My name is Anne Russell. I’m a birth
mother of 2 adult children with FASD. They were both diagnosed when they were in their teenage years but it was far too late, really, for it to be a lot
easier for them as adults. I’m also the founder of the Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association, that was found in 07, and I provide support and assistance and information to other parents and caregivers. I really need and want to make their journey a little bit easier than our journey was and still is. It’s that period from when you find out or from when you actually conceived to
when you find out that’s a critical time in that in the fetuses life and the
baby’s life. So that’s really important, you know, planning that pregnancy. If you
are drinking and you’re in the reproductive years make sure you’re
using prevention. For professionals, I think it’s imperative that they
understand the condition because there’s, there’s, there’s, so many other conditions
that flow on from prenatal alcohol exposure. Recently a Canadian researcher
found that there are four hundred and thirty, I think, conditions other than the
the primary brain injury that can be caused by prenatal alcohol exposure and
that includes heart, kidneys, skeleton, vision, hearing all of those things can
be tied in to prenatal alcohol exposure so if somebody is diagnosed with FASD
then they really need to have a full physical worker. For physicians who who
have patients who are a reproductive age or any patient, I think it’s important
that they tell them at every meeting and every consultation about the damage of
alcohol from during pregnancy. Because I hear a lot of comments from parents who
say that their doctor was very reluctant to talk about FASD with them. They knew
their child had to condition, they had, they had confirmed prenatal
exposure, they knew that the child was exposed, the child exhibiting all the
behaviors that consistent with the condition but the doctors just seemed to
be very concerned about bringing it up, concerned that they’d stigmatise the
child and concerned about how mum and dad would would cope with the news. I’m a birth parent and yes you’re right it is horrendous news to know that you’ve, to
find out that you’ve physically harmed your child, but all we want is what’s
best for the child and that is a diagnosis, and that’s support, and that’s
a doctor understanding the condition or if they don’t understand find out. All of
those things are critical for us and we’re always hoping as patients that our
doctors want the same thing that we want and that’s for our child not to be
harmed by presentable disability. Because basically I gave birth to 2
children who are completely normal, who had the chance of a life just like
everybody else and I created this disability for them, you know, and it
didn’t have to happen it was preventable. So any professional hearing this please
find out as much as you can about the condition because it’s the only way
we’re going to move forward.

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