FASD Grows Up!


A compendium from parents and professionals of practical tools and strategies that can help alcohol-affected individuals and their families lead happier, more productive lives.

judithkleinfeld.jpgJudith Kleinfeld is founder and was the director of the Northern Studies program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

She has published two early books with the University of Alaska Press on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (referred historically as FAS/FAE)

Fantastic Antone Succeeds, with Siobhan Wescott, (1993) and Fantastic Antone Grows Up (2000) with Siobhan Wescott and Barbara Morse.

Fantastic Antone Grows Up is a field guide to life with an adolescent or young adult with fetal alcohol syndrome/effects.

FantasticAntoneUnder the best of circumstances, adolescence is a trying time for young people and their families.

The budding adult seeks independence and autonomy while the resistant child within longs for protection and structure; questions about sexuality and work, social commitments, and solitary accomplishments loom large and can create a family battlefield.

For the challenged and the challenging young people with FASD, circumstances as they begin maturing can be even more difficult. Without minimizing the seriousness of FASD and the first priority prevention, Fantastic Antone Succeeds provides practical tools and strategies that can help alcohol-affected individuals and their families lead happier, more productive lives.

“This book provides a timely and important counterpoint to the gloom and doom that predominates in so many professional–and virtually all popular–sources that deal with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol effects (FAE). . . . [It] gives realistic hope to those who have for too long been given virtually no encouragement in seeking better lives for such children.” (Addiction)

“This book is a gift to the many caring people who deserve the wisdom that is offered here.” (Winds of Change)

“Commonly as part of our treatment recommendations after we have evaluated a child, we include a recommendation for the family or caregivers to read Fantastic Antone Succeeds.” (Reader Comments)

“Fantastic Antone Succeeds is the first major step forward in helping parents and teachers to help the unfortunate victims of alcohol exposure in utero.” (Dr. Sterling Clarren, Director, Seattle Fetal Alcohol Program)

Fantastic AntoneIn this sequel to Fantastic Antone Succeeds young people with FASD and their caregivers report on their experiences coping with the problems of adolescence and young adulthood. Again the editors and authors have concentrated on the wisdom of practice as they candidly convey which techniques worked and which did not during the difficult passages of the teenage years and beyond.

The twenty-one chapters are grouped according to theme.

  1. Section one discusses the meaning of success for adolescents and adults with FAS/E, and indeed the need to define success in new ways.
  2. Section two discusses strategies that work in areas such as counseling, education, sexuality, trouble with the law, and independent living.
  3. Section three covers what families need from the community, including innovative programs that help individuals with FASD and how to get a diagnosis at adolescence.

The book also contains lists of important resources, organizations to contact, and helpful internet sites.

More has been learned about how alcohol poisoning in the womb alters brain function and physical development, but science is far from providing the answers that affected young people and their caregivers need about everyday life with FAS/E. This is why voices of experience are so important–with their practical messages of coping, caring, loving, weeping, laughing, and–more often than might be expected–succeeding.

A fun sidenote:
Fairbanks Daily News has 975 articles containing information and news on Fetal Alcohol.


  • 2012. The Frontier Romance University of Alaska Press 2003. Go For It: Finding Your Own Frontier Epicenter Press
  • 2002. The Frontier Frame-of-Mind . Epicenter Press
  • 2002. Nobody’s Perfect: The Kleinfeld Columns on the Psychology of Everyday Life. Vanessa Press
  • 2000. Fantastic Antone Grows Up: Educating Adolescents and Adults with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. University of Alaska Press
  • 1994. Gender Tales: Tensions in the Schools. New York: St. Martins Press. (with Sue Yerian).
  • 1993. Fantastic Antone Succeeds: Experiences in Educating Children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. (1993). (with Siobhan Wescott)

Journal articles:

  • 2001. Using the Internet to Expose Junk Science: The MIT Study on the Status of Women. Society.
  • Research featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, Chronicle of Higher Education, Education Week, U.S. News and World Report, Insight., The Atlantic Monthly and in columns by John Leo and Mona Charen.

Creativity connects us to one another


Art Therapy gave me the privilege of sharing the power of art to make story visible, which can change the life of a child, their family, community, and a entire culture. 

Art is not just a thing, it is a Way.
The picture above is one of Antonia’s paintings.

AntoniaLindsayAntonia (Rathbun) Lindsay empowers families. Not only does she see the forest, she can delve into the trees and their branches and their leaves and buds and rings. She embraces the bark and soothes the rough edges of life. — Jodee Kulp

There is never shaming or blaming and any family lucky enough to have had the experience to work with her will leave with real tools to use in their life.  She digs in to find creative solutions to family problems that are based both on research and many, many years of experience. Her solutions work! She has provided direct and online clinical and community education in art therapy and neurobehavioral intervention for children recovering from meth, alcohol & other neurotoxin exposures, trauma, autism spectrum differences & communication diversities.

She is a Mental Health/Disabilities Consultant; Master Art Therapist; Child & Family Therapist with neurotoxin exposures (FASD, Meth) and Autistic Spectrum Disorders in children.

Up for the challenge, during her career she provided individual, family & group therapy, dyadic therapy, and case consultation for psychiatric, FAS & other drug effects, Communication Disorders, Autistic Spectrum Disorders and developmental, genetic and other medical special needs and ethnic/cultural diversity issues.

This is the introduction to "A Conversation with Becca", a video interview I had with  Becca McConnell, a young adult woman with FASD.  She discussed symptoms and solutions which help her and her family, including key concepts from the "Parenting Your Porcupine" Curriculum which was developed under a federal research & demonstration grant on treating adoptive families raising children with FASD, through the US government's Adminstration on Children, Youth & Families at Childrens Center in Washington from 1999-2003. 

Her goal is for children & communities to use art as a way to contribute their unique & diverse perspectives for a sustainable & creative world. Art is not just a thing: it is a Way.

If I ever needed a therapist I would seek out Antonia. She is so insightful. She is the best!” — Deb Evensen

The best strategies are developed WITH people, not AT them.

Antonia has years and years and more years of professional experience as a Registered Art Therapist, Child & Family Therapist, & Minority/DD Specialist delivering promising practices, quality clinical services, community education & intervention with foster, adoptive, kinship, guardianship & birth families of young children with trauma, alcohol, meth & other drug exposures, Autistic Spectrum & other developmental conditions, Communication Disorders, Deaf/HH and Talented & Giftedness.

