Giving Up Alcohol and Living with FASD

Whether you are looking for resources to help a pregnant woman stop her use of alcohol, evaluation for a person exposed prenatally to alcohol, support for a person living with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, or assistance with providing education to others on the topic, we might be able to help.

Resources to stop drinking:

Women drink during their pregnancy for a variety of reason. They may not know they are pregnant. They may not understand the dangers of alcohol. Or, they may not be able to stop drinking.  As of 2005 the Surgeon General of the United States reports NO amount of alcohol is safe to use during pregnancy.  It is very important that women who are pregnant or who might become pregnant stop using alcohol immediately.  To find tips and resources to stop drinking, please click the tab below.

Help to Stop Drinking

Giving up alcohol might be difficult, but help is out there. 

When alcohol has been used during a pregnancy, the woman should immediately stop drinking and talk to her doctor.  Every time she exposes her pregnancy to alcohol, there is an increase risk of damage.  Regardless of how far along the pregnancy, the best choice is always to stop drinking.

A woman may feel pressured to drink while pregnant. She might find giving up alcohol easier to do by avoiding the people and places that make her want to drink. Or, she can substitute an alcohol-free “mocktail” for a traditional cocktail –  an on-line search will provide numerous tasty options.  The woman’s partner, friends and family should support her desire for a healthy pregnancy. A pregnant woman who feels comfortable explaining her decision not to drink for the health of her baby sets a great example for others!

Some women may find they have trouble giving up alcohol. She may have an addiction.  People who are addicted to alcohol need professional assistance to stop using. For a woman who is pregnant, seeking this assistance becomes imperative. The sooner the woman stops drinking during the pregnancy, the better. But, it is never too late to stop!

A personal physician can provide referrals for treatment. If you need help finding treatment centers, please consult this interactive map to find services in your immediate area.  You can also consult Alcoholic Anonymous’ website to find meetings in your area by clicking here. 

For additional help in Missouri, please click here.

Obtaining an evaluation for a possible diagnosis:

Seeking a diagnosis of a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder can be a complex process.  A good starting point is the person’s primary care physician or the child’s pediatrician.  This health care professional may have referrals for specially trained professionals or groups in the area in which the person lives.  For more information on obtaining an evaluation or pursuing a diagnosis, please click the tab below.

Evaluation / Diagnosis

There are benefits to seeking a diagnosis of a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, but the process might be challenging. 

Families and caregivers are encouraged to review information pertaining to evaluation and diagnosis.  Three reliable sources for this information include (please click on the name of the resource to open the link).  This list is not intended to be all inclusive, but rather guide the user to additional information:

To find providers with training in diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, please click on the links below:

Help for families, educators and caregivers of those living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder:

People with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) may have neurological damage. Changes in the brain caused by the prenatal alcohol exposure can be subtle to severe. There may be no physical signs making the disorder impossible to see!  People with FASDs may have difficulties processing information, with memory, focusing attention, impulsivity, etc. These issues can make living with FASD confusing and complicated not only for the person affected, but also for their family members, caregivers, and educators.  To gain a better understanding, please click the tab below.

Help for Families, Educators and Other Caregivers

When a person is living with a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), help may be needed not only for the person affected, but also for their family members, educators and other caregivers. 

EDUCATION / TIPS:

Many on-line resources are available that provide education about FASD and tips on supporting people living with FASD.  Here are just a few:

  • The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome makes available a variety of free fact sheets to help caregivers and community members, including this helpful one on Intervention.  A complete list of fact sheets can be found by clicking here.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention includes information on Treatments for people with FASD on their website.  Please click here to visit that specific page.
  • The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Centers for Excellence has developed helpful informational sheets for parents, siblings, educators, etc.   A list of these free downloadable materials can be found by clicking here.

The following resources were specifically designed for the school setting.  However, other caregivers may also find them relevant and helpful:

  • A very simple and useful tip sheet for educators was developed by Deb Evensen and Jan Lutke called Eight Magic Keys:  Developing Successful Interventions for Students with FAS.  This guide is available for free download through the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Centers for Excellence website, or by clicking here.
  • The FASD Centers for Excellence also developed a valuable resource for parents and teachers to use in educating elementary and middle school children called Reach to Teach.  This booklet can be downloaded for free through the FASD Centers for Excellence website, or by clicking here.
  • Do2Learn.com is a website developed to help educators and parents support students with disabilities.  The section on strategies for working with students with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders can be found here.
  • The FASD Education Strategies Handbook is a reference guide to be used with students suspected of having a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) or who have been diagnosed with an FASD.

 ON-LINE SUPPORT

Caregivers may find sharing experiences with others to be a very useful process.  The St. Louis Arc recognizes the following reputable on-line groups.  Simply click on the name of the group and you will be directed to information on how to join. This list is not intended to be all inclusive.  If you are in need of more resources, or are having difficulty accessing any of these groups, please Contact Us.

Providing education to others:

The St. Louis Arc offers FREE resources to assist in educating others about the important topic of the harmful effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. Toolkits have been developed and are distributed at no cost to classroom, health or community educators, with a target audience of teens and young adults.  Each tool kit contains a taped version of our interactive presentation, a supplemental DVD produced by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Administration, a downloadable facilitator’s guide, handout materials, resources and web links to more information.  Or, for a small fee we may be able to bring our interactive presentation to your group in person! To obtain a FREE tool kit or learn more about scheduling an interactive presentation, please email Prevention Services.