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Building Circles of Support FASD presentations across Interlake-Eastern RHA
Next month, Interlake-Eastern RHA’s fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) diagnostic coordinators are offering Building Circles of Support an eight week educational series for parents, caregivers, family members and professionals who support children and youth diagnosed with FASD. 

FASD diagnostic coordinators, Sherisse Picklyk Dear and Devon Ungurain who work with families with children/youth exposed to prenatal alcohol, are now accepting registration for sessions in Pinawa and Selkirk.

“Building Circles of Support is an informational series that helps caregivers and professionals understand the complexities of FASD.  It provides brain-based strategies to use at home, school and in the community,” Picklyk Dear said. “It also gives people a chance to connect and network with other families or professionals, who may have similar experiences.  Over the nine years we have been hosting this series in the region, we have received very positive feedback form the participants.”

Starting April 4, Building Circles of Support will be broadcast via Telehealth across Manitoba. Registration deadline is Tuesday, April 2, 2019 for the hospitals in Selkirk and Pinawa. Both sessions run 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm every Thursday starting April 4 and ending May 23. To register for the Selkirk session, call Sherisse Picklyk Dear at 204-785-7547. To register for the Pinawa session, call Devon Ungurain at 204-268-7705.

FASD is a medical diagnosis that refers to the range of effects that may occur in a fetus exposed to alcohol prenatally (Canadian Guidelines 2015).  FASD is a lifelong brain-based physical disability that can impact individuals, their families and society. Effects can vary and may include a range of physical, cognitive and behavioral challenges.  FASD is often called an “invisible” disability because most people affected do not have noticeable physical features. While individuals may share common characteristics, every individual is unique with their own strengths and challenges.  Individuals with FASD can have struggles with social skills and relationships, memory, focus and attentions, understanding cause and effect and learning and they may experience sensory differences.  

The Province of Manitoba advises that there is no known safe amount of alcohol for women while pregnant.  If possible, women should try and abstain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy or if trying to conceive.  Current research shows that about 15 per cent of Manitoban women reported drinking during pregnancy.  There are many reasons why a woman may drink during her pregnancy including being unaware that she is pregnant. Interlake-Eastern RHA focuses on honouring each woman’s life story and experiences and provides non-judgmental, trauma informed support and information for women to have a healthy pregnancy.  

FASD is said to be the leading known cause of developmental disability among Canadians. There are about 130 FASD related births each year in Manitoba. FASD is a complex disability that requires a commitment to working together from all of the supports surrounding the child/youth and the family.


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