Dr. Gabor Maté spoke at an FASD regional conference in Smithers about the importance of supporting people  who are affected

Dr. Gabor Maté spoke at an FASD regional conference in Smithers about the importance of supporting people who are affected

Rural area great for hosting FASD conference

Renowned doctor and speaker Gabor Maté opened a February regional Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) conference in Smithers

  • Mar. 14, 2012 8:00 p.m.

Renowned doctor and speaker Gabor Maté opened a February regional Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) conference in Smithers with a keynote address.

The conference was organized by Smithers’ FASD committee.

Speaking to The Interior News, Maté remarks that FASD is not a problem that is unique to the North but is quite prevalent in the area.

“[FASD] is a particular problem up here because of the terrible legacy of the trauma suffered by people in the residential schools and in other contexts,” said Maté. “When people are traumatized they seek to soothe their pain and to escape from their distress through substances, alcohol being one of them.

FASD is caused by a mother drinking alcohol while pregnant. According to a report on Health Canada’s website, nine in every 1,000 babies born have FASD.

“The conference is a wonderful bringing together of expertise and practitioners and educators, child care workers and others who are dealing with that so that it’s a necessary part of educating people on how to deal more creatively with this pervasive problem,” said Mate.

“If you don’t see them put the money in, what you are going to see is more of these kids in jails as adults. In the long term that’s going to cost you a lot more money”

Maté, who lives in Vancouver and has authored four books including In the realm of hungry ghosts, about addiction, said that he finds that rural communities such as the ones in the Northwest have a real sense of community, more so than urban centres.

“They know one another, they talk to one another, they participate in activities together,” said Maté. “That community building is a big part of what helps these kids because what they need is a lot of support and connection.”

Systemically, he said there’s challenges in addressing health issues surrounding FASD. For instance, he suggests that the Ministry of Child and Family Development, when seeking solutions look for short-term solutions rather than long-term.

“If you put more money now into supporting kids with disabilities and behaviour challenges you may or may not see short term results,” he said. “But if you don’t see them put the money in what you are going to see is more of these kids in jails as adults. In the long term that’s going to cost you a lot more money.”

Given the right conditions, he said, all children with FASD issues are capable of positive development in the right conditions. He said the solution is to give kids the best conditions for development, in terms of relationships with nurturing adults.

“If we can do that, a lot of these kids will do very, very well.”

 

 

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The Binche Fishing Derby at Stuart Lake is fast approaching. (Binche Fishing Derby Facebook photo)
Binche shares excitement for upcoming fishing derby

“It’s more than just fishing,” says Dave Birdi

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Local youth vaccination clinics underway

Pfizer vaccine will be used

Priya Sharma. (Submitted)
Column: Why ultimatums don’t work

By Priya Sharma It is a common misconception that people can choose… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read