If you're looking for the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) you have come to the right place. We have some exciting news about our organization. We have a new name! MOFAS has officially been renamed Proof Alliance. Our mission remains the same: to prevent prenatal alcohol exposure and to improve the quality of life for people living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).
We now have the proof that prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading cause of brain injury in children. We have the proof that FASD is 100% preventable and people living with an FASD can reach 100% of their potential.
We seek to build powerful alliances with people with an FASD, their families, legislators, experts in the field, new partners, and community members to bring awareness, research, and services to this field.
Proof Alliance is rebranding, expanding, and we're moving! We have a new logo, website, and prevention campaign to help change the norms around drinking during pregnancy. And in May 2019 we will be moving to a stand-alone building. Proof Alliance commits to the people of Minnesota and we will continue to develop transformative programs to help Minnesotans impacted by FASD.
By: Tanya Weinmeyer
Has your child with an FASD ever been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or been in an ASD program in school? Mine has!
When Alex was four they gave him a diagnosis of PDD- NOS (Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified). PDD-NOS is under the Autism Spectrum umbrella. It didn’t feel right to me. I never felt like he belonged with this group of children. All through early childhood my son was in an Autism program. One day after school (in an Autism classroom) when Alex was four he came running out to the car and told me “I met a boy just like me today”. That was the moment that I realized he too never felt like he belonged in the Autism world.
Yet the Autism program worked for him until he was in first grade. In first grade Alex hit a brick wall and was struggling. The school psychologist said she had tried all the techniques known to work for children with an ASD. I was so frustrated that they didn’t understand him and couldn’t see beyond the ASD diagnosis. Why were they trying to fit him into a disability group in which I never really agreed with?
That year we got the diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This was just one of many battles I was glad to be over.
Recently I got this fact sheet describing the similarities and differences between FASD and ASD. Looking back I am not sure if this comparison sheet would have helped the school understand my son any better. At least it would have made me feel better to have another tool to try. I wanted to pass them on to you and see what you think.
I encourage you to pass it on to the professionals in your child’s life that are struggling to see FASD as your child’s primary diagnosis.
Similarities Between Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and Autism
Dan Dubovsky MSW SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence
Both are developmental disabilities. Both affect normal brain function, development, and social interaction. In both, the individual often has difficulty developing peer relationships. In both, there is often difficulty with the give and take of social interactions. In both, there are impairments in the use and understanding of body language to regulate social interaction. In both, there is difficulty expressing needs and wants, verbally and/or non- verbally. A short attention span is often seen in individuals with Autism and an FASD. In both, we may see an abnormal sensitivity to sensory stimuli, including an over- or under-sensitivity to pain.
Differences Between Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and Autism
Dan Dubovsky MSW SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence
|Occurs as often in males as in females||Occurs in males 4 times as often as in females|
|Able to relate to others||Difficult or impossible to relate to others in a meaningful way|
|Restricted patterns are not commonly seen||Restricted patterns of behavior, interests, and activities as a core area|
|Verbal communication may be slow to develop but is not commonly significantly impaired||Difficulty in verbal and non-verbal communication|
|Difficulties begin at birth||Difficulties may begin after a period of normal growth|
|Difficulty in verbal receptive language; expressive language is more intact as the person ages||Difficulty in both expressive and receptive language|
|Spoken language is typical||Some do not develop spoken language|
|Spontaneously talkative||Robotic, formal speech|
|Echolalia not common||Echolalia-repeating words or phrases|
|Stereotyped movements not seen||Stereotyped movements|
|Ritualistic behaviors not commonly seen||Ritualistic behaviors|
|Repetitive body movements not seen; may have fine and gross motor coordination and/or balance problems||Repetitive body movements e.g., hand flapping, and/or abnormal posture e.g., toe walking|
|Social and outgoing||Remaining aloof; preferring to be alone|
|Difficulty with change and transitions||Inflexibility related to routines and rituals|
|Can share enjoyment and laughter||Lack of spontaneous sharing of enjoyment|
|Can express a range of emotion||Restricted in emotional expression|
|Funny; good sense of humor||Difficulty expressing humor|
|Microcephaly more common||Macrocephaly more common|
|Considered a medical disorder in the ICD. Not in the DSM-IV||Considered a mental disorder in the DSM-IV|