September 20th is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day in Toronto

Ryerson University to host "Pregnant Pause"

TORONTO, Sept. 20, 2012 /CNW/ - Men and women of all ages will be showing their "baby bumps" for the annual Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Day "Pregnant Pause" this year being held on the campus of Ryerson University in downtown Toronto.

This annual event put on by the Toronto FASD Coordinating Network is a reminder to everyone that during the nine months of pregnancy, women should abstain from alcohol.

"There is no safe time and no safe amount of alcohol in pregnancy. The message is clear today - alcohol and pregnancy do not mix," said Dr. David McKeown, the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto.

FASD is an umbrella term used to describe the range of physical, cognitive, learning and behavioural impairments that can occur in individuals whose mothers consumed alcohol during pregnancy.  According to Health Canada, FASD is the most common developmental disability, occurring in about one of every 100 births. In Canada, the economic impact is estimated to be $5.3 billion annually for special education, mental health, social services, addictions and the justice system.  Research indicates that school age children with FASD under perform as compared to their non FASD peers. Early diagnosis and access to appropriate intervention tends to reduce mental health and addiction problems, family breakdown, conflicts with the law, homelessness and unemployment, all of which are common in adolescents and adults with FASD.

"Our school system is not prepared to deal with the number of children who struggle with FASD -- they need dedicated classrooms",  said FASworld Toronto President, Gal Koren.

To reduce the rate of FASD, it is essential that pregnant women are provided with information and support in an effort to increase their awareness of the harmful effects of using alcohol during pregnancy. The Toronto FASD Coordinating Network is made up of representatives from Toronto Public Health, Bridgeway Family Homes, Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Jean Tweed Centre, Children's Aid Society of Toronto, Hospital for Sick Children, Child Development Institute, Toronto Children's Services and FASworld Canada.

More information about the most common, most expensive, yet most preventable disability in the industrialized world is available at http://fasday.com.

SOURCE: Children's Aid Society of Toronto

For further information:

Rob Thompson, Director, Communications
Children's Aid Society of Toronto: 416-924-4640
rthompson@torontocas.ca


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