Mülheim / Ruhr, Germany
Alcohol Spectrum Disorder –
People with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder do not get diagnosed
very often in Germany and the public is hardly aware of the problem.
It is a spectrum of physical and mental disabilities, which occur
when mothers consume alcohol in pregnancy.
“Experts are increasingly finding children with unsocial behavior,
learning disabilities, language disorders, ADHD and other
conditions. They might connect these conditions with FASD. In
Germany however, there are no criteria with which the spectrum of
FASD disabilities can be classified as an independent prenatal
are only a couple of statements from the Fasworld e.V. symposium
program. This year’s symposium was organized under the patronage of
Mr. Karl Hermann Haack, special rapporteur on disability of the
Federal German Government and of Mrs. Ulla Schmidt,
Federal Minister of Health and Social Security.
symposium takes place in September in observance of International
FASD Awareness Day on September 9th. Fasworld organized
the first FASD Awareness Day in 1999. On FASDay people all over the
world raise awareness for intellectual disabilities resulting from
9.9? A child grows 9 months in its mother’s womb and is dependent on
its mother doing everything possible to ensure it’s healthy growth.
awareness is mostly steered towards detrimental effects of nicotine
in pregnancy. Also a lot of people seem to know about damages
affecting drug-addicted babies.
really knows exactly what damage is caused by alcohol in pregnancy?
This issue is handled very vaguely and is treated as a taboo
Fasworld Germany sheds light on these topics and organized between
2002 and 2004 three FAS conferences at the DRK-Clinics
in Berlin-Westend. For the first time this symposium took place in
the “Ruhr Area”.
first it wasn’t clear, whether enough people would find their way to
the new location. Fortunately this fear was uncalled for. A lot of
people traveled hundreds of kilometers to attend and stayed loyal to
Fasworld. Many others hadn’t heard of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome before
and were surprised, how much this syndrome already had controlled
symposium’s organization was very effective, only time seemed to fly
by too fast. I noticed people finding to each other during breaks,
discussing topics, exchanging experiences and getting to know each
the feeling, that it was the very emotional topic itself that drew
people together and enabled them to open up to strangers. FASD is a
tragedy, which affects thousands of people in Germany. In my
opinion, our government won’t be able to decrease it’s occurrence by
publishing some nice looking flyers. Officials should show more
commitment to the cause!
was high participation in all workshops and the topics were so
engaging that people were still discussing beyond schedule. I would
like to emphasize on one more topic: Fasworld invited experts and
specialist to a round table discussion, about what needs to be done
not only in the near future but also later down the road. We are
very eager to find out to which conclusions they have come and hope
that there will be more opportunities in the future for such
symposium was a success thanks to a great number of experts.
Prof. Dr. med. Hans-Ludwig Spohr,
DRK Clinics Berlin Spandau, who was in Poland speaking at a
FASD-meeting the day before.
Dr. rer. med. Reinhold Feldmann,
Psychologist at SPZ University Hospital in Münster, who spoke about
FASD on German TV on FAS day, September 9th.
Dr. med. Brigitte Majewski,
pediatrician and psychotherapist at the Institute for Youth Care
Work in Duisburg, whose husband was one of the leading professors
and researchers in this field at the University of Düsseldorf in the
1980s. Dr. Majewski is confronted with FASD in her daily
Frau Dipl. Psych. Gela Becker,
Psychotherapist, family therapist, technical director of Verein
Sonnenhof e.V. Berlin, who spoke about „FASD – children growing into
adulthood“ by presenting a community living project for adult
patients diagnosed with FASD.
Dr. phil. Martin Zobel,
Psychologist and psychotherapist in Koblenz, scientific researcher
at Daun Clinics, researcher at the Center on Applied Addictions
Research in Koblenz, professor at the Catholic University of Applied
Sciences in Cologne and the expert on children affected by
risky environments within the family.