Learn About FASD in Halton

WHAT IS FASD?

FASD stands for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  It is a medical diagnosis that refers to the “lifelong disability that affects the brain and body of people who were exposed to alcohol in the womb. Each person with FASD has both strengths and challenges and will need special supports to help them succeed with many different parts of their daily lives” (CanFASD, 2021) throughout their lifespan.  These could include challenges with motor skills, physical health, learning, memory, attention, emotional regulation, and social skills.

CHARACTERISTICS of FASD

FASD is a spectrum disorder, so it affects people in different ways. This means that each person with FASD will have his/her own unique strengths and challenges; however, there are some common characteristics:

Typical brain-based, primary disabilities of FASD include:

  • inconsistent memory and recall
  • inability to filter out environmental or emotional distractions and sensory stimuli
  • slow and inconsistent cognitive and auditory processing
  • decreased mental stamina
  • difficulty interpreting and applying abstract concepts (for example, managing money and time)
  • impulsivity and poor judgment
  • inability to predict outcomes (of their own or others’ actions)
  • difficulty shifting from one context to another
  • resistance to change
  • inability to see another person’s perspective
  • inability to recognize indirect social cues
  • Dysmaturity (widely varying levels of maturity in different areas of development (e.g., expressive language and language comprehension, social and self-care skills, and awareness and regulation of emotions.)

These disabilities can cause a “poor fit” between the abilities of the individual and many of society’s age-based social and academic expectations.  Examples include:  frustration, anxiety, depression, avoidance/shut down, poor self esteem, isolation, etc.  Chronic “poor fit”, anger, failure and alienations can manifest in:  trouble in school –truancy/ drop out, involvement with social services and/or justice systems, addictions, homelessness, mental health problems, etc.

PREVENTION

FASD prevention is about more than just raising awareness about the risk of exposing a pregnancy to alcohol. To learn more, review these common messages to provide consistent, clear information for those who are working to prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). 

FASD Prevention Common Messages Download

HALTON FASD Collaborative

HALTON FASD COLLABORATIVE VISION:

 HALTON IS AN FASD INFORMED COMMUNITY

 We believe individuals in Halton at risk of or affected by FASD and their families have the right to access timely assessment and quality FASD driven and informed services in their own community. Our Collaboration is founded on building awareness and addressing system barriers and gaps that prevent individuals affected by or at risk of FASD and their families from realizing their full potential. We understand that no single organization or group can move this cause forward; FASD crosses all governments and ministry jurisdictions, public and private sectors, and as such we are committed to working together to achieve our shared vision and mission.

 

HALTON FASD COLLABORATIVE MISSION:

We work together to prevent FASD and promote a system of care for the well-being of individuals at-risk or living with the effects of FASD.

 Structure of Halton FASD Collaborative

Community agencies sign a memorandum of understanding outlining their commitment to the Halton FASD Collaborative.  Within the Collaborative, there is an Advisory  Committee, Caregiver Support Groups, an Assessment and Diagnostic Team, and a Resource Team.  With the support of ROCK as the host agency for funding staffing positions (i.e. FASD Program Manager and/or FASD Consultant) to support work of both the Assessment and Diagnostic Team, and Resource Team.  Through the collective efforts of community partners, we respond to the evolving needs of individuals at risk of or with FASD and their families in our region by championing system change through the following structures: 

The Advisory Committee

The Halton FASD Advisory Committee serves in an advisory capacity in the following areas: (a) Co-ordinate advocacy regarding FASD planning & priorities (b) Leverage opportunities for funding of collaborative projects/enhancements (c) Leverage community partnerships to support sustainability of Halton FASD Assessment and Diagnostic Team and Halton FASD Resource Team and the Halton FASD Parent/Caregiver Support Groups (d) Affirm planning and implementation of the workplan by the Halton FASD Resource Team (e) Identify and respond to emerging needs in the community and elevate needs to provincial working groups as appropriate.  Organization delegates will have the authority to provide input to the Advisory Committee representing their organization’s interests and perspective and will liaise within their own organization as required.

FASD Assessment and Diagnostic Team

The FASD Assessment & Diagnostic Team will provide monthly Diagnostic Assessments to residents of Halton up to the age of 25. The team will provide full assessments and offer recommendations to individuals assessed.  The work of the Assessment and Diagnostic Team is supported by some funding from the Ministry of Health and the in-kind contribution of its members.

FASD Resource Team

The Halton FASD Resource Team is composed of professionals from various disciplines and agencies. Members of the team will be trained in a Community of Practice (CoP) Model, which is designed to enhance participants’ knowledge and skills regarding FASD and to build capacity to serve those living with FASD in Halton.                                                       

The FASD Resource Team will provide community-based training regarding FASD and how best to support individuals living with FASD in our community.  The team will also facilitate case conferences to individuals providing services to Halton children, youth, and adults affected by FASD.  

 Collaborative Members

  • Ennataig Healing Lodge
  • ROCK Reach Out Centre for Kids
  • Children’s Aid Society
  • Woodview Mental Health & Autism Services
  • Halton Regional Police Services
  • Halton Catholic District School Board
  • Halton District School Board
  • Community Living Burlington
  • Nelson Youth Centres
  • Halton Region – Children’s Developmental Services & Public Health Department
  • ADAPT
  • ErinoakKids Centre for Treatment and Development
  • Joseph Brant Hospital
  • Milestone Foster Homes
  • Community Living North Halton
  • Halton Support Services
  • Ministry of Child and Youth Services
  • Parent Advocates