Now that is a mouthful. And as you can see she in unafraid to walk in some pretty heavy stuff. Don’t worry—there is more!

“Art is not just a thing, it is a Way. It is a visual language of the human heart, expressed by people of all ages, cultures and conditions. Creativity is the common denominator connecting us to one another, and the natural world of other beings we share life with. Art heals, because it communicates our experiences and expands imagination of what is possible.

She has developed programs & training protocols for clinicians and providers at the regional and national levels in the US & Canada, including SAMHSA FAS Centers for Excellence & British Columbia’s Ministry of Education, among others. 

She developed SNAP (Special Needs Adoption Program), the US’s first research & demonstration program for special needs adoptive & kinship families with FAS & other alcohol & drug-related disorders.

That was followed by the COACHES (Calming Overaroused Children for Healthy Early Starts) program for methamphetamine endangered children ages 2-6, which has been incorporated into a current multisite SAMHSA study involving Children Affected by Methamphetamine in collaboration with Family Treatment Drug Court in SW Washington.

Her work was published

  • In the book “Fantastic Antone Succeeds”, the first solutions-focused book on how to support children and families living with FASD,
  • Hazelden Foundation’s “FAS: Stories of Help & Hope”, and the
  • British Columbian Ministry of Education’s Guide to Educating Students with FASD, among other media.

She founded the “StarChild Quilt Project for FAS/FAE”, a solutions oriented art therapy intervention for community empowerment which spread through 22 states in the US and 4 provinces in Canada serving indigenous nations in narrative intervention on intergenerational trauma and recovery.

She served as a consultant on mental health/developmental disabilities, minority & cultural diversities & creative therapies.

Antonia has been in recovery for 30 years, is active in the Deaf and Hearing communities and is lives with Meniere’s Disease which Deafened her in 2009. Her lovely artwork can be discovered and in some cases purchased at the following link:

  • Antonia-Lindsey-Art.squarespace.com because she paints on! Antonia is selling her work mostly in the Netherlands, where she spends quite a bit of time in the Dutch Deaf community.





Couple gives a lifetime to create change


Sterling and Sandra Clarren have given a lifetime together in making a difference for understanding and helping persons with FASD. They are a team!



Dr. Sterling K. Clarren is one of the world’s leading researchers into Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Dr. Sandra G. Bernstein Clarren worked in the field of special education for over 40 years. Together they had what it takes to help make a difference for individuals with FASD and their families and the professionals who work with them.

Dr. Clarren has studied FASD since 1975 and helped to establish the original fetal alcohol definitions. He was one of the very first clinicians to recognize that alcohol exposure during pregnancy caused neurological damage. Within nine years of the Washington discovery, animal studies, including non-human monkey studies carried out at the University of Washington Primate Center by Dr. Sterling Clarren, had confirmed that alcohol was a teratogen. By 1978, 245 cases of Fetal Syndrome had been reported by medical researchers, and the syndrome began to be described as the most frequent known cause of intellectual disabilities (then referred to as mental retardation).

Sterling was instrumental in developing the field of FASD from its infancy. He has been a world leader in research on this issue. He has dedicated his life to understanding the complexities of FASD and advancing the science, using that evidence to improve diagnosis, develop interventions, increase awareness and change outcomes for those living with this disability. 

Today we meet Sterling K. Clarren, the man who was willing to ask the questions to discover new answers. 

One question that may seem simple, was why do women continue to drink while they are pregnant?

Almost twenty years ago Sterling Clarren decided to investigate this. And what he found was startling. About half of the 80 mothers his team looked at had FASD themselves. In addition, many of them had suffered extremely high rates of physical and sexual abuse. They often had mental illnesses and were isolated from friends and families.

“The stories these women told the interviewers were so awful that the interviewers needed psychiatric support at the end of the study for secondary post-traumatic stress,” said Clarren, he champions mentorships for mothers programs. 


Dr. Clarren shares in his Keynote from Yukon 2002 Prairie Northern Conference on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

My colleague and I had an idea in 1995 that we would actually go and ask people about FAS and find out who are these moms. Why aren’t they listening to the warning labels? What’s different? Why isn’t this rational? How is this possible?

And we obtained funding from the Centres for Disease Control and we used our FAS Clinic as a tool for this research. We said that every time we make a diagnosis of FAS there is a mom out there who has a child with FAS. We would just go and ask her what this is all about and why wasn’t that already in the literature?

Because what we have found out as clinics have started up all over the country is that mothers with children with FAS aren’t raising them!

It’s becoming an actual experience in the US and Canada that only about 10% of birth mothers with children with FAS have them in their care.

He has written broadly on the topic of fetal alcohol.

He wrote the first article on the neuropathology of FAS, and developed the first non-human primate model for studying dose-response. 

People have misunderstood the next word which we are responsible for spinning out. In our monkey model in the trial, the only time you had that kind of anomaly was with exposure to alcohol on the 18th day of pregnancy which in humans would have been the 20th day. On the 20th day you don’t even have a brain nevertheless that’s what we found.

In the mouse model you only get this facial anomaly in the mouse with exposure at that same time period. So there is something that happens very specifically that affects these cells. Well if you don’t have the lip and philtrum anomaly you will not get a diagnosis of FAS.

Therefore if it’s true that in humans this only occurs on the 18th day, if your mother doesn’t drink during the 18th day of pregnancy then you lose your chance of getting a diagnosis of FAS. Does that explain why so many more kids with alcohol related brain damage are out there than have FAS? Yes! And that’s what makes it really confusing that the people with the face always have brain damage but the people without the face MAY have brain damage.

So that face is leading us to brain and it’s the brain that I want to speak about at the end because this is where the rubber hits the ground because what FAS is all about is brain damage. In the Id going back to Goethe, we are a helping society. We do reach out to children with brain damage.

You all come from systems which are dedicated to helping children with special needs. Why is it so hard to help this group? What is the missing piece? If we understand the missing piece we ought to be able to help them better. 


The full keynote is worth a quality read. and remember it was spoken out in 2002!

Minimal Brain Damage was a term that was coined in the 1940’s for kids who had problems across all of these domains. Pretty interesting?

What happened to the term “Minimal Brain Damage”? There was no agreement among physicians about how to make a diagnosis. Some people said you needed to do a work up and other people said they could do it in ten minutes talking to the mother and everybody said it was too expensive, and the problem was that in ten years no one knew what it was because everyone made the diagnosis differently. Sound familiar?

