Midland mother knows how fetal alcohol spectrum disorder affects families

Debbie Simpson, a midland mother knows how FASD affects families. Her five-year-old stepson Dante Edmonds was diagnosed was FASD in March. He also lives with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Simpson also cares for 15-month-old Kanye McDanial-Kamara, who, while too young to diagnose, is already showing signs of a developmental disorder.

“All kids living with FASD end up with all different kinds of diagnoses before they are diagnosed with FASD,” said Simpson.

Simpson, Dante and Kanye marched around town on Sept. 9 — International FASD Awareness Day — to raise awareness about the disorder and the struggles that come along with it.

Her tour of the downtown included stops at Wendat Community Programs, town hall, the Southern Georgian Bay OPP detachment, MP Bruce Stanton’s office and MPP Jill Dunlop’s office.

“My goal is to bring awareness about FASD and to try and stop the stigma my boys have been subjected to,” said Simpson.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is a term that describes the effects to an individual who was prenatally exposed to alcohol.

Although the risk is higher with heavy alcohol use, any amount of alcohol may affect or harm a developing baby. Alcohol exposure during the first trimester — perhaps before a woman even knows she is pregnant — can cause major birth defects.

Around four per cent of Canadians, more than 1.1 million people, live with FASD.

Common effects include memory difficulties, speech and language problems, impulsive behaviour, social difficulties, sensory challenges and physical problems.

“When Dante becomes upset about something, he can’t find the words he needs to use to be able to say that he is upset. He will go into a meltdown and start kicking and knocking things over,” said Simpson.

She would like to see more FASD supports and services brought to the north Simcoe area. Even if it’s something simple like a support group.

“I feel we have made a difference, but we need more supports here,” said Simpson. (Read more…)