People from across the country affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder are gathering in Sudbury this week.

The Anishnawbek Nation is hosting an educational conference in town to raise awareness about the problems caused by drinking while pregnant.

Christine Schatzler travelled from Bruce Mines to share her story. Her family's experience with FASD started with the adoption of her daughter.

Christine Schatzler

Bruce Mines resident Christine Schatzler adopted her daughter at six months old and soon discovered she had symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

Schatzler said there were no signs her daughter would have trouble with FASD.

“We knew something was wrong. We went through 16 years of ups and downs,” before discovering the issue, Shatzler said.

10% of children affected 

Shatzler’s daughter had a baby of her own as a teenager, who she has raised for the past seventeen years. Shatzler’s granddaughter also struggles with FASD.

“She is a typical 17 year old. But in many areas has a 10-to-12 year old mind set,” Shatzler said. “It's a roller coaster. You have some very, very good times. You have some terrible times.”

Studies show that people with FASD are more likely to have mental health issues, trouble with the law, and problems with alcohol and drugs

It's estimated that the effects of alcohol during pregnancy affects more than 10 per cent of Canadian children.

Schatzler praised Aboriginal communities for leading the push to raise awareness about the issue.