Highlight on Canadian FASD Service Providers: Manitoba FASD Coalition

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The Manitoba FASD Coalition is a provincial collaborative network of people and organizations who come together to support prevention, education, research and intervention work in the field of FASD. In 2014, at a province-wide coalition meeting, a group of Manitobans-  including parents of children with FASD, women who used alcohol during pregnancy, community members, First Nations communities, government and service providers- shared their thoughts on how to end stigma around FASD.This resulted in a vision for a long-term dignity promotion project, with the goal of allowing people with FASD and women who use alcohol during pregnancy, to be fully accepted and supported in society. The project received the name: Looking After Each Other.

The work of the Looking After Each Other Project is posted on the Manitoba FASD Coalition website and includes the work of 3 subcommittees:

  • Creating common language when talking about FASD
  • Involvement in research to ensure more respectful and timely service delivery for those impacted by FASD
  • Popular education initiatives using proper language and considering the dignity of individuals with FASD

1) Common Language

  • The Language Guide includes alternatives to words and phrases that promote stigma around individuals with FASD, and women who consume alcohol while pregnant
  • It is a dynamic document that will change over time to reflect appropriate language, and is used as a tool to promote dignity for individuals with FASD and their families
  • Looking After Each Other joined with the Frameworks Institute to examine the gaps between the “expert view” and the general public’s view of FASD in Manitoba, in order to explore more effective ways to communicate about FASD. This 2017 report, entitled “Seeing the Spectrum,” provides initial recommendations to reframe FASD in ways that will promote greater dignity, understanding, and support.

2) Research

  • Strengths-based research is used to inform successful intervention practices for individuals with FASD, their families, and the community
  • In collaboration with the University of Manitoba, current research is looking at the impact of stigma and judgement on individuals with FASD, their families and communities. The goal is to facilitate dignity, among systems and services, between families and providers, within the community and among those with various cultural backgrounds

3) Popular Education

  • Creating material, events and projects that encourage acceptance and support, of those impacted by FASD
  • The Popular Education committee has completed 3 videos:
    • The first video, “A Place Where I Belong: Community Making a Difference,” includes a document that answers questions about how service providers, caregivers and communities can support individuals with FASD in their localities.
    • The second video, “Meeting Women Where They Are At: Community Making a Difference,” shows how using effective, respectful person-centered support within community programs can, foster resilience and strength among women who use substances.  It includes a document on beginning conversations with women about addictions.
    • The third video, “Learning the Dance: Community Making a Difference,” focuses on how two community schools foster a sense of belonging for students with FASD by working together to develop relationships, reframe behaviors and build on the strengths of their students. Again, it is followed by a document that helps those who watched the video to pull out useful tools for use in any school.

Thank you for your important contributions to the field of FASD- keep it up!

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