Alcohol is the most notable risk factor to fetal development that a pregnant mother can affect herself. Of all drugs, alcohol causes the highest number of fetal disorders.
Drinking during pregnancy is presently one of the major causes of intellectual disability in Western countries. It is also the only one that causes defects that could be fully prevented – by complete sobriety during pregnancy.
Drinking causes developmental risks to thousands of fetuses every year. Every year 600-3000 children are born in Finland with an alcohol-related defect of some kind. The most severely disabled of them are children with intellectual/developmental disabilities.
- We provide guidance in questions related to FASD.
- We organize training for instructors of peer groups for young people with FASD.
- We maintain the national FASD Suomi network for professionals working with FASD throughout Finland. The network welcomes young people with FASD, their families and close ones and professionals in the field of social welfare and health.
- We have developed a FASD mentor model. In it we bring together FASD mentors and families where children or young people with FASD are placed. We also aim to offer the foster parents and family care providers possibilities of support.
- We produce information and materials on FASD.
FASD training program
The training program offers foster parents and professionals who encounter FASD in their work and lives updated information and support for interacting with persons with FASD and planning personalized support for them. The program consists of six modules of which people can select a training entity that suits them the best:
- FASD in a nutshell
- Bringing up the issue (with the biological mother during pregnancy, with a young person with FASD)
- Key issues regarding learning, growth and development
- Raising a person with FASD
- Planning support and services
- Diagnosing a person with FASD
What do we want to achieve?
- The understanding of young people with FASD regarding their own situation and FASD will increase. They will also gain knowledge of relevant forms of support and services.
- Young people with FASD will meet peers and make friends with new people.
- Professionals, family care providers and foster parents will gain increased knowledge of FASD and the relevant forms of support and services.
- Young people with FASD, foster parents and family care providers will receive peer support to help them cope with daily life and support with living with FASD.
- Professionals working with FASD will be able to develop their competencies and work practices with regard to FASD.
- FASD will become more familiar as a phenomenon and knowledge about the factors connected to it will increase.
FAIDD has established a national FASD network (FASD Suomi). The aim of the network is to
- strengthen FASD expertise
- disseminate information on fetal alcohol exposure and its effects
- develop the needed support and rehabilitation services
- improve the status of children, young people and adults with FASD in society.
Goals of the network
- Measures are taken to effectively prevent FASD. Awareness of the risks of drinking during pregnancy grows.
- FASD is recognized as part of the spectrum of neurocognitive disorders.
- FASD is effectively identified and also diagnosed.
- The special support needs of persons with FASD are taken into consideration in the service system.
- Parents, foster parents, friends and carers receive sufficient support.
- Professionals and organizations working with FASD are supported in developing their skills and work practices.
- FASD is included as a theme in the employee training programs in different fields.
- Social and alcohol policies pay increased attention to evidence-based data on the effects of alcohol on fetal development.
A brochure on the dangers of drinking during pregnancy
The wheel-shaped brochure (Stay Sober While Pregnant), also available in English, describes how alcohol affects the fetus at different stages of pregnancy. It also presents in brief the diagnoses of fetal injuries caused by drinking during pregnancy.
The brochure can be ordered at postage cost. Inquiries: Mirka Oksanen, mirka.oksanen (at) kvl.fi.