By Mahmoud Rahim, Volunteer Writer
Monday September 9 is International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day. Closer to Home Community Services aims to raise awareness about this particular affliction in order to reduce its prevalence both in Canada and around the world. FASD is a term that is used to describe a range of birth defects caused by a mother’s alcohol consumption during her pregnancy.
FASD is a national and international health concern because of the debilitating life-long effects it can have on a child. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, socioeconomic status or gender. The Canadian government estimates that every year one in 1,500 babies born in Canada suffers from the disorder indicating that FASD is quite prevalent in our society.
Due to a lack of awareness, people tend to focus on the negative aspects
of FASD and stigmatize those who are directly affected by it. Individuals who are affected by FASD often find themselves isolated from their families and communities and can experience guilt and grief. Closer to Home has programs such as Healthy Families, Kiwehtata Parenting Program and Early Childhood Development Programs which address FASD issues through prevention, identification, and intervention efforts. Closer to Home’s in-home family support, foster care and group care programs provide assistance and teach coping skills for individuals and their families who are living with FASD. It is through these efforts that we can minimize the prevalence of FASD and help affected individuals lead productive and successful lives.
For more information and resources, visit the following sites:
Calgary Fetal Alcohol Network
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Alberta Cross Ministry Initiative
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Clinical Services