Dr. Clarren received his BA from Yale University and his MD from the University of Minnesota. His post-graduate training in pediatrics and fellowship training in neuroembryology, teratology, and dysmorphology were all done at the University of Washington. 

He has testified about FASD before the US Congress and Washington State Legislature. He has published over 100 research articles and has received research funding from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Centers for Disease Control, the Glaser Foundation, and the March of Dimes.

They say a great woman makes the man…. well that may or may not be true but it is true that Sterling’s life partner is an incredible woman and he is definitely blessed.

SandyClarrenDr. Sandra G. Bernstein Clarren worked in the field of special education for over 40 years. Initially she has worked as a special education resource teacher and diagnostician in the United States and England. After receiving her doctorate from the University of Washington, she worked as a school psychologist in hospital and school settings and at the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Diagnostic and Prevention Network at the University of Washington.

Sandra G. Bernstein Clarren is the principal writer for the Alberta, Canada, Teaching Students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. This is a significant work for all educators to read and is offered as a free download

Excerpt from page 12, Teaching Students with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

ED491497-1Children with FASD have difficulty processing information. If you give them a list of things to do and walk away from them, only one of the items may get done based their short term memory. Not only is processing all of it difficult but they cannot remember everything you told them to do. Some children work best of you have pictures showing the order to do things in on the wall. For example, a picture of someone getting dressed when getting up, then brushing their hair, eating breakfast, then brushing their teeth can help. They often have trouble with time schedules, such as only having a certain amount of time to do something. Planning and organization is also a problem children sometimes have difficulty with. A child with FASD who tries to clean and organize their bedroom might clean one side by putting everything on the other side, and when they get to the other side of the room they just put everything back over to the other side of the room. It is a never ending circle sometimes and then they just get frustrated and never finish what they start.  Children with FASD also have poor judgment skills. Most children would know that something is not right or okay to do, but a child with FASD may not see a problem with doing what they are doing. They may also have speech and language delays; for example, they may not fully understand what someone is telling them or they may not be able to get their point across regarding what they need and want. They also have a lower IQ than the average child, but some of the children with FASD do score in the higher range (Sandra G. Bernstein Clarren 2004 pg. 12)

She is a trainer, researcher, presenter, writer and diagnostician in the field of FASD and an educational psychologist in private practice.

Sandra acknowledges individuals with FASD, their families and her colleagues who have been her teachers in learning about the strengths and needs of this special group of children. She also thanks her husband, Sterling Clarren, MD, for reviewing sections of the text related to medical and research issues and discussing many issues related to individuals with her in the development of this project. 

Writing that has changed history

Sterling Clarren Papers

  • Clarke, MP, Tough SC, Hicks M, Cook J, Foulkes E, Clarren SK. (2005). “Attitudes and approaches of Canadian providers to preconception counseling and the prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.” Journal of FAS International.
  • Clarke, MP, Tough SC, Hicks M, Cook J, Foulkes E, Clarren SK. (2005). “Approaches of Canadian providers the diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.” Journal of FAS International.
  • Astley, SJ, Stachowiak J, Clarren SK, Clausen C. (2002). “Application of the fetal alcohol syndrome facial photographic screening tool in a foster care population.” J. Pediatrics, 141:712-17.
  • Clarren, SK, Randels SP, Sanderson M, Fineman RM. (2001). “Screening for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in primary schools — a feasibility study.” Teratology, 63:3-10.
  • Miller, RI, Clarren SK. (2000). “Long term developmental outcomes in patients with deformational plagiocephaly.” Pediatrics, 105:417(e26).

Sterling Clarren Papers books and chapters

  • Clarren, SK. (2004) “Alcohol teratogenesis and fetal alcohol syndrome.” In L. Osborn, T. DeWitt, L. First. (eds.). Comprehensive Pediatrics. St. Louis : Harcourt Press, in press.
  • Clarren SK. (2003) “Fetal alcohol syndrome & fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.” In: M.L. Wolrich. (ed.). Disorders of Development & Learning. Hamilton, Ontario : BC Decker.
  • Clarren SK, Astley SJ. (2001) “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome”. In: S.B. Cassidy and J. Allanson J. (eds.). Clinical Management of Common Genetic Syndromes. New York : Wiley and Sons.
  • Clarren, SK. (2000) “Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in the context of alcohol exposure in utero”. In: P. Accardo, T.A. Blondis, B. Whitman, M.A. Stein. (eds.). Attention Deficits and Hyperactivity in Children and Adults, 2nd Edition. New York : Marcel Dekker, Inc.
  • Astley SJ, Clarren SK. (1999) Diagnostic Guide for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Related Conditions: The 4-Digit Diagnostic Code. 2nd Edition University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington.
  • Astley, S.J., Bailey, D., Talbot, T., & Clarren, S.K. (1998). Primary prevention of FAS:Targeting women at high risk through the FAS Diagnostic and Prevention Net-work. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 22, 104A.
  • Clarren, S.K., & Astley, S.J. (1998). Identification of children with fetal alcohol syndrome and opportunity for referral of their mothers for primary prevention. Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report, 47, 861-864.
  • Astley, S.J. & Clarren, S.K. (1997). Diagnostic guide for fetal alcohol syndrome and related conditions. Seattle: University of Washington Press.
  • Clarren SGB, Shurtleff H, Unis A, Astley SJ, Clarren SK. (1994) Comprehensive educational, psychologic, and psychiatric profiles of children with fetal alcohol syndrome. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research;18(2):502.
  • Streissguth AP, Aase JM, Clarren SK, Randels SP, LaDue RA, Smith DF. (1991) Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in adolescents and adults. JAMA-Journal of the American Medical Association; 265(15):1961-1967.
  • Clarren SK, Smith DW. (1978) The fetal alcohol syndrome. New England Journal of Medicine 1978;298(19):1063-1067.

Sandra G. Bernstein Clarren

  • Clarren SGB, Shurtleff H, Unis A, Astley SJ, Clarren SK. (1994) Comprehensive educational, psychologic, and psychiatric profiles of children with fetal alcohol syndrome. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research;18(2):502.

Who proved alcohol is a teratagen?

Red Shoes Rock honors the FASD pioneer – Dr. Kathleen K. Sulik – Thank you!

The FASD community is grateful that Kathleen K. Sulik, Ph.D. is a scientist who studies birth defects.

Her discipline is called teratology or developmental toxicology. Much of her research has involved studying the various types of birth defects that result from exposure of an embryo to alcohol at very specific times during development.

