Raising awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Timmins

On International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day in Timmins, officials with the Children's Treatment Centre said most people in the community know quite a bit about autism, but most don't know a lot about FASD.

They said it is two and half times more common than autism and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are lifetime disabilities that happen when alcohol is introduced to the womb before birth.

This is some of the information they shared with people who stopped to talk with them while they were taking their morning walks around the Gillies Lake Trail.

“We’re OK if someone is uncomfortable with the subject matter. That’s OK because that’s an opportunity for us to have an open conversation with someone and if they’re not ready to have that conversation that’s OK with us," said Liane Guenette, a caseworker with the Children's Treatment Centre.

Open to learning 

Timmins resident Cliff Lebrun had never heard about FASD, but was open to learning about it.

“I took some literature and I’m going to read it and I’ll be aware so I won’t judge people," he said.

One of Guenette's co-workers appreciated that people want more information and she said she's also working with community partners.

"We are helping ... to have the people within the schools understand what it means to have FASD and how they can make the proper environmental accommodations to support these children," said Kelsey Charbonneau-Laforest.

Organizers of the outdoor information session said four per cent of Canadians have fetal alcohol syndrome.