BY JAMES STREAM
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
Robbie Silver, Director of Communications for The Arc of Riverside County, sat down with Eva Carner and Ricki Nelson to discuss Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders and how they have contributed to the education of many diverse audiences on this important topic. Carner and Nelson are a team that educates high school students and other high risk groups on this topic. They became a family when Nelson was 2 and thus began a journey of discovery about this condition called FASD as Nelson’s biological mother drank heavily during pregnancy and he is affected by this condition. FASD has only one cause and that is maternal alcohol drinking during pregnancy and it happens far too often among women of childbearing age. In fact, FASD is the number one preventable cause of developmental disabilities.
Carner and Nelson have helped The Arc of Riverside County create and implement a project we call “NineZero”, over the last 10 years. (NineZero is the catch phrase for zero alcohol during the nine months of pregnancy.) They are both adamant about the absolute necessity for women thinking about getting pregnant and those already pregnant to avoid drinking any alcohol. Carner sites the many behavioral, cognitive and physical disabilities that can manifest themselves when a woman choosing to drink heavily during pregnancy. In fact, even moderate to small amount of alcohol can have devastating consequences to a developing fetus.
Thanks to Carner and her vast knowledge of this condition and how to ameliorate it, Nelson lives a full and production life – just not quite the one he had hoped for.
On the evening of June 17, at the awards banquet of The Arc of Riverside County, Eva Carner and Ricki Nelson were presented with a plaque that will be placed next to this agency’s National Wall of Respect that acknowledges their advocacy efforts. It reads; “Eva Carner and Ricki Nelson – Educators of students and high risk groups on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.” In this video clip, they talk about their join effort with The Arc to reach high school students and other group with this important message.