As the eighth recipient of the Michelle Lang fellowship, I spent a year reporting on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), the most common — and preventable — developmental disability affecting Canadians. The resulting three part series was published in Postmedia papers across Canada. Find the series below which includes five videos and a podcast, as well as three daily news stories published ahead of the project.
It’s been 45 years since researchers revealed the risks of drinking during pregnancy. But as Vanessa Hrvatin reports, rates of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder are three times higher than previously believed — just as more women are drinking, and drinking more, than ever before. In the first of a three-part series, Postmedia’s Michelle Lang Fellow explores the challenges of eradicating one of the most common — preventable — developmental disorders and what’s at stake if we fail. Photography by Jason Franson for Postmedia.
FASD is associated with a bewildering number of symptoms. But as Vanessa Hrvatin writes, the biggest barrier to early detection and treatment may be social not biological. Photography by Leah Hennel for Postmedia.
Kids in care suffer disproportionately from prenatal exposure to alcohol. But prospective parents say they are too often in the dark about what’s ahead of them. As Vanessa Hrvatin discovers, that can lead to heartbreaking outcomes. Illustration by Lola Landekic for National Post.
“Every time I picked up the pipe and lighter, I hated myself.” Meet the women raising babies after fighting alcohol and drug addictions. Video and photo by Leah Hennel & Kerianne Sproule.
Very little was known about FASD when Dolores gave birth to Kim in 1971. Now Dolores is helping raise Kim’s daughter Sarah, who is also living with FASD. Video and photos by Leah Hennel & Kerianne Sproule.
The Mores have learned what helps their kids best — but it’s not always been easy. Video by Darren Brown.
'They're just kids that are coming to school. They just want to be accepted and be successful.' Video by Kerianne Sproule.
Experts at a Calgary clinic discuss the rigorous testing that goes into diagnosing FASD. Video by Leah Hennel & Kerianne Sproule.
We talk with Vanessa Hrvatin, recipient of the 2018 Lang Fellowship in Journalism. We look at how great the risk of FASD is, who is most affected, and how myths and stigma complicate understanding of the disorder.
Many children with FASD are misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. 'One of the risk groups is actually professional women who binge drink'.
To honour the day, the Calgary Fetal Alcohol Network (CFAN) and partnering agencies had a breakfast and carnival in the park as a way to bring together family members, caregivers, and people living with FASD.
Researchers hope to eventually develop medications that women could take during their pregnancy, or give to their newborn child, to reverse fetal alcohol syndrome.