Cynthia explained to us that Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fetal_alcohol_syndrome is the leading cause of developmental delays in North America. Health Canada estimates that 9 in every 1,000 babies in Canada are born with FASD. They recommend that there is no safe time or safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant or planning to become pregnant (this includes both parents).
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder is 100% preventable but incurable. FASD first appeared in medical literature in 1968 when a French doctor, Paul Lemoine, published the first studies he had observed in children born to mothers described as alcoholics. FASD went largely unrecognized until 1973, when it was characterized as a ‘tragic disorder’ by Seattle physicians Jones and Smith.
Beverage alcohol is the only consumer product in Canada which is known to cause harm if misused that does not alert the consumer to that fact. Canadian distilleries currently place health warning labels on bottles destined for the US and other markets, but not in Canada. Sheila stated that health labels play a vital role in augmenting public awareness and education. She urged us to advocate for this as we can make a difference.
It is always a challenge for teachers to figure out why students have difficulty learning, and then plan programs to best meet their needs. Back in the days of one-room schoolhouses, teachers and families did not have the knowledge on how to deal with students with FASD, autism, dyslexia and other disorders that affect learning.