Suliklabfigure1Dr. Sulik designed experiments to demonstrate that alcohol can cause major birth defects and the brain damage as early as the first three weeks of fetal development.

One of the major findings from her laboratory’s studies is that alcohol can cause permanent brain damage if exposure occurs at very early stages of embryonic development — stages that occur prior to the time that most women would even realize that they are pregnant.

Dr. Sulik began her career with plans of becoming a medical illustrator, but shifted her dream in college from art into biology. Her Ph.D. is in Anatomy and the FASD community is grateful. Her mentors for her dissertation research were clinical geneticists and she gained knowledge regardingt human birth defects. After completing her degree, she went to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill as a postdoctoral fellow. During her fellowship she began to use scanning electron microscopy to examine early mouse embryos. This technique provides 3-D like views and the opportunity to readily visualize the complex structural changes that occur during development.

Sulik-MouseA large dose of alcohol given to a pregnant mouse produced severe abnormalities in the developing fetus (bottom), according to doctors at the University of North Carolina studying effects of alcohol in early pregnancy. Compared with a normal fetus (top), the one exposed to alcohol suffered eye damage, a stunted brain, and facial deformities similar to human babies with FAS, particularly those affected during the first trimester, when bones and organs are forming. Blood-alcohol levels reached during the experiment approximate those that could occur in a woman of average size if she drank a quart of vodka within a 24-hour period.

For more information of her work or to review a collection of images assembled as an embryology tutorial that is available at www.med.unc.edu/embryo_images. Images such as these have proven invaluable for the teaching she has enjoyed during her career as Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology Member, Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Published and co-published by Kathy.

Throughout Kathy’s career her research continued to employ techniques with significant visual component, including high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI allows appreciation of a spectrum of defects that are present in fetal mice whose mothers had been given alcohol.

Dr. Sulik’s work was critical in proving that alcohol is a teratogen.
  • Her work demonstrated the stage-specific effects of early alcohol exposure.
  • She influenced FASD public policy, and played a large role in FASD prevention and education.
  • She contributed significantly to our knowledge of FASD genetics and mechanisms.

Dr. Sulik and Dr. Susan Rich co-produced the documentary, funded by the CDC, “Dispelling Myths about Alcohol Related Birth Defects”. Dr. Rich co-authored the action paper that persuaded the American Psychiatric Association to include ND-PAE in the DSM-IV TR and in the current edition DSM-5 it is more frequently referenced by medical professionals.

Full Text Available for download

The contributions of Dr. Kathleen K. Sulik to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders research and prevention

Delving into the History of FASD


Significance of Study of the History of FASD

For many years, it has been assumed that Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a “new” malady. 

Although the etiology of the disorder was first mentioned in 1968 paper by Dr. Paul Lemoine, it does not mean that the symptoms were not recognized years if not centuries before.  Although not each citation is a study in the earlier centuries, it is evident that these observations detected a connection between drinking alcohol and the unsuccessful outcomes for the resultant offspring by several observers.  As scientific procedures were applied in the 20th Century, notes and case studies seem to more clearly reflect an obvious pattern of behavior that might indicate that these modern researchers were observing children with prenatal alcohol exposure.  And if they wrote about these children/adults and included chapters on them, then there must have been enough cases appearing on a regular basis that they felt the behaviors and their observations were more than an errant anomaly.

There has often been a question as to the frequency of occurrence of FASD.

Many researchers ask,
“If maternal alcohol consumption is such a problem, why did we not hear about it before 1968?”

Modern estimates have ranged from 9.7 per 10,000 births to almost 1 per 100. The lower estimates do not reflect the occurrence of the non-physical forms of FAS [also called Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE), partial FAS (pFAS), Prenatal Effects of Alcohol (PEA), Alcohol Related Birth Defects (ARBD) and Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ARND)…all of which are now grouped under the term Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)], where only the brain is affected.  FASD without the physical signs (historically referred to as FAE, pFAS, PEA, ARBD, ARND) is thought to occur 3-5 times or more often than the full FAS which has both physical and behavioral manifestations.  Studies are seldom done on conditions that rarely occur.  Therefore, the existent studies and records of conditions that closely resemble FASD but not properly named could mean that unnamed FASD cases existed in enough numbers to be observed and scientifically recorded as far back as the 16th Century.

There are some important caveats to this study.  The researchers of this period were limited by the number of patients they could see and the limitation of correspondence and publications available during their lifetimes.  Note that the Gutenburg Press was first developed in 1450.  Prior to that time, books were copied by hand and there was not any widespread use because of the prohibitive cost and educational exclusivity.  Also, books printed for a few centuries after the invention of the movable press are considered to be rare and difficult to obtain until the general population gained the ability to read and write and generated a greater interest in printed books and articles.    

The words and phrases used in these studies are in the language of the period.  The labels and descriptive phrases do not necessarily have the same connotations then as they do now.  And the different combinations of the words often carry a much different meaning.   For example, having a neurosis is very different from having a neurotic character…the latter considered to be less definitive, more of a lifelong problem and less likely to have a program of treatment than an episodic condition that might be remedied.

It is also important to note that each of the researchers appears to have recognized a particular facet of FASD without recognizing there are other behaviors that may be attributed to the same cause.  This is due to the nature of FASD which follows a wide spectrum of physical and behavioral characteristics.

Finally, contrary to popular opinion, there are, in all probability, several hundred articles and books that have dealt with unrecognized FASD over the centuries. I am constantly finding new ones.  If I have left some out, it was because I have not yet found them.  This present set of information probably represents only 20% of my current file.

Items offset by a *** boundary are those articles that are considered to be pivotal in refuting the research that indicated that maternal drinking caused physical and mental problems in the offspring. I included them because they give an idea of when the researchers started to deny the connection between maternal drinking and fetal damage.   

Editions of the Merck Manual for physicians and medical personnel (1950-2005) have been added in order to demonstrate what is being taught in psychiatry and psychology classes.  This includes description of the conditions and the treatments and/or recommended therapies.

Notations on the printings of the Special Reports to Congress on Alcohol and Health (1978-2000) were added because of the extensive amount of current research that was presented in each report and because the bibliographies indicate the large number of researchers presently in the field.  It also marks the entrance of the federal government into the recognition of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Other notations on various landmark decisions, laws or studies on FAS were included to compare the action of the government and of the medical community.

Peggy Seo Oba has been a driving force to help parents and professionals connect the puzzle pieces of FASD by helping us connect the research studies. 

