Today is the last day of FASD Awareness Month. Dedicated to improving knowledge and understanding of this disability and celebrating the successes of those with FASD, the month of September is full of events and activities for everyone.
Creative ways to celebrate
Despite the changes a global pandemic brings, people all across Canada banded together to celebrate FASD Awareness Month. From socially distanced awareness walks to viral videos and everything in between, the FASD community has found some very creative ways to raise awareness.
The FASD community takes on the Don’t Rush Challenge in celebration of FASD Awareness Day
Saskatchewan officially proclaims September 9th as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Day
Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society puts 99 red balloons around their town to raise awareness of FASD
Government House in Newfoundland glows red in honour of FASD Awareness Day
Virtual FASD Awareness Day Pow Wow in Thunder Bay a huge success despite COVID-19 challenges
Face masks in Saskatchewan promote changing the conversation and challenging the stigma surrounding FASD
Federal, provincial, and territorial governments weigh in
We saw a lot of headlines about FASD month in newspapers and online media journals across Canada, including some exciting announcements from federal and provincial governments.
The Government of Canada has officially declared September as FASD Awareness Month. Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, also