Alberta Community and Social Services Minister Jason Luan. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Alberta Community and Social Services Minister Jason Luan. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Alberta offers funds to help students with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

$1 million a year will be available for five years

The Alberta government will give $1 million annually for five years to help educators learn how to better assist students with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

The Wellness, Resiliency and Partnership (WRaP): FASD Coaching project will give educators tools and skills to help students with FASD thrive.

Any school division in the province can apply for these resources to help teachers, and other staff, including bus drivers, learn how to better relate to these students.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These can include physical, behavioral and/or learning problems.

The aim is to have Alberta’s FASD networks and school authorities working together to create educational environments that support and engage students with learning disabilities caused by FASD.

“All students should have the opportunity to excel in school,” said Jason Luan, Minister of Community and Social Services. He noted the new voluntary program builds on a successful pilot project that focused on one-on-one coaching, but will now be expanded to reach students all across Alberta.

“We know the WRaP project made a difference for students and families…This is part of our commitment to provide students with an inclusive education system where every person is valued and every voice is heard,” said Adriana LaGrange, Minister of Education.

The province also wants to continue the important work with local partners to prevent FASD and support Albertans and their families.

Through these partnerships “we’re building capacity” and focusing on inclusivity so that every student is feeling welcomed, cared for and safe, said Julie Nanson-Ashton, executive-director of Central Alberta FASD Network.

About 174,000 Albertans, and four per cent of Canadians, have FASD. Alberta’s 12 FASD networks provided services and supports to more than 5,600 people last year.

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