Peggy Oba’s work in The Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Information Network (FASIN) offers information regarding FASD in many cultures and languages. Hidden in documents – what we know today.

FAS in Antiquity

  • Biblical References.  Exodus, 20:5:  “…visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation…”  (Fathers, in this case, may be thought of as parents in general.) 
  • Judges, 13:3-5:  “…you shall conceive and bear a son…take no wine or strong drink and to eat nothing unclean…for this boy is to be consecrated to God from the womb.”  (Said to Samson’s mother and not to the Jewish community in general.)
  • 814-146 B.C.  Carthage (city-state) in Northeast Africa.   From “The Effects of Drinking on Offspring” by Rebecca Warner and Henry L. Rosett in Journal of Studies on Alcohol, (1975.  Warner and Rosett mention that the ancient civilization of Carthage (814-146 B.C.) forbid the use of alcohol for newlyweds.  Cited from Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholia (1621).  This information has also been variously cited  J.P. Frank in System einer vollstandingen medincinischen Polizei (1784) and by Haggard and Jellinek in Alcohol Explored (1944). 
  • 725-371 B.C.  Sparta (city-state) in Greece.    From “The Effects of Drinking on Offspring” by Rebecca Warner and Henry L. Rosett in Journal of Studies on Alcohol, (1975.  Warner and Rosett mention that the ancient civilization of Sparta (725-371 B.C.) forbid the use of alcohol for newlyweds.  This is cited from Robert Burton’s work, Anatomy of Melancholia (1621). 
  • Plutarche’s Life of Lycurgus, on Sparta, “In order to the good education of their youth, he went so far back as to take into consideration their very conception and birth by regulating the marriages.”  From an article in the British Medical Journal by Dr. John Haddon (1876).  [Plutarche also suggested that pregnant women exercise.]
  • 500 B.C.  Buddhism’s Five Precepts warn against strong drink.  From East Asia:  The Great Tradition by Edwin Reischauer.  (1958) Harvard:  Harvard University Press. 
  • 427-347 B.C.  Plato’s  Laws.  From “The Effects of Drinking on Offspring” by Rebecca Warner and Henry L. Rosett in Journal of Studies on Alcohol, (1975). 1397,  Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholia (1621) noted that Plato (427-347 B.C.) recommended that newly married couples forgo alcohol…”…that the child that is begotten may be sprung from the loins of sober parents.”  The last quote is from Ernest Abel in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effects (1984).
  • 322 B.C. Aristole’s Problemata.   From a journal study by A. Lynn Martin.  (2003) “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Europe, 1300-1700:  A Review of Data on Alcohol Consumption and a Hypothesis”. Food and Foodways.  Martin mentions the work of Robert Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholia (1621), in which he talks of ancient Greek authorities (Aristole in Problemata in 322, B.C.) who stated, ” Foolish, drunken or hair-brained women, for the most part bring forth children like unto themselves, morose and languid.”  
  • 120 A.D.  Plutarche in Symposiacs. From “The Effects of Drinking on Offspring” by Rebecca Warner and Henry L. Rosett in Journal of Studies on Alcohol, (1975),  Burton in Anatomy of Melancholia (1621) is also said to have quoted Plutarch (120 A.D.), “..one drunkard begets another…” 
  • 130-180 A.D.  Aulus Gellius (Roman).    From “The Effects of Drinking on Offspring” by Rebecca Warner and Henry L. Rosett in Journal of Studies on Alcohol, (1975),  Robert Burton reported Gellius (130-180 A.D.), a Roman diarist,  is cited as saying, “…if a drunken man get a child, it will never likely have a good brain.”  
  • 200-500 A.D. Babylonian Talmud, Kehuboth, 32b, warns, “One who drinks intoxicating liquor will have ungainly children.”  From Michael Dorris’ The Broken Cord (1989).

Of interest in history from China legend

The earliest alcohol makers in Chinese legend were Yi Di and Du Kang of the Xia Dynasty (about 2000 BC-1600 BC). Research shows that ordinary beer, with an alcoholic content of 4% to 5%, was widely consumed in ancient China and was even mentioned on oracle bone inscriptions as offerings to spirits during sacrifices in the Shang Dynasty (1600 BC–1046 BC). After that, Chinese discovered that adding more cooked grain in water during fermentation could increase the alcohol content, so stronger drinks began to appear. Around 1000 BC, the Chinese created an alcoholic beverage which was stronger than 11%. The potent libation was mentioned in poetry throughout the Zhou Dynasty (1050 BC–256 BC). Meanwhile, no beer in the West reached 11% until the 12th century, when distilled alcohol was first made in Italy. In Tang Dynasty, Alcohol was famous by Li Bai who is titled poem god. For Li Bai always has inspiration of poem when he drink wine . That’s why he is called poem god. (Source Top 10 Greatest Inventions of China)

We ask that if you have further information you may believe is a historic clue to FASD that you let us know so we may add it to this list. 

Thank you — Peggy Oba

Translation is a bridge to understanding

Red Shoes Rock honors the FASD pioneers –
Peggy Seo Oba – Thank you!

Peggy Seo Oba tenaciously has been a driving force to help parents and professionals connect the puzzle pieces of FASD by helping us connect the research studies. 

Peggy Oba’s work in The Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Information Network (FASIN) offers information regarding FASD in many cultures and languages. She has translated her work from English into the following languages:

Screenshot 2018-06-25 09.20.18

Peggy also translated understanding for dental professionals. 

In 1997, Peggy wrote “Dental Procedures and the Patient with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome” and it was published as a slightly abbreviated article in ACCESS: Journal of the American Dental Hygienists Association in May-June, 1997. Pages 60-64 under her maiden name of “Seo“.

