February 2017

FASD Conference Follow-up

The Advocacy Center and LSUHSC- Human Development Center co-hosted a conference on Advocating for Individuals (and their Families) Living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) at the Human Development Center on Friday February 3rd. Workshop topics included diagnosis and treatment; early childhood and special education; juvenile and adult criminal justice; strategies and intervention; and advocacy.

FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual who is prenatally exposed to alcohol. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. Research among grad school populations in four U.S. Cities estimates that as many as 2 to 4 percent of school age children are affected by prenatal alcohol exposure.

As part of the Early Childhood Education Strand, HDC’s own Ashley Steele and Douglas LeBlanc presented on the developmental stages of infants and how FASD affects the achievement of these milestones. They also discussed the importance of recognizing developmental delays and accommodating children with disabilities. Also, HDC’s Sonya Heisser provided useful information regarding the transition process of children with disabilities with regard to special education and related services under IDEA Part C early intervention into IDEA Part B special education preschool services.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Larry Burd the director of the North Dakota Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Center. The title of his talk was: What’s New and What You Should Do regarding FASD.

Other presentations included:

  • Stamping Out Stigma: Establishing the Maternal Alcohol History of the Birth Mother through Interviews and Investigation  with William J. Edwards, Deputy Public Defender in Los Angeles County and Rebecca Kendig, PhD of New Orleans
  • Special Education and FASD with Debra Weinberg from the Advocacy Center of Louisiana and Diane Smith Howard from the National Disability Rights Network in Washington D.C.
  • Panel Discussion on Criminal Justice Issues involving Individuals with FASD
  • Identifying the Red Flags for Neurocognitive and Neurobehavioral Impairments in Children with FASD in the Juvenile Justice System with Professor David Katner, The Honorable Mark Doherty, Dr. Larry Burd, and Professor James E. Duggan

Links to Conference Materials including PowerPoints and videos of the presentations can be found in this document. Additional conference resources available at the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome website: https://www.nofas.org/conference-resources