The Story of the River Babies
There are many versions of the story that teaches the lesson of looking up the river. This is one:
This folk tale is told to help people to look more closely at the root cause of social problems. This story can help us look more closely at the true causes of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
We are beginning to understand the magnitude of the problem presented by 50,000 children each year born in the United States with disabilities caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol. Some of us are busy saving the babies born with FASD, while others are going up the river to stop drinking during pregnancy, or at least to try.
We can try to "look up the river" beyond the obvious, to see that drinking during pregnancy is a serious problem, that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are not easily recognized or understood, that the solution is not as simple as telling pregnant women not to drink. We also need to realize that many of the parents of children with FASD may in fact be alcohol affected themselves. We want to provide as much quality information as possible to increase understanding of the depth of the problem, and the causes of the problem, so that we can plan effective prevention and intervention strategies in our communities.
Hopefully, key players will realize that one of the most important aspects of prevention of FASD is the provision of services for those already affected. Subsequently we can target this key group with prevention programs by providing them with adequate intervention services, so the cycle of generational FASD can be broken. By looking up the river of FASD, we can better apply our efforts to the FASD prevention.
FAS Community Resource Center and Arizona Department of Health
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