We have included an excellent excerpt all of us can utilize for any medical or dental appointment: (1996)

  • One of the ways in which the patient with FAS makes sense of his world is to have a great deal of structure and routine in his environment. Unfortunately, dental visits are breaks in the normal routine and may be upsetting to the patient. In order to avoid the suddenness of a dental visit, take photos of the dental office and staff before hand to remind the patient of previous visits. Review the photographs each day for about two weeks prior to the appointment.
  • Make the appointment at the quietest time of the day or even after regular hours. On a practice visit, walk the patient through the procedures and use the exact treatment rooms and instruments that you intend to use. Patients with FAS are very literal and they will become confused if you use the term “like this” and then that instrument or procedure is not used. Show them the exact instruments and materials you will be using to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.
  • Review the medication history carefully. Many patients with FAS have extreme reactions to medications and it is best to consult with the parent and pediatrician when administering anesthetics.
  • Sensory integration dysfunction is a neurological condition that causes sights, sounds, and physical sensations to be over or under exaggerated. It is also not uniform in each individual; hypo and hyper sensitivities may exist in different areas on the same individual.
  • Visually, objects on the wall or hanging from the treatment lamp may be disturbing. Patterned curtains that sway near an air vent may be very distracting. Making the treatment room as plain and uncluttered as possible will help to prevent over excitement and over stimulation. Dark glasses will reduce the glare from overhead lights.
  • Patients with FAS may experience more “loud” sounds than the average person. The sound of the hand piece may seem extremely loud to them. Music headphones can be a great help. Warn patients of noise and new phases of the procedure will reduce tension. Speak directly to a patient with FAS. They are very visual and often cannot understand if you turn away when you speak. Hand gestures, signing, and visual aids will help them to understand you more clearly.
  • Patients with FAS often need to “unwind” or calm themselves down before treatment begins. This may include walking around the room or fidgeting with their hands. You may want to give them a rubber ball to squeeze. One calming aid is the lead apron used during dental x-rays. The weight of the lead apron is very comforting to the patient and it may be useful to let them wear it throughout the treatment.

In addition, Peggy Seo Oba’s extensive study of the history of FASD. From antiquity to present times, alcohol consumption during pregnancy has been known to affect the baby helps us understand where we have been and perhaps better answer the following questions.

Why has it only been relatively recently that it has been given a name?

And why did it take so many years to even decide on an accepted name?

Why do we still argue about diagnosis strategies?

Let’s take a look at the past study by Peggy Oba


Journey Through the Healing Circle

Red Shoes Rock honors the FASD pioneer – Dr. Robin LaDue – Thank you!

Dr. LaDue’s work opens understanding and created healing.

The award-winning author of the Journey through the Healing Circle books and video, Dr. LaDue has lectured worldwide on the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and historical trauma in Native American communities, as well as the treatment for and consequences of psychological trauma, including traditional Native methods of treatment.

Dr. LaDue and Mary Kay Voss’s latest book, Totems of September is available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble,. It may be purchased in paperback, as well as in eBook editions for Kobo, Kindle and Nook.

Dr. Robin LaDue is a retired clinical psychologist formerly in private practice in Washington State. Robin’s grandfather and great-uncles were survivors of the Cushman Boarding School, having been removed from their parents and experienced the horrors of having their hair cut, not being able to speak their language, and losing their culture. This heritage, along with Dr. LaDue’s passion for helping Native women raise healthy babies and addressing the problems of oppression and loss in Native communities, were driving forces in her personal and professional life.

“Dr. LaDue taught us through her writing and teaching a lot of the foundation of how we think about the learning and behavior differences of individuals with FASD. I have learned a lot from her. She is a brilliant, brave, and ethical woman,”
Deb Evensen

“Journey Through the Healing Circle”

This educational series helps parents and children work with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.


Written by Dr. Robin LaDue and Carolyn Hartness (both Native American professionals in the field of fetal alcohol services) and illustrated by Raoul Imbert, these stories present frank, honest information in a way that children and adults find inviting and even entertaining.

Produced by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services the series attracted national and international attention, receiving and being nominated for several awards as an outstanding educational video

“Journey Through the Healing Circle” is a series of videotapes, video CDs, and professionally illustrated workbooks.

The series is narrated by Native American Storyteller Floyd Red Crow Westerman, who uses animal stories to talk about children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and the problems families face with these effects.

Each character dramatizes the challenges FAS and related conditions present at different stages of life.

Through a storyteller, the series offers frank and honest information in a non-judgmental way. It provides insight and guidance into some of the most challenging manifestations of the brain and metabolic difference for families in all walks of life.

Floyd Red Crow Westerman is well known for his acting role in “Dances with Wolves. In the videos he begins the stories with, “We have gathered here with Grandfather, our Creator, the ones who fly, the ones who crawl, the ones who swim, the ones who walk on four legs, and those beautiful spirits…those who have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol-Related Conditions…who have come to earth as volunteers to teach us what we need to know to heal in our communities”.

The stories tell about a fox named Stays in the Moment, orphaned raccoon twins named Best Day Ever and Little Mask, a teenage bear named Sees no Danger, and a grown-up puffin named Travels in Circles.

This incredible resource by Robin LaDue is available for download
There is SO MUCH more work Dr. LaDue has contributed and we thank her.

A Practice of Native American
Available on Amazon.com or may be downloaded.

A Practical Native American Guide for Professionals Working with Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
This manual provides an overview of FAS and FASD and attendant culturally appropriate guidelines for professionals working with individuals with an FASD. It is organized by specific domains in chronological order that are addressed by professionals. This work was supported by an IHS grant and administered through the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board.

  1. Table of Contents: PDF
  2. Contents: PDF

Robin A. LaDue, Ph.D. Published: 2000, Rockville, MD, Indian Health Service

Published work:

  • FASD TRAINING MANUAL available for download at Teresa Kellerman’s website
  • LaDue, R. (1993). Psychosocial Needs Associated with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Practical Guidelines for Parents and Caretakers. (Tech. Rep. No. 93-07). Seattle: University of Washington, Fetal Alcohol & Drug Unit.
  • LaDue, Robin A. and Tom Dunne Spring 1996. Issues in the Legal Realm, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the Decision to Decline or Retain The Fen Pen
  • LaDue, Robin A. and Tom Dunne Fall 1996. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Implications for Sentencing in the Criminal Justice System The Fen Pen
  • LaDue, Robin A. and Tom Dunne Winter 1996. Capacity Concerns and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome The Fen Pen
  • LaDue, Robin A. and Tom Dunne Spring 1997 Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Implications for Sentencing in the Criminal Justice System The Fen Pen
  • LaDue, R.1999 A Practical Native American Guide for Caregivers of Children, Adolescents and Adults With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Alcohol Related  Conditions Washington DC: Indian Health Service. Order from BC Aboriginal Network on Disability Society
  • LaDue, Robin 2000. FAS in the Criminal Justice System FEN Conference in Madison, Wisconsin http://www.comeover.to/FAS/Court/LaDue.doc


Each starfish matters to Dr. Jones

Red Shoes Rock honors FASD pioneer
Dr. Kenneth Lyons Jones – Thank you!

Dr. Kenneth Lyons Jones was one of two doctors at the University of Washington who first identified FAS in the United States in 1973.

