The 2019 Canada Northwest FASD Partnership Symposium, entitled “Changing the Conversation,” took place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, February 6 & 7, 2019. The symposium brought together a diverse group of over 90 stakeholders, representing all provinces and territories across Canada. The symposium aimed to discuss the ways we currently talk about FASD in Canada, and based on the initial recommendations of the Seeing the Spectrum report by the FrameWorks Institute, create initial ideas to reframe FASD in ways that promote greater dignity, understanding, and support for people impacted by FASD.
This report highlights the events of the symposium, and identifies action plans to continue the work of reframing FASD. Key evaluation results are provided; analysis of survey and interview data indicates that the symposium succeeded in:
- Bringing together and engaging a diverse group of national stakeholders
- Helping symposium participants gain a greater understanding of the reframing process
- Providing symposium participants with opportunities to contribute to the reframing of FASD in a meaningful way
- Inspiring symposium participants to take back an idea for reframing to their home communities and organizations for further reflection
- Creating initial ideas for the reframing of FASD that can be reviewed, assessed, and enhanced through the application of reframing research and the lessons learned from the Seeing the Spectrum report.
The symposium provided time for groups to create ‘pitches’ based on their ideas on how to reframe FASD. Many promising themes emerged from these pitches, including:
- Approaches to supporting people impacted by FASD that focus on community mentoring
- Using traditional Indigenous teachings to provide support to people with FASD and women who use alcohol in pregnancy
- A coordinated group of people with FASD who could provide consultation and feedback to FASD service providers
- Improving access to high-quality FASD education resources
- Public messaging that focuses on the role of a community to support healthy pregnancies
- Public messaging that reduces “othering” of people with FASD by emphasizing the importance of community inclusion
- Communicating unified messages about FASD across Canada, emphasizing that FASD impacts us all
- Public awareness that moves away from shaming and blaming women who use alcohol during pregnancy, and provide invitations to learn about ways to support healthy pregnancies
- Ways to showcase local FASD initiatives on a national scale, using social media
- Producing media that tells the stories of people’s lives in ways that show their diversity and interconnectivity
You can find the full Symposium report here.