Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

The Learning Disabilities Association of New York State

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

July 2013

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012

Nearly 40,000 newborns are affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) nationwide each year, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration.

FASD encompasses a range of birth defects and other conditions resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure, including learning disabilities, related neurological impairments, mental health disorders, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). FAS is characterized by growth deficiencies, central nervous system dysfunction, and certain facial features. FAS alone may cost the nation up to $6 billion each year, with one FAS-afflicted individual incurring at least $2 million in health care expenditures over his or her lifetime. In addition, the implications of FASD are far-reaching, and can include the exhibition of challenging behaviors, disrupted school experiences, involvement with the criminal justice system, and/or alcohol and drug problems.

According to the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, many health professionals still advise women that moderate alcohol use during pregnancy is safe. In 2004, focus groups conducted by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services found that professionals generally lacked information on FASD. The Learning Disabilities Association of New York State (LDANYS) started an initiative to close this knowledge gap by providing training and education opportunities for professional development on FASD in upstate and downstate New York. This initiative, Preventing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, was awarded a grant from the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth) in May 2011. The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council provided primary grant support for this project.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Trained more than 906 professionals on FASD;
  • Delivered trainings to audiences, which included 289 allied health care agencies, childcare centers, Head Start programs, and health, hospital, and probation agencies; and
  • Trained personnel from approximately 24 upstate and downstate school districts.