He is a pediatrician by training, specializing in the identification and treatment of birth defects. He is actively involved in research, teaching, clinical work, and University and public service. He is considered the leading expert of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS).

Institute for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Discovery (IFASDD)

A Program Integrating Research, Education & Screening ServicesScreening servicesThe Center for Better Beginnings is home to an integrative program to provide education, screening, and research on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), and to provide support to families affected by these conditions.Led by Dr. Kenneth Lyons Jones, the physician who co-identified fetal alcohol syndrome in 1973, and Program Coordinator Diana Simmes, our Institute for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Discovery (IFASDD) is the nation’s leading epicenter for work to prevent alcohol-exposed pregnancies and to assist those who are affected. As a multidisciplinary center, IFASSD brings together medical physicians, researchers, parent advocates and educators as a think-tank for this under-recognized disorder.

Learn more about support groups and SoCal NOFAS.

IFASDD works closely with the Southern California affiliate of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (SoCal NOFAS) to provide support and services to families who have loved ones affected by a FASD. Parent-caregiver support groups can give families an opportunity to form alliances and learn about others’ experiences with the spectrum of an FASD diagnosis.

From those initial children with FAS came a lifetime of commitment to research and knowledge.

Dr. Jones’ research has focused on the evaluation and diagnosis of birth defects, identifying the mechanisms of normal and abnormal fetal development, and the recognition of new environmental agents that cause birth defects. His work on the recognition of new human teratogens is primarily focused through MotherToBaby California, a counseling and research program funded in part by the State of California and monies received from the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) as part of a cooperative agreement with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Over the past 40 years Dr. Jones has continued to make significant contributions to our understanding of the prenatal effects of alcohol, most recently as the head of the Dysmorphology Core of the large NIAAA consortium studying this disorder. 

His research has focused on the clinical delineation of birth defects, mechanisms of normal and abnormal morphogenesis and the recognition of new human teratogens.

Smith-PatternsDr. Jones has authored over 400 publications in scientific journals as well as several books, and is the author of Smith’s Recognizable Patterns of Human Malformation which is now in its 7th edition. Smith’s Recognizable Patterns of Human Malformation has long been known as the source to consult on multiple malformation syndromes of environmental and genetic etiology as well as recognizable disorders of unknown cause. This esteemed medical reference book provides you with complete and authoritative, yet accessible guidance to help accurately diagnose these human disorders, establish prognoses, and provide appropriate management and genetic counseling.

Currently Dr. Lyons is the Chief of the Division of Dysmorphology & Teratology at the Department of Pediatrics at UCSD, Medical Director of the MotherToBaby California Pregnancy Health Information Line, and co-Director of the Center for Better Beginnings.


The Center for Better Beginnings works to improve the health of moms and babies.

Birth defects affect 1 in 33 babies.

While not all birth defects can be prevented, many can. UC San Diego’s Center for Better Beginnings works to identify, prevent and treat birth defects that are caused by environmental factors. Since these harmful exposures occur outside of our genetics, we strive to reduce the risks of birth defects with the goal of eliminating them from our lives.

Join the Red Shoes Rock Movement – Embrace Our Truth
Each one can reach one.


Visit us at www.embracedmovement.orgto learn more about the 90-minute documentary. Join us is sharing the Red Shoes Rock FASD Aware information at www.facebook.com/RedShoesRock/

FASD Rock Star

Red Shoes Rock honors the FASD pioneer – Dr. Pi Nian Chang – Thank you!

PinianChange1On November 29, 2010–They just wanted to see him.
Say hello. Shake his hand.
Say Thank you to a dear friend retiring.

Hundreds, if not thousands of families in Minnesota arrived at the University of Minnesota’s FASD Diagnostic Clinic, greeted by a humble and kind, Dr. Pi-Nian Chang.

To these families, he remains the “rock star of FASD”. They trust him. They value his opinion. And they know that even though he was a very busy man, he always took time to listen, look them in the eyes and show that he personally cared and respected each one of his patients and families that he has helped get a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnosis.

Since 1978, when Dr. Chang co-founded the University of Minnesota’s Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Clinic, Dr. Pi-Nian Chang has been the voice for the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder field.

The University of Minnesota’s Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Clinic has served as a focal point for clinical, research and education activities related to FASD. The professional impact Dr. Chang made in this field throughout Minnesota as well as on a national and international level is second to none. The list of all of Dr. Chang’s professional publications, awards, appointments, and positions are unending.

“It was his personal impact on each family. You knew you mattered. You knew someone understood and a professional cared. I as a parent, knew that Dr. Chang did his best. Most importantly, my daughter respected and trusted him. That is significant,” shared Jodee Kulp

Dr. Chang opened parents and professional eyes to see the gifts of people living with FASD. Dr. Chang opened our hearts to embrace the challenges and enjoy the joys of living with FASD.

At his retirement in 2010, Dr. Chang passed the baton  to two very capable, creative and strong leaders in their own right, Dr. Jeff Wozniak and Dr. Chris Boys. Dr. Wozniak and Dr. Boys will take over as CoDirectors of the University of Minnesota FASD Diagnostic Clinic to continue the strong leadership from the University of Minnesota. They are the new Ying-Yang of the FASD community and complement each other very well.

Jeff and Chris have filled one big shoe, each well. Both were trained under Dr. Chang. Instead of being intimidated or overwhelmed, they remain humbled, excited and energized to begin a new direction, taking all that they have learned from the FASD master and seeing what their own legacy might be in 30 years.

The University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital physicians work together with the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to help children prenatally exposed to alcohol. 

“Our goal is to build research into everything we do clinically,” says Jeff. “That way, we can measure the impact of what we are doing. Ideally, that will mean moving more toward intervention, whereas our focus to date has been on assessment.”

They are quick to point out, “We can do some of these things because the FASD community is organized in Minnesota thanks to organizations like the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and because the resources at the U of M are unique”.

It took a judge’s eye (and heart).

Red Shoes Rock honors the FASD pioneer –
Juvenile Judge Hon. Susan Carlson – Thank you!

Susan Shepard Carlson is founder of the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a retired Hennepin County judicial officer and former first lady of Minnesota.


Screenshot 2018-06-16 08.41.01Twenty years ago, the Hon. Susan Carlson, JD had a big idea: to create an organization that would become a hub of hope for people living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

She also had a dream of creating a world where women do not drink while they are pregnant. Over the past two decades much has been accomplished. Far more people are aware of FASD, the challenges faced by people who have this disability, and the vital information that there is no safe level of alcohol during pregnancy.

