Sept. 9 is international Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day.
FASD is an umbrella term, which describes the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was exposed to alcohol during pregnancy. The effects may include physical, mental, behavioural and/or learning difficulties with possible lifelong implications.
This day – the ninth day of the ninth month was chosen to emphasize how important it is for women to avoid drinking alcohol during the nine months of pregnancy.
FASD is often described as an “invisible disability” because those affected may not show any physical signs of their disability. Symptoms of FASD are more likely to appear in behaviours, such as hyperactivity, lack of focus, immature social behaviour, poor judgment, poor problem-solving skills and difficulty learning from consequences.
It is important to recognize FASD is caused by a brain injury and, therefore, supporting affected individuals requires changing expectations rather than expecting the individual to change.
Although incurable, FASD is preventable. Communities can help prevent FASD by working together to support pregnant women and their partners in avoiding alcohol during pregnancy.
This year, the Cariboo Family Enrichment Centre (CFEC) is launching a campaign, called Let’s talk about FASD, to increase awareness of FASD among youth. The campaign includes informational signs throughout town, posters at the Youth Zone and students will have the opportunity to do a quiz and win a prize.
For more information about CFEC or the Key Worker program, contact Eliane Wanner-Van Osch at 250-395-5155, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.