March 17, 2004
Bottom row: Yeda Hicks, Patti Fay Hickox, Jennifer Phillips, Sherri White.
Top row: Vicky Newlun, Cindy Byrd, Angie Taggart,
Donna O'Brien, Rebecca Midgett -- Photo courtesy Patty Fay Hickox
The summit, held in Anchorage March 9 and March 10, is an annual training event which provides participants from across Alaska an opportunity to increase their knowledge and understanding of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. According to Hickox, six of Ketchikan's local school teachers, one local youth advocate, one local parent navigator and one local case manager attended the statewide summit along with over 700 people from around the state.
Addressing the opening of a two-day Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Summit in Anchorage, Gov. Frank Murkowski and First Lady Nancy Murkowski expressed their distress at the level of alcohol abuse, especially among expectant mothers, and pledged their support for the medical and behavioral health professionals working to eliminate FAS, the only preventable birth defect.
Hickox said, "All of us learned may things." She said they had the opportunity to learn from Deb Evensen of the FASD Center for Excellence in Washington D.C. Evensen, who at one time was a special education teacher in Alaska, taught the basics of SOAP which is... if you are working with these children and it is not working:
Hickox reported that Dan Dubovsky of the FASD Center for Excellence, who raised a child with FASD, suggested for people to show children with FASD how to do things, not tell them. And that "every day is a new day, do not bring yesterday into today".
According to Hickox, Dr. Kieran O'Malley of the University of Washington FAS Diagnosis Clinic spoke about some of the medications that work for children with FASD. Dr. O'Malley also suggested that sometimes we are over medicating, or using medications that prevent brain growth and adaption that is natural.
Hickox said there were lots of speakers, lots of knowledge shared and they all returned to Ketchikan with excitement to work with children with FASD and help them learn... by teaching each child the way they learn.