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

Collection of obsolete pesticides, livestock medication Oct. 15 in Vanderhoof

Clean Farms program offers safe way to dispose of obsolete items

Vanderhoof commemorates Orange Shirt Day with beading workshop

Participants can learn a traditional Métis craft at CNC Sept. 26

College of New Caledonia offers new automotive glass technician program

The program is offered mainly online, allowing more students to take part from across the north

Local business wins snow removal award

K. Leigh Precision Earthworks picked up Rookie of the Year from Western Canadian company

Todd Doherty was recognized today for his life-saving actions during a flight home

Todd Doherty, Member of Parliament for Cariboo-Prince George, was recognized today for… Continue reading

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

VIDEO: B.C. dairy farmer says Trump doesn’t understand the industry

‘They need supply management just as bad as we need to keep it’: sixth generation farmer Devan Toop

VIDEO: Death threat, racist comments spewed over empty seat on B.C. bus

Transit Police are investigating the incident, shared online by fellow passengers on Vancouver bus

Sister of plane crash victim that went missing in B.C. starting support network

Tammy Neron wants to help families who are searching for missing people

‘Hello, 911? There’s a horse in my living room’

Sproat Lake firefighters called to ‘rescue’ quarter-horse from Alberni Valley house

Assault charge withdrawn vs. ex-Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna

Former Toronto player agrees to peace bond

UPDATED: Bill Cosby gets 3-10 years in prison for sexual assault

Judge also declared the disgraced comedian a ‘sexually violent predator’

B.C. making progress on senior care staffing, Adrian Dix says

Minister aims to meet residential care provincial standard by 2021

B.C. realtor receives racist letter touching on ‘empty homes’

The letter has been met with condemnation of the racism after Winnie Wu posted it online

Most Read