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For week ended May 30, 1999 Posted 4 Jun 1999

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Spotlight: Nancy McDonald

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Spotlight: Nancy McDonald
SA-LDSNews 26May99 L5
Spotlight: Nancy McDonald

The acronym FAS has become a sort of buzzword lately, and many people are wondering what exactly those letters stand for. Just ask Nancy McDonald, who has been working as an FAS Consultant in the Calgary area for about a year now. The mother of three has studied FAS for the past eight years and received her training at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Nancy, who serves as Primary Secretary &Choir President in the Crowfoot Ward of the Calgary Alberta West Stake has only been a member for 22 years, yet she has served in various callings in Primary and Relief Society, and as a Librarian, Activities Chairperson, Music Chairperson, and a teacher of a parenting class.

Below is an interview SA-LDSNews had with Nancy McDonald, who has been an Albertan citizen for the past ten years.

CUSTOM QUESTIONS ---------------------------

SA-LDSNews: "What is FAS?"

NM: "Foetal Alcohol Syndrome - a preventable birth defect in the form of permanent brain damage caused by maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. Simply put."

SA-LDSNews: "What are some conditions related/similar to FAS?"

NM: "ADHD, Autism."

SA-LDSNews: "Why should people be informed about FAS?"

NM: "Because it is the one disease that is 100% preventable. Also, because many children, in particular adopted children, [who have] a diagnosis of ADHD are actually FAS/FAE, and different interventions are needed [to help them]."

SA-LDSNews: "How long have you been an FAS Consultant?"

NM: "1 year."

SA-LDSNews: "How did you become an FAS Consultant?"

NM: "My adopted son has a form of FAS...ARND (Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder). We adopted him [when he was] 2 months old and felt there was something wrong. It took nine years and a lot of study and perseverance to get a proper diagnosis. I studied FAS for the past eight years and went for training at the University of Washington in Seattle."

SA-LDSNews: "Why do you do FAS Consulting?"

NM: "I have 16 years [of] experience dealing with it on a daily basis, and what I do is because of my son - not so much for him. What I do will not directly benefit him so much at this point, but I have learned a tremendous amount that I can share to help others to avoid some of the difficulties we [have] encountered. There is a huge need for education, understanding, and prevention. FAS is 100% Preventable."

SA-LDSNews: "Why did you first want to become an FAS Consultant?"

NM: "I went to a presentation done by a social worker on the subject, went home, and felt that I could have done the same. I am a former Parent Education Teacher, and after the difficulties of raising my son with FAS, I realised that I had knowledge and expertise to share that was greatly needed."

SA-LDSNews: "What are some prominent places you have given firesides?"

NM: "Have not given firesides as yet, but am interested in doing so. I do presentations on FAS, as well as training [and] advocacy work assisting families to cope with this disorder."

SA-LDSNews: "What has been the overall reaction of others toward your presentations?"

NM: "Well received."

SA-LDSNews: "What was your most memorable experience during a presentation?"

NM: "Having my son speak about his experience, and the overwhelming respect from other parents."

SA-LDSNews: "What do you think has been your most worthwhile contribution as an FAS Consultant?"

NM: "Helping parents to feel understood, accepted, and giving them some tools to help them cope. Most often these parents are doing the best they can and yet get criticised for lack of skills."

SA-LDSNews: "Do you think that your presentations really help the awareness and education of others concerning FAS?"

NM: "Yes! It is not well understood."

SA-LDSNews: "What is your biggest goal as an FAS consultant?"

NM: "To help other families so that both parents and children will not suffer as much as we have."

SA-LDSNews: "If there was one thing you could change regarding FAS or people's perception of it, what would it be?"

NM: "Awareness and services for both parents and children."


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