International FASD Awareness Day

Closer to Home supports International FASD Awareness Day

by Cheryl Hanley

FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) describes the range of functional and physical disabilities resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure, and it is the leading cause of developmental and cognitive delays among children in Canada.

Through our programs and services, staff and volunteers at Closer to Home interact with people affected by FASD every day. September 9 has been officially recognized as International FASD Awareness Day, and we will be supporting the AltaGas Calgary Fetal Alcohol Network Run/Walk.

According to recent Health Canada statistics, approximately 9 out of every 1,000 babies in Canada are born with FASD.  The disorder can occur at all levels of society, and the effects of the damage are unique to individuals.  Prenatal alcohol exposure is the underlying cause of FASD, and prevention and intervention around this factor are imperative.

International FASD Awareness Day began in 1999, growing from the efforts of parents (foster, adoptive, and biological) who are raising children affected by FASD.   These parents and volunteers strive to build a stronger awareness and understanding of FASD amongst professionals and the general public.  On International FASD Awareness Day, Sept. 9 at 9:09 a.m. (representing the nine months of pregnancy), worldwide events educate and remind people about the millions of children around the world facing challenges related to FASD.  Success stories are also important to be shared – to highlight positive growth in individuals, families, communities and worldwide.

Closer to Home staff are dedicated to achieving the agency’s mission of uniting vulnerable children, youth, and families-including those living with FASD.  Treatment planning is fitted to individual needs, and programs are developed to build on strengths and encourage appropriate skills to facilitate independent living.  There is also a growing local network of professional organizations available to offer support to individuals, families, and professionals living or working with FASD.  For more information about FASD resources, programs, and supports in the community, see:

Inform Alberta’s Calgary FASD Services List

Calgary Fetal Alcohol Network website

AltaGas Calgary Fetal Alcohol Network Run/Walk FASD Sept. 9