She is the former First Lady of Minnesota (1990-1998) and wife of Governor Arne Carlson. She is a confident presence in Minnesota, the nation and the international FASD community. She is a friend to many.

A lot has happened in Minnesota since 1997.

Hon. Susan Carlson, JD experiences in juvenile court led to Minnesota’s efforts in combating the harmful effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. She had consistently seen similar behaviors, looks and sizes of young people in juvenile courts that continued to present challenges in the judicial process—from questioning, through arrests, during hearings, sentencing, and detention/confinement.

Something was affecting these individuals compentency and/or culpability.

What was it? Did we need new measures to reduce chance of recidivism? Could we stop future criminal behavior?

The answers to her questions all pointed to one common thread — prenatal alcohol exposure. She had judged the cost. This was REAL! She had been witness to results—and repeated results—repeated again. Something had to be done!

Carlson launched an initiative to promote education and prevention about FASD in 1997 and she co-chaired the Minnesota Governor’s Taskforce on FAS, resulting in almost $7 million annual funding for FASD prevention and intervention services. Susan is now retired as a juvenile district court referee.

Rolling up her sleeves to make a difference she founded the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Since 1998, MOFAS has been the hub of hope for families affected by FASD, guiding and supporting families through the FASD journey. MOFAS is the first affiliate (charter member) of NOFAS (National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome).


20-YEARS“The first Minnesota bell concordance and FASDay was celebrated at the Federal Courthouse steps in Minneapolis on September 9, 1999 at 9:09 am. I was proud to step out with the former First Lady and share our family’s truth of living with fetal alcohol and how it affects our citizens. My daughter, Liz Kulp, joined us in that speech. It was her first step forward in advocating for herself with respect for her disability. Thank you, Susan for that opportunity,” shared Jodee Kulp

Susan trains and speaks around the country on FASD and its social implications. She is the author of “Tools for Success,” a training guide for juvenile justice professionals.

“In my 20 years of involvement in this issue, I have never heard a mother say that she intentionally drank alcohol to harm her child,” shares Susan.

A goal for Susan and MoFAS is eliminating disability caused by alcohol consumption

MOFAS zeros in on a strategy to prevent prenatal alcohol exposure in complex cases. Although the science is clear that there is no known safe level of alcohol during pregnancy, many people need more than this knowledge to have an alcohol-free pregnancy.

A 2017 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found Minnesota women to have the fourth-highest level of binge drinking in the U.S. at 22.6 percent.

MOFAS-logo-normal-colors-transparent-bg-white-circleThe prevalence study confirmed that binge drinking is driving up the numbers of children with FASD. Particularly alarming is that Minnesota ranks higher in binge and excessive drinking than do the states in this study.

MOFAS advocates for a program called Family-Centered Long-Term Recovery Supports, which addresses root problems for women with a history of substance use disorders who are pregnant or parenting young children. The program works by connecting participants to existing community resources at a cost of only $705 per family per year. Only four of 298 participants birthed babies with prenatal substance exposure over a period of 3.5 years.

“FASD has been around as long as humans and alcohol have co-existed, yet prenatal alcohol exposure continues,” says MOFAS Executive Director Sara Messelt. “But we know what works and have an ambitious goal to prevent FASD entirely in Minnesota in the next twenty years.”

Increase Diagnostic Centers

Minnesota has fewer than 1,000 FASD diagnostic appointments a year, whereas 7,000 babies with prenatal alcohol exposure are born in Minnesota annually. An accurate diagnosis can help someone with an FASD reach their full potential, paving the way to needed services and supports, stronger treatment plans, greater understanding and acceptance, more realistic expectations, and better quality of life.

After advocating for greater diagnostic capacity with unsatisfactory results, MOFAS opened its own clinic—the second-largest in the state—in 2012. The clinic both alleviates some of the diagnostic capacity shortage and in its first year the clinic assessed 11 patients, and in 2017 it assessed 112 patients.

Provides a legislative voice

Since 2008 MOFAS has organized FASD Day at the Capitol and brought in state-wide advocates. In 2018, 183 advocates attended and met with 68 legislators. Examples of legislation MOFAS has been instrumental in passing include:

  • Adding FASD as a “related condition” within the definition of “disability”
  • Securing a funding for the Family-Centered Long-Term Recovery Supports program
  • Appropriating funding from the Minnesota Department of Health to carry out MOFAS mission
  • Requiring paraprofessionals working with students on the spectrum to receive training on FASD
  • Requiring foster parents to receive one hour of training in their first year of licensure

Increase knowledge for professionals, families, and individuals with FASD with training and education

MOFAS trained over 6,500 people last year—or 600% more than in 2005, the last year for which the organization has complete records. They host a fall conference and provide caregiver support groups throughout the state of Minnesota.

“When educators, therapists, and other professionals are having a hard time working with someone and have no idea why, sometimes it’s because the person has an unidentified FASD, or because the professional doesn’t understand the person’s disability,” says Messelt. “Learning about FASD and gaining some strategies can make all the difference toward outcomes like helping a student truly have access to education and helping a client benefit from treatment.”

MOFAS reaches out to families

MOFAS guides and supports families, caregivers, and individuals through the FASD journey by helping them find answers and resolve problems, navigate complex systems, and connect with others who are walking the same path.
MOFAS creates public awareness
For more information about MOFAS visit www.mofas.org
The mission of MOFAS is to eliminate disability caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy and to improve the quality of life for those living with FASD.
FASD Guide Cover_1
FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDERS: IMPLICATIONS FOR JUVENILE AND FAMILY COURT JUDGES – Steps taken by the Canadian and American Bar Associations point to the path ahead for all legal professionals –to increase our knowledge of and response to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

FETAL ALCOHOL SPECTRUM DISORDERS – What you need to know to help your clients — Presented by the American Bar Association Section of Litigation and the ABA Center for Continuing Education. Melodee Hanes, Acting Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice  and Delinquency Prevention, Washington, D.C. Dr. Pi Nan Chang, Founder Director Emeritus of Pediatric Psychology, Department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. Kathy Mitchell, Vice President, National Organization for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Washington, DC Billy Edwards, Los Angeles County Deputy Public Defender, Los Angeles, CA Anthony P. Wartnik, Judge (Retired), APW Consultants/Legal Director of FASD Experts, Mercer Island, WA

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