Fetal alcohol group looking for community support

‘People just need a little extra help’

Callie Hermanson
Lakeside Leader

The northwest Central Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Network partners with communities and government agencies working together to promote FASD prevention and promote services to individuals and families who are affected by FASD.

The network provides prevention strategies that promote the health of mothers, to minimize harm to the fetus.

These can be but are not limited to crime, homelessness, rehousing and unemployment for adults as well as school disruption and foster care placement for children.

Patty Stephen, with the FASD network says her job is to help people with FASD be as independent as possible. She says the only way someone can get FASD is if the mother drinks while pregnant, and most mothers, once they know they are pregnant, stop drinking.

“I don’t want anyone to put the blame on mothers she says because women don’t know they are pregnant for two to three months.”

Stephen explains she wants the world to know it’s not 100 percent preventable. She says for example if a young woman goes out and has a few too many drinks it may lower her inhibitions. She may end up sleeping with someone without using protection.

Stephen helps parents or foster parents who have children with FASD.
If parent think there’s something not quite right with their child, and they’re not developing properly she suggests talking to your physician. If a child is getting a lot of diagnoses such as ottention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or the doctor just can’t put his or her finger on it, the FASD Network can try to find a proper diagnosis for these children.

The other thing Stephen does with the FASD Network is work with adults who have FASD, who need more support in the community.

“Usually we help them with financial support.”

If they need support daily, the FASD Network can try and find out if they qualify for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD) support a staff member colud be avalible to come in on a regular base. Stephen says that could be anything from not being able to balance your chequebook, budget planning or meal planning.

“We know there are a lot of people in this community with FASD.”

When Stephen started the position 16 months ago, it was just her. The FASD Network had to hire a second person.

The FASD hired Nicole Morrison, Morrison started with the FASD Network on June 1 Stephen says when they help out individuals with FASD they want to make it as easy as possible for them; however, they have found there are a lot of adult children living at home, so for some people it is uncomfortable to put staff in their homes.

Some people may not have enough of a disability to get full funding to help them live in the community says Stephen. If there are people in the community that might be willing in having these people in their homes. to help out with the little things such as, reminding them to do their laundry if it piles up or teaching them about nutrition and proper meal planning if they seem to be eatting unhealthy meals and snacks.

Most of these people don’t need 24-hour support, but after there isn’t really any services for them once they become adults. These people just need a little bit of extra help maybe once or twice a week.

Stephen says they would still be able to pay for rent, but they may need a big brother or sister to guide them.

If there is anyone in the community who might be interested in doing something like that they can give Stephen a call at 780-843-9117 or Morrison at 780-516-1027.

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