Heavy prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) can affect children’s development. For example, heavy PAE is related to problems with behaviour and learning, which are likely caused by changes to the brain. However, we do not know much about how lower amounts of PAE affect children’s brains.
Dog Assisted Therapy (DAT) has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression and improve social skills in individuals with physical and mental challenges. It has also been shown to be an effective strategy for children with neurodevelopmental disorders, like Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. However, until now, there have been no studies on the impact of DAT in children and adolescents with FASD.
In Canada (and many other countries), women of childbearing age (i.e., between the ages 18 and 35) are consuming more alcohol than ever before. Despites the potential health and social consequences associated with alcohol consumption, its use is increasingly being normalized as part of a stress management regime to cope with day-to-day life.
There have been many studies on youth transitioning out of the foster care system. Yet, little research has focused on transition-aged youth who have disabilities. Researchers suggest that youth with developmental disabilities who live in the foster system and ‘age out’ have increased risks and vulnerabilities, such as problematic drug and alcohol use, homelessness, poverty, chronic medical conditions, and criminal justice involvement.