Each year, on September 9th Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Day (FASD) is observed. The date was chosen for being the ninth day of the ninth month of the year as a reminder that women should abstain from alcohol during all nine months of their pregnancy. The entire month is dedicated to building awareness around fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which a 2018 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism study estimates to be prevalent in 31.1 to 98.5 out of 1,000 first-graders. This represents from one to five percent of the population, or as many as one in 20.
A “Hidden” Disorder
Often called the “hidden” disorder, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders frequently remain undiagnosed, says an article titled, “Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Might be at Least Twice as Common as Autism“, and published on the nofas.org website. There is severe stigma around the disorders, as they are preventable, and the stigma is a major reason why fetal alcohol spectrum disorders fail to be reported or recognized. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism study found that only two of the 222 children identified by the researchers as having a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder were correctly diagnosed before participating.
The NOFAS Stamp Out Stigma Campaign is working to reduce the stigma around fetal alcohol spectrum disorders by raising awareness of the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant and encouraging people to share their stories. They are also working to education physicians on how to ask women about their alcohol use in a non-judgmental manner and to provide those with substance abuse issues with the tools necessary to help support them through their pregnancy.
Early detection is key in treating fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which can present as difficulties with behaviour, communication, attention and hyperactivity, and physical and mental development. The disorders may be treated with prescription medication (to simply ease symptoms, as there is no cure), behavioural counselling, the use of speech, occupational, and physical therapists, as well as alternative therapies such as meditation, massages, acupuncture, exercise, and yoga. Plenty of support from family, friends, and the health and educational systems also benefits those affected.
How Weighted Blankets Work
Dr. Temple Grandin, PhD, who lives with autism spectrum disorder, was one of the first to point out the benefits of deep-pressure touch provided by weighted blankets to help relax overstressed nervous systems. In fact, it was her research that lead to the development of the weighted blanket.
Grandin says, “Deep touch pressure is the type of surface pressure that is exerted in most types of firm touching, holding, stroking, petting of animals, or swaddling. [sic] Occupational therapists have observed that a very light touch alerts the nervous system, but deep pressure is relaxing and calming.”
Plus, weighted blankets don’t only have to be used for sleep. Hippo Sit Weighted Lap Pads are compact and transportable to classrooms and counselling and doctor appointments. They act like a peaceful, reliable companion, a constant reminder of someone who cares. They can allow for greater concentration while also keeping people still and relaxed.
More About A Weighted Blanket for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
In 2018, TodaysParent.com suggested using a weighted blanket to help ease symptoms experienced by those on the fetal alcohol spectrum disorders continuum, as well as those of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety. A weighted blanket for fetal alcohol syndrome works by soothing agitated nervous systems. As those with fetal alcohol syndrome often experience depression and show aggression, the calming effects of a weighted blanket can help induce the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which will generally improve mood and quell anxiety.
More From Hippo Hug
All of our weighted blankets are custom made with care and attention. The size and weight is dependant upon your preference, but we can help you make the best choice for you. We find that up to lengths of up to 60 inches works well for most children under 100 pounds, and up to 70 inches for whose who weigh 100 pounds or more. We also suggest a weight of between five to 15 percent of the total body weight. Some prefer to leave their feet uncovered by their weighted blanket, in which case we would suggest a shorter length. Come on in to our store or borrow a blanket to try one out before buying.
We also carry a number of attractive and cozy fabrics to match your taste and décor.
Additional items you can find in our Hippo Hug store include sensory products like Chewlery for kids with oral fixations, providing them with something safe to chew on that won’t damage teeth. Our Hippo Stress Toys are perfect for a quick release when it gets rough at work or home, and all funds from sales go to people in need under our Hippo Hug Helps program.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about our products, or just come on by our storefront. We look forward to discussing how a weighted blanket for fetal alcohol syndrome can help you.