There is only one birth defect that is completely preventable, but only if the mother chooses not to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) refers to the range of problems that can occur in an infant whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol can cause permanent disabilities, miscarriage, stillbirth and premature births. FASD affects nearly 40,000 newborns annually in the United States. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) alone costs an estimated $6 billion annually. The lifetime cost exceeds $2 million for just one individual with FAS. We cannot begin to measure the human toll it takes.

To learn more about preventing the heartbreak of FASD, please make plans to attend Arkansas’ Annual Conference on FASD on Thursday, July 14 at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, I. Dodd Wilson Education Building, room 126, Little Rock.

Time: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Registration fee: Professionals, $65; foster families, $25; parents of children with FASD, Free. For payment information contact Judy Young at 501-749-4145.

Register here.

Continuing Education: 5.5 hours approved for occupational therapists, speech therapists, physical therapists, social workers, nurses, APN, physicians, physician assistants.

Conference agenda:

9:15 – 10:15 a.m. – “Finding hope and thriving during the roller coaster ride” by Tamara Keech, foster mother of eight children who have FASD, educator and author of training curriculum for foster parents caring for FASD children

10:30 – noon – Concurrent sessions:

  • “Webinar-based training for alcohol screening, intervention and referral to treatment to prevent FASD” by Leigh T. Lepper, PhD, MPH, an educator, researcher and national leader of efforts to prevent FASD
  • “Individualized education planning” by Dana McClain, an attorney, educator and advocate for disability rights and education

Noon to 12:30 p.m. – Lunch

12:30 – 2 p.m. – “How neurobiology can inform parenting of a child with FASD” by Alan D. Mease, MD, a pediatrician and international expert on early intervention and support of parenting for at risk children

2:15 – 3:45 p.m. – “Recognizing FASD in patients and children” by G. Bradley Schaefer, MD, is a clinician, educator, author and national leader in genetics and pediatrics

4 – 4:30 p.m. – Parent networking

A spectrum disorder includes individuals on the continuum from mild to severely affected, even though there are often similar behavioral problems and traits. FASD is not recognized as a medical diagnostic term. The medically diagnosed conditions on the FASD spectrum include: fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), partial fetal alcohol syndrome (pFAS), alcohol related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), alcohol related birth defects (ARBD) and neurodevelopmental disorder associated with prenatal alcohol exposure (Other Specified/ND-PAE), now included in the DSM V.

A child with FAS may have some or all of these symptoms:

  • Abnormal facial features; small head size
  • Shorter than average height; low body weight
  • Low intelligence; poor memory
  • Impaired reasoning and judgment skills
  • Learning disabilities; delayed speech
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior; difficulty with attention
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys or bones

The conference is sponsored by AFMC, Partners for Inclusive Communities, UAMS departments of Pediatrics and Family and Preventive Medicine, and the Arkansas Department of Human Services’ divisions of Children and Family Services and Behavioral Health.

For general information, contact Carol Rangel and 501-258-1014.