by Melanie Anthony
Toronto, Ontario- On September 9th, we observe International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day. Often referred to as the “invisible disability”, FASD is defined by CanFASD as, “the diagnostic term used to describe the impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol. FASD is a lifelong disability. Individuals with FASD experience some degree of challenge in their daily living; need support with motor skills, physical health, learning, memory, attention, communication, emotional regulation, and social skills to reach their full potential. Each individual with FASD is unique and has areas of both strengths and challenges.”
Approximately 4% of Canadians, representing approximately 1.5M people, live with FASD. International FASD Awareness Day is an occasion to highlight the actions taken to improve prevention, promote community training and education, and improve supports for individuals living with FASD.
Health Nexus has launched two such supports funded by the Ministry of Children and Community and Social Services (MCCSS). The first program is FASD Ontario, a one-stop online web hub where parents and caregivers of children or youth with FASD can access information, services, and training resources. A second project, established in 2018, has provided micro grants to establish or continue FASD support groups.
“The website is the perfect source for accurate, up-to-date FASD information for Ontario families and care providers. Not only can people access information and training opportunities, they can also connect with community supports. The support groups enable communities to understand and appreciate the day-to-day lived experience and implications of FASD”, explains Hiltrud Dawson, Team Lead for Health Nexus.
Everyone’s help is needed to dispel stereotypes and to raise awareness so we can improve outcomes for people experiencing the implications of prenatal exposure to alcohol and/or FASD.
Learn more about FASD including general information, training opportunities and events for International FASD Awareness Day on www.fasdON.ca.
Media Contact: Melanie Anthony, Bilingual Strategic Communications Specialist