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David with F.A.S. ONF/NFB


Catalogue Number:  NFB526692
Producer:  National Film Board of Canada
Producers:  Gil Cardinal, Dorothy Schreiber, Jerry Krepakevich, Jerry McIntosh, Graydon McCrea
Directors:  Gil Cardinal
Producing Agencies:  CBC Newsworld (Toronto),Kanata Productions Inc. (Edmonton),National Film Board of Canada (Montreal)
Subject:  Canadian Social Issues, Documentary, Family Studies/Home Economics, Health and Medicine, Indigenous Peoples, Learning Disabilities, People With Disabilities, Psychology, Safety, Social Studies
Language:  English
Grade Level:  Post Secondary
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  1996
Running Time:  44m 36s
Closed Captions:  Yes


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David Vandenbrink seems like a healthy 21-year-old, bright and articulate young man. There is little to suggest that while in his mother's womb, he suffered permanent brain damage. His condition, fetal alcohol syndrome (F.A.S.), went undiagnosed for the first 18 years of his life, causing confusion, anger, and pain for both David and his non-Indigenous adoptive family. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a term used to describe a set of symptoms seen in some children born to women who drank alcohol during pregnancy. The damage can be subtle or severe, resulting in a wide range of symptoms in the areas of slowed growth, disfigurement, and damage to the brain. Associated behavioural problems include impulsiveness, poor judgment, and an inability to grasp the consequences of actions. This personal story, using video footage shot by David himself, along with the experiences of members of his family, is a hard look into the serious consequences of a little-known, but widespread, health problem.



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