You're pregnant! Reason to celebrate! A glass of champagne might be in order for other celebrations, but officials of a local organization counsel against imbibing for your celebration. They are familiar with the effects of alcohol on developing fetuses and have been working with children who have been permanently damaged due to pregnant women drinking alcohol.
Double ARC, sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame of Toledo, is a small organization that is having a large impact on the families of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), the name given to the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. This disorder occurs in 1 of 20 children born to mothers of all races, ages, levels of education and socio-economic groups. There is no cure for the disorder and diagnosing it is difficult. Eighty percent of those with it show no outward physical manifestation of FASD, and parents may have no idea why their seemingly normal infant or child exhibits developmental delays and/or inappropriate behavior.
FASD always involves permanent brain damage of some kind that shows itself in problems with memory, understanding cause and effect, impulse control, poor judgment, understanding abstract concepts, and friendship-making skills, among others. Children with FASD may have cognitive and developmental delays, struggle in school despite average to above average intelligence, and usually behave much younger than their chronological age. The symptoms and the challenges of helping such individuals last a lifetime.
Double ARC works with a diagnostic team of experts from the University of Toledo Department of Pediatrics at the College of Medicine and some volunteers[MS8] in private practice who donate their time and expertise to do the neuropsychological, behavioral and the speech and learning assessments necessary to diagnose FASD. That diagnosis means that Double ARC can help the parents choose the appropriate supports and interventions for their child, and can then provide case management and ongoing support for those diagnosed.
The organization offers a variety of services, including
■ Social Skills Training classes for children ages 9-12
■ Classes for parents to help them understand their child and create helpful interventions to help them succeed
■ Classes for parents of teens facing the challenges of adolescence
■ Parent Support groups
■ Training for teachers who interact with children with FASD
■ Case management, including attending school meetings to discuss individualized Education
Training for social service providers, medical and allied medical professionals, and juvenile justice professionals
Executive Director, Janet Bosserman notes, “we are pleased to have served children with FASD and their families for 23 years and will continue to offer counsel, training and diagnosis. But our greatest hope is that pregnant women or those who are considering pregnancy choose not to drink. There is no known safe amount or type of alcohol during pregnancy.”
Double ARC is located at 3837 Secor Road, near Monroe Street. More information is available at www.doublearc.org or by calling