Support for Native Americans with Developmental Disabilities

Christina R. Rife, Wylie Goodman

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Summary:

This report addresses the high incidence of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol effects (FAE) among Native Americans and suggests that there is a lack of comprehensive effort to provide outreach services to the Native American population in Illinois. The report begins with an overview of American Indian history and the migration of Native Americans to the Chicago area since the 1950s. Although several organizations provide services specifically to American Indians, additional services are needed for this growing Chicago population. The leading cause of developmental disability in the Native American population are FAS and FAE. In addition, Native Americans have the highest prevalence of alcohol problems among all U.S. population groups. Illiteracy, lack of education, and a related lack of exposure to facts about drinking during pregnancy contribute to the high incidence of FAS and FAE among American Indians. Recent surveys of Illinois Native Americans revealed that most respondents were aware that it was detrimental to drink alcohol while pregnant, and 70 percent of respondents were concerned about a friend or relative who had used alcohol while pregnant. Disabled Native Americans encounter barriers to receiving appropriate services due to lack of knowledge among non-Native providers regarding the Native American community and its distinct cultural values, norms, and world views; economic barriers; and personal and familial barriers that prevent individuals from acknowledging problem drinking and the effects of substance abuse on children. The last section of the report includes recommendations for improving service delivery to disabled Native Americans, with the goal of empowering the Native American community toward independence and improving its linkage to non-Native service providers. 

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Bibliographic Information:

Christina R. Rife, Wylie Goodman. Support for Native Americans with Developmental Disabilities (1996). American Indian Health Services of Chicago, Inc.: Chicago, IL. (24 pages).

Sponsoring Agency: The Illinois Planning Council on Developmental Dis

Language: English

Reading Level: Easy

Formats Available: Printed Material

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Availability:

American Indian Health Services of Chicago, Inc.
838 W. Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL
60613

Phone: (773) 883-9100

Languages Available: English

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Producer Information:

Intended User Audience:

All involved with Native American children can use this material, including administrators, parents/family members, service delivery personnel in all disciplines, especially early childhood education. The publication was not developed for any specific cultural or linguistic group.
 

Product Development:

One author is Native American and the other is Euro American. One author is a psychologist and the other is a child development specialist. The authors also used some information gathered from a questionnaire sent to a small sampling of Native American families. 

Product Evaluation:

The publication has not been evaluated. 

Product Dissemination:

Approximately 250 copies have been disseminated in Illinois. 

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