MEDIA RELEASES

Are You Affected By FASD? Free Support Workshop On Soon

Northland parents and caregivers of young people affected by FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) are being offered the opportunity for free support through a workshop being held at Barge Showgrounds in Whangarei on Tuesday February 14 from 10am.

FASD is a group of conditions that can occur when a person is exposed to alcohol while in the womb. These effects can include physical, behavioural, and learning problems. Often, a person with FASD has a mix of these problems.

While it has not been possible to ascertain the true number of people affected by FASD in New Zealand, the Ministry of Health estimates that at least one out of every two pregnancies are exposed to alcohol and one in ten are exposed at high levels (a single binge or more than seven standard drinks in a week is classed as high risk). As a result there may be up to 3,000 children born every year with FASD in New Zealand.

For many whānau, a young person with FASD presents significant challenges. Health issues and behaviour problems can put considerable strain on parents and caregivers.

Northland DHB health promotion advisor Dave Hookway says “the kinds of behaviours children with FASDs tend to present with can increase the risk that these children will be exposed to abuse or neglect. They can be harder to parent than children with typically functioning brains, and even the most confident and well-resourced parents are likely to struggle.”

“Families of people with FASD struggle to access appropriate support and report a lack of understanding from services, professionals and even other family members,” says Mr Hookway.

Northland DHB is working with the Health Promotion Agency and Alcohol Healthwatch to bring prominent FASD expert Dr Valerie McGinn to Whangarei to support these families and provide some tools for them to help cope better. People interested in attending the free workshop are urged to contact Dave Hookway on 021-221-4027 or email dave.hookway@northlanddhb.org.nz to book.




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