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Module 1: Historic Perspectives on Alcohol and Pregnancy

Recent Past

Book cover of The Broken Cord By the late 1980s, individual agencies, such as the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, were involved in FASD prevention and treatment efforts. Still, no coordinated effort or national organization existed. Parent groups struggled, isolated from each other with little support.

That changed when one adoptive parent decided to take action. Michael Dorris raised awareness of prenatal alcohol exposure when he wrote The Broken Cord in 1989.11 It was later adapted for a television movie. Dorris described the ordeal of raising a son with FAS. Inspired by his work, Patti Munter founded the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in 1990.

In 1991, an international conference on FAS was held in Alaska focusing on educational ideas. It led to publication of the book Fantastic Antone Succeeds!: Experiences in Educating Children With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome12. Growing interest in FAS around the world generated more interest in research. In 1996, Streissguth presented results of a 4-year study on secondary disabilities funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)13. That same year, the Institute of Medicine published a book on FAS.

FASD Center logo In 2000, Congress established the FASD Center for Excellence under Section 519D of the Children’s Health Act (42 USC 290bb-25d). The Center was launched in 2001 and has conducted nearly 20 Town Hall meetings on issues related to prevention and treatment of prenatal alcohol exposure. The meetings were held to gather testimony from individuals with an FASD, providers, administrators, caregivers, and others.

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