NOFAS Weekly Roundup May 18, 2015

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NEW AT NOFAS   May 18, 2015  

Mobilizing the FASD Community to Take Action
Free NOFAS Webinar

WED, May 20  |  2:00-3:00 pm ET  

The webinar will be presented by Sara Messelt, Executive Director of MOFAS, Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

This webinar will provide you with a step by step process for mobilizing community members to take action to prevent FASD and stand up for those who are living with an FASD. Strategies for “grassroots” and “grasstops” outreach will be shared. We will explore how to engage self-advocates, family members, community partners and other key stakeholders in creating change that will improve the lives of people impacted by prenatal alcohol exposure. Suggestions for legislative activity that will make a difference on the state and local level will be addressed.



Will Pregnancy Tests In Alaska Bars Dissuade Moms-To-Be From Drinking?

"Remember the last time you had sex? Were you drinking? Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause lifelong problems for the child."  That's part of the warning on a poster in the women's bathroom at the Peanut Farm bar in Anchorage. It depicts the silhouette of a pregnant woman guzzling straight from a bottle. And it's affixed to a pregnancy test dispenser hanging on the wall.  The Peanut Farm and a few other bars in Alaska have begun offering the free pregnancy tests as part of a two-year, state-funded pilot project.”

Young Gymnast Living with FASD Sharpens Skills With Special Olympics

“Mareena Mattison of Prospect Heights is a reigning gold medalist and No. 1 all around in the nation in Special Olympics gymnastics. The 13-year–old MacArthur Middle School student doesn’t let her physical challenge stop her. Born with fetal alcohol syndrome, she came into lives of Prospect Heights residents Frank and Wendy Mattison when she was only 16 days old. Foster care and adoption brought them together.”
– Journal Online


Montana Foster Parent of the Year
Raises Children with FASD

“Cheryl Robertson of Helena has fostered 35 children over three years… She plans on fostering children for years to come in the Helena area. And she has been the [Montana] state Department of Public Health and Human Services Foster Parent of the Year award recipient two years running… Robertson has earned a reputation for being consistent and loving, housing mostly boys, some suffering from autism or fetal alcohol syndrome.”
– Independent Record

montana foster mom
South African TV News Report: Concern Over High Rate of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

“The rate of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in South Africa is still amongst the most severe in the world.  The Western Cape government, farm workers and farm owners met on Tuesdaynight in Wellington to discuss these concerns.”
– SABC Digital News

FASD Training in Regina, Canada

“Michelle Stewart, professor at the University of Regina’s Department of Justice, hosted a workshop and training session on FASD for community workers and professionals. It included a hands-on workshop with strategies to improve communication between workers and those living with the stigmatized disorder.”
– Regina Leader-Post

Proposed FASD Bill by Canadian MP Ryan Leef Dropped by Committee

“A parliamentary committee has dropped recommendations proposed by Yukon MP Ryan Leef, which relate to how people with FASD should be treated by the criminal justice system.  In 2013 Yukon MP Ryan Leef brought forward a private members' bill called C-583 that would have allowed judges to order that people accused be assessed for FASD. The bill would have legally defined the condition within the Criminal Code and would have allowed judges to consider FASD a mitigating factor in sentencing."
– CBC News

ryan-leef_MP 2


Alcohol Use in First 3-4 Weeks of Pregnancy Can Alter Gene Functioning

“A new study finds that drinking alcohol as early as 3-4 weeks into pregnancy - before many women even realize they are expecting - may alter gene functioning in the brains of offspring, leading to long-term changes in brain structure… The research team, led by Dr. Nina Kaminen-Ahola of the University of Helsinki in Finland, says their findings indicate that alcohol exposure in early pregnancy may cause lifelong changes to gene regulation in embryonic stem cells - the earliest cells to emerge from a developing embryo.”
– Medical News Today

Partner Support to Abstain From Prenatal Alcohol Use:
A Survey Among Partners of Pregnant Women

“The aim of this study was to identify correlates of this support by analysing differences between partners reporting low versus high support… partners reporting high support were more likely to desire their partner to abstain from alcohol use and to have received advice from their pregnant spouse or midwife that abstinence was desirable. They also had stronger perceptions that the baby would experience harm from prenatal alcohol use and that harm could be more severe, and they saw more advantages and fewer disadvantages of providing support.”
– Wiley Online Library

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure's Impact on Amphetamine Sensitization

“Individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) are at increased risk for substance use disorders (SUD). In typically developing individuals, susceptibility to SUD is associated with alterations in dopamine and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) systems, and their interactions. Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) alters dopamine and HPA systems, yet effects of PAE on dopamine-HPA interactions are unknown. Amphetamine-stress cross-sensitization paradigms were utilized to investigate sensitivity of dopamine and stress (HPA) systems, and their interactions following PAE.”
– Springer Link



When Someone with an FASD is Arrested: What You Need to Know (Video) 

View the video recording of this webinar presented by Dr. Paul Connor. The webinar discusses research on how commonly troubles with the law occurs for people with FASD, and how many of the cognitive difficulties that occur in FASD can lead to problems when interacting with police, attorneys, and judges. WATCH NOW.




Upcoming Webinars

Free NOFAS Webinar: 
Mobilizing the FASD Community to Take Action
WED, May 20, 2015.
2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST.

The webinar will be presented by Sara Messelt, Executive Director of MOFAS, Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.   Since 1998, the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) has led the cause of preventing FASD and alcohol related birth defects.

MOFAS FASD Webinar: 
Challenges and Strategies
for Rehab Specialists

WED, May 27, 2015
Noon – 1:00 PM Central Time.

Featuring: Megan Bresnahan: Occupational Therapist at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.  This webinar will provide “education and resources for rehab specialists (Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists and Speech Language Pathologists) and other professionals who evaluate and treat children with a FASD.”



Upcoming Events

Here are some upcoming events in the FASD Community: 

Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity 
May 18 & 19, 2015. Honolulu, Hawaii. “The 2015 conference theme is Deep Impact.  Recognizing our shared responsibility, how can we strengthen the positive impact we already have on our communities, regions, and countries and in the world? By attending the conference, you will be part of a wide network of individuals and communities who strive to make a positive difference in the world for our hundreds of millions of fellow human beings who just want a shot at living to their own full potential.  Be there and share your brilliance with the world.”

Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) for alcohol and other drug use: An Interprofessional Conference 
June 9-10, 2015. Pittsburgh, PA. “Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) is a public health and evidence-based practice used to identify, reduce, and prevent problematic use, abuse, and dependence on alcohol and illicit drugs… The target audience for this conference are health professionals – nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors, pharmacists, dentists, dental hygienists, behavioral health counselors, social workers, and public health workers.”

FETAL ALCOHOL & OTHER NEUROBEHAVIORAL CONDITIONS: Understanding & Application of a Brain-Based Approach 
July 9-11, 2015. Portland, Oregon. “This session provides information about FASD and the effects of alcohol and other drugs on behaviors of children, adolescents and adults. FASD is a brain-based, neurobehavioral condition. The workshop will educate you on the current status of research for identification and on a best practices approach for treatment and accommodations. The goal is to increase understanding, reduce frustration, and expand options.”

Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse (AMERSA) National Conference November 5-7, 2015. Washington, DC. “This year's theme is "Integrating Policy and Research into Teaching and Practice." We have planned an exciting conference featuring oral abstract and poster sessions, skills-focused workshops, one-on-one career mentoring, and plenary sessions addressing issues of national and international importance. Conference Travel Awards are available!”

Call for Presentations: MOFAS FASD Matters Conference 
November 19-20, 2015. Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. MOFAS is looking for presentations that: provide new information, ideas and solutions for families, agencies, and systems to implement, share innovative strategies, tools, and best practices, increase the knowledge, skills, and abilities of those living and/or working with someone with an FASD.


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