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    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Clinic

    The FASD Diagnostic Clinic services children and youth in Northeastern Ontario between the ages of 6-17, as part of the FASD North Eastern Aboriginal Partnership (NEAP) Project.

    The FASD NEAP Project is made up of five partner organizations:

    • Health Sciences North
    • N’Mninoeyaa Aboriginal Health Access Center (AHAC)
    • Noojmowin Teg Health Centre
    • Shkagamik-Kwe Health Centre
    • Union Of Ontario Indians

    The two main goals of the project are:

    FASD Education/Curriculum

    • Develop and deliver an FASD curriculum
    • Promote FASD resources and material within the catchment area
    • Support students attending the FASD Certificate Program through sponsorship and advocacy
    • Evaluate the FASD Certificate Program

    FASD Support

    • Provide support to the Health Sciences North FASD Diagnostic Clinic and advocate for the families attending the clinic
    • Regional, provincial and national FASD networking

    What is FASD?

    Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a group of effects that can occur when a mother drinks alcohol while she is pregnant.  Drinking during pregnancy can cause permanent damage to different parts of a baby’s brain.  Alcohol can affect the development of an unborn baby as early as the first week of pregnancy.

    In Canada, it is estimated that FASD occurs in approximately 1/100 people. However, FASD is believed to be more common in native populations with a rate of approximately 1/5.

    FASD is a difficult condition to diagnose and often goes underreported for a variety of reasons including:

    • diagnostic clinics are not available in many regions in Canada
    • many families are not interested in accessing services in fear of stigmatization
    • the diagnostic process can be complex and requires specific information, such as confirmation of prenatal alcohol exposure, which is not always available

    Although an individual would have FASD at birth, children are rarely diagnosed in infancy.  FASD is often detected later in life when symptoms such as learning disabilities and behaviour challenges begin to emerge.

    Why get tested?

    Some people have no visible signs when they have FASD, so their difficulties or problems could be blamed on other things.  There is no known cure or treatment for FASD, but early diagnosis can:

    • help someone receive appropriate services and programs
    • help with communication between clinicians, caregivers, family members and teachers
    • help with self-awareness and understanding

    Referrals

    Referrals can be made from all sources, including self-referrals, caregivers, social service organizations and health care practitioners.

    Knowledge of the birth mother’s drinking during pregnancy is the usual starting point.  This can be very difficult to determine when there is no history, especially if the mother is deceased or the child is adopted.

    Click HERE to fill out a referral form.

    Once we receive your referral, a Social Worker will call you to complete an intake assessment.  The Social Worker will schedule you for the diagnostic clinic and guide and support you throughout the diagnostic process.

    What to Expect

    Your diagnostic clinic appointments will take place over three (3) days.  You will also be asked to show your health card at every visit.

    During this time, you will meet with each member of our team, including:

    • Social Worker
    • Nurse Practitioner
    • Psychologist
    • Occupational Therapist (and possibly a Physiotherapist if required)
    • Speech and Language Pathologist

    Note:  If you require a translator or traditional healing, please let the Social Worker know at least two (2) weeks before your appointment.

    Meet the Team

    The Social Worker will meet with you and your child to discuss the process and discuss any concerns you may have.

    The Nurse Practitioner will ask you questions about your child's medical history, growth and development, and complete a full physical examination.  This will include taking photographs and measurements of your child’s eyes, upper lip and the area between the upper lip and nose (the palpebral fissure).  Please ensure that your child is not wearing any eye makeup and that his/her upper lip is completely visible.

    The Psychologist will be working directly with you and your child to assess many different areas of your child’s functioning including:

    • memory and learning
    • intelligence
    • attention
    • problem solving skills
    • academic achievement
    • social function
    • behavioural function
    • emotional function

    Children usually find most of the tests interesting and fun!  You will be asked to complete several questionnaires that ask about different areas of your child’s functioning.

    The Occupational Therapist (OT) will work with you to assess your child’s coordination, play skills, fine motor skills (colouring, printing and cutting) and self-help skills (feeding, toileting, dressing) through observation and questionnaires in a relaxed, play environment.

    The Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) will work with you to assess your child’s communication (listening and speaking) skills through observation and questionnaires in a relaxed, play environment.

    What happens after diagnosis?

    Shortly after you complete the clinic, the team will meet to discuss the outcome of your child’s assessments and determine a diagnosis (if any).

    A date will be scheduled for you to meet with members of the team to discuss the outcome of the assessments, provide recommendations and help you find services in your community.

    Contact Information

     

    Kelly Oreskovich
    Social Worker
    705-523-7120 ext. 1073

    For more information on the FASD Clinic, please email neokidsinfo@hsnsudbury.ca

    For information on the status of your referral, contact neokidsacu@hsnsudbury.ca.