Categorized | Health

National researcher presents hope for FAS children (March 12)


Dr. Ira J. Chasnoff, president of the Children’s Research Triangle and professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Illinois in Chicago, is one of the nation’s leading researchers in the field of child development and the effects of alcohol and drug use on the newborn infant and child.

His innovative techniques for pre-natal screening and “brief intervention” of pregnant women have produced results and reduced the number of FAS-affected newborns seen in America’s hospitals.

FAS is the leading known cause of mental retardation, and FAS children often have difficulty with “executive functioning” or the ability to plan and complete a task, follow directions and learn.

This leads to trouble in school or dropping out of school and eventual drug or alcohol use by the child. According to the Children’s Research Triangle, a baby born in Hawaii with FAS, on average, can cost society as much as $5 million during its lifetime.

Moving beyond prevention strategies, Chasnoff has also developed ways to help children who are born with FAS. Using very specific identification, diagnosis and treatment programs, FAS children can be helped to perform better in school and become healthier adults.

His training program includes family-based strategies, the role of the child in the welfare system, childcare settings, the legal system, public policy and schools.

“We are very fortunate to have Dr. Chasnoff bring his training program to the Big Island,” said Lori Eldridge of the North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition. “His last presentation made a huge difference for our community — teachers, parents, foster parents, doctors and nurses, youth leaders. These kids are not beyond help, but they do need special direction, and it works.”

Anyone who works with children is urged to attend Dr. Chasnoff’s training program, “The Nature of Nurture: Identification, Diagnosis and Treatment of Children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome,” Friday, March 12 in Waimea.

The day-long workshop will provide very specific prevention, intervention and treatment strategies.

Supported by the North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition, the program runs 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at HPA’s Gates Performing Arts Center, at a cost of $50 per person including continental breakfast and lunch.

Register at

For more information on FAS or Children’s Research Triangle Hawaii, contact Sharon Williams at 885-0501 or

The North Hawaii Drug-Free Coalition is a regional volunteer organization committed to developing strong, sustaining relationships for Healthy Communities Choosing to Live Drug Free.

For more information, visit

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