summary: Self Care for Caregivers
This is a summary of the recent article Self-care in caregivers of children with FASD: How do caregivers care for themselves, and what are the benefits and obstacles for doing so? that is featured in CanFASD’s Top FASD Articles of 2020. For a complete understanding of the subject matter, read the full paper (not available open access).

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Archived News: May to June 2020

Daniel Z (9 July 2020) Audio RN Drive Australia – Woman living with FASD joins nationals calls for stronger pregnancy warnings on alcohol labels

Liotta, M (29 June 2020) Better pregnancy health labels on alcohol a ‘whole-of-community issue’ Healthcare organisations and individuals around Australia are calling for clear and consistent labelling to expand harm-minimisation strategies. NewsGP

Mirage News (26 June 2020) Commission evidence to FASD Inquiry. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar, spoke of the connection between trauma and alcohol consumption by pregnant mothers, which can lead to FASD. “First Nations peoples suffer ongoing and unresolved trauma across generations due to the impact of colonisation and its ongoing legacies which include the continuation of discriminatory policies and practices,” said Commissioner Oscar. The Commissioner noted that while alcohol consumption in Indigenous women is lower than the general population, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who do drink during pregnancy are more likely to drink at levels which significantly increase the risk of FASD. “As a result, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have a higher prevalence of FASD than the general population.”

Resounding yes to message on a bottle – global study finds broad support for alcohol warning labels (19 June 2020) Simone Pettigrew from the George Institute commented on the research findings from a 7 countries – 68 percent of Australians and 67 percent of New Zealanders surveyed are in favour – come at a critical time, with Australian and New Zealand Health and Food Ministers shortly to vote on recommendations by independent authority Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to introduce long-awaited alcohol warning labels.

Dana McCauley Minister met with alcohol lobby before pregnancy warning label sent back for review. (18 June 2020) Sydney Morning Herald Food Minister Richard Colbeck met twice with alcohol industry lobbyists, including a major political donor, before a ministerial forum he chairs sent the independent regulator’s proposed mandatory pregnancy warning label back for review. Senator Colbeck met with the industry representatives in February and March after Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) recommended the label, with red and black lettering stating “HEALTH WARNING: Any amount of alcohol can harm your baby”, be printed on alcohol bottles.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders May Increase the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Other Metabolic Issues (17 June 2020) National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism NIAAA. USA.

FASD Senate Inquiry FARE opening statement (25 June 2020) Note: a history of lobbying for alcohol labels.

Assessment of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Washington, D.C.: Pan American Health Organization; 2020. License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO.

Sarah Treleaven (20 May 2020) How To Get Help When A Child Or Teen Is Violent Towards A Parent. Huffington Post

Dana McCauley (19 May 2020) Doctors ‘hesitant’ to warn pregnant women against drinking alcohol. Sydney Morning Herald

Wang X etal (5 May 2020) In utero MRI identifies consequences of early-gestation alcohol drinking on fetal brain development in rhesus macaques Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Dana McCauley (12 May 2020) ‘Smoke and mirrors’: Food minister defends delay on alcohol pregnancy warnings

Mirage (6 May 2020) New research demonstrates effectiveness of alcohol warning labels


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Archived news: July to September 2019

Cynthia Choo (28 September 2019) The Big Read in Short: Inclusive education, British Columbia-style — can S’pore take a leaf from it? In Today.

Sophie Rishworth (27 September 2019) FASD ‘one of the great crises of our time’ Gisborne Herald NZ

Aaron E Carroll (19 August 2019) Why Warning Pregnant Women Not to Drink Can Backfire.’ New York Times

Rutgers University (15 August 2019) ‘Moderate to heavy drinking during pregnancy alters genes in newborns, mothers’. Science Daily

SBS Australia (15 August 2019) ‘Health Minister Greg Hunt denies alcohol plan watered down’.  National Press Club.

Semantic Scholar (2019) Susan Astley – list of published articles

Sundermann, A.C. et al. (2019) Alcohol Use in Pregnancy and Miscarriage: A Systematic Review and Meta‐Analysis. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental

CBC News Canada (8 August 2019) ‘Depression is the largest factor for substance use during pregnancy, research finds’. “If we can target mental health and reduce that substance use, I think it can go a long away for improving children’s health.”

BOOK – Ruth Spencer (2019) ‘The Burning: Parenting my son through adoption, FASD and suicide’. Available on Amazon, Kindle, or Indigo as a book, or ebook download

McRae T, Adams E, Clifton E et al (2 August 2019) ‘Overcoming the challenges of caring for a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorder: a Pilbara community perspective’. Rural and Remote Health

Eureka Alert (29 July 2019) ‘Midwives and nurse-midwives may underestimate the dangers of prenatal alcohol use.’ The study, “Prenatal alcohol screening during pregnancy by midwives and nurses,” appears in the June 11, 2019 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.–man072919.php

Shiva M Singh (29 July 2019) ‘Alarming Ontario drinking statistics obligates reappraisal of the impact of alcohol on newborns.’ CMAJ

BioSpace (24 July 2019) Government of Canada supports projects to address and prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Canada. Source: PHAC

Leslie Young (2019) ‘Women, young adults visiting the ER for alcohol-related issues in growing numbers.’ Global News VIDEO

World Health Organisation (July 2019) ‘10 areas governments could work with to reduce the harmful use of alcohol’.

Each year 3 million lives are lost due to harmful use of alcohol. The WHO global strategy to reduce the harmful use of alcohol seeks to improve the health and social outcomes for individuals, families and communities, with considerably reduced morbidity and mortality due to harmful use of alcohol and their ensuing social consequences. It is envisaged that the global strategy will promote and support local, regional and global actions to prevent and reduce the harmful use of alcohol. 

The global strategy focuses on ten key areas of policy options and interventions at the national level. The ten areas for national action are:

  1. Leadership, awareness and commitment.
  2. Health services’ response.
  3. Community action.
  4. Drink-driving policies and countermeasures.
  5. Availability of alcohol.
  6. Marketing of alcoholic beverages.
  7. Pricing policies.
  8. Reducing the negative consequences of drinking and alcohol intoxication.
  9. Reducing the public health impact of illicit alcohol and informally produced alcohol.
  10. Monitoring and surveillance.

Katherine Gammon (10 July 2019) ‘Study probes effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on brain development’.  Researchers have long known that babies born to mothers who drank heavily while pregnant have impairments. Now, an innovative study will test their sensory processing — in a community where drinking while pregnant is socially acceptable. University of Southern Carolina.

Sarah C.M. Roberts, Nancy F. Berglas, Meenakshi S. Subbaraman, Amy Mericle, Sue Thomas, William C. Kerr (August 2019) ‘Racial differences in the relationship between alcohol/pregnancy policies and birth outcomes and prenatal care utilization: A legal epidemiology study’. Drug and Alcohol Dependence Vol. 201, August 2019, pp 242-252.

Let’s Talk FASD (30 June 2019) Living with FASD: ‘I’m going to have this for the rest of my life’. Anchorage Daily News.

Svetlana Popova, Shannon Lange, Vladimir Poznyak, Albert E. Chudley, Kevin D. Shield, James N. Reynolds, Margaret Murray and Jürgen Rehm (July 2019) ‘Population-based prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in Canada’. BMC Public Health Open Access.

Canada FASD Research Network (July 2019) TRAINING ‘FASD for School Staff Level II: Practical Strategies for the School Environment’ 

Sarah Catherall (27 June 2019) ‘The women out to dispel myths about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder’. Noted New Zealand.


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‘The Role of Integrated Care in a Medical Home for Patients With a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder’. Committee on Substance Use and Prevention, Council on Children with Disabilities.

Renee M. Turchi, Vincent C. Smith ‘The Role of Integrated Care in a Medical Home for Patients With a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder’. Committee on Substance Use and Prevention, Council on Children with Disabilities. Pediatrics, October 2018, Vol 142 / Issue 4.

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