Virtual: The Invisible Disability: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

Sponsor: New Hampshire Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor Association

PRESENTATION: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is an organic, permanent, brain-based disability resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure.  FASD often goes undiagnosed and can have lifelong implications which may manifest in a range of difficulties to include adaptive behavior, attention, cognition, executive functioning, and memory.  FASD is often broken down into primary and secondary disabilities.  Damage done to the brain due to prenatal alcohol exposure is considered a primary disability and may include trouble with abstract reasoning, organization, planning, recalling a sequence of events or connecting cause and effect relationships. Secondary disabilities are those not present at birth, but occur later in life and include disrupted school experience, substance misuse, mental health problems and involvement with law enforcement.

FASD is known as the “invisible disability” as over 80% of individuals with an FASD have no discernible facial abnormalities. Lack of outward signs cause behaviors to be misinterpreted and individuals may be seen as noncompliant, lazy, or manipulative. Studies have shown that 1 in 20 children may be affected by prenatal alcohol exposure. As a result of this training participants will be able to: 

  • Define the terms used to describe the conditions that fall under the umbrella of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), and the areas of the brain affected by prenatal alcohol exposure;
  • Characteristics of individuals throughout the lifespan with an FASD and the domains in which children and adults with an FASD struggle with behavior and developmental tasks; and
  • Strategies and tools to working with clients and becoming FASD informed.

PRESENTERSDr. Ewing is a longstanding member of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS NH), having served as Board Chair in the past and has remained active in the organization for over a decade. After retiring from her practice in general Obstetrics and Gynecology she became an advocate for improvement of services for women with substance misuse during pregnancy. Dr. Ewing is one of the Founding Members of the Perinatal Substance Exposure Task Force, an adjunct to the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Prevention, Treatment, and Recovery. Dr. Ewing spent several years working directly with pregnant and newly parenting women with opioid use disorders. Over the years she has become acutely aware of the needs and concerns of children who have been exposed to certain substances during their development and the particularly high risk for those individuals to repeat the cycle. Dr. Ewing lives with her husband in Hopkinton, NH and she enjoys sewing, hiking, biking, and spending time with family and friends.

Louise Brassard is a passionate advocate on behalf of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) community. As Chair of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS NH), she works to raise awareness and educate community partners and parents on the lifelong effects of FASD. For over ten years, Louise has served as a Guardian ad Litem and Educational Surrogate for abused and neglected children, many prenatally exposed to alcohol and drugs. Louise serves as an advisory member for the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) FASD Special Interest Group and is a member of the Governor’s Taskforce for Perinatal Substance Exposure. She works as a Family Support Specialist for The Upper Room, a family resource center. Louise holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services and completed a Fellowship in Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at UNH which focused on interdisciplinary training for leaders in the field of child health. In her spare time Louise enjoys hiking and biking and spending time with her husband, children and grandchildren.

Terri Clyde is a dedicated advocate and mom to five children ranging in age from 41 to 17. Her youngest child is her grandson who she and her husband adopted at age four and has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) along with other mental health disorders. Terri serves on the boards of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Organization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS NH), NAMI-NH Granite Oversight Board, and the New Hampshire Mental Health Policy and Advisory Council. She has been a keynote speaker and presented workshops for New Hampshire Children’s Trust and was one of the first to receive their Unsung Hero award. Terri’s life experience in raising a child with FASD, ignited a fierce passion in educating medical and mental health providers, teachers, and counselors on the lifelong cognitive and behavioral effects of FASD and its effects on individuals and families. Terri is passionate about advocating on behalf of the need for consistent, affordable, and available care for all. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and an Associate degree in Medical Assistant. In her spare time, Terri enjoys spending time with family, friends, and reading.

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Event Details

August 25, 2021
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
*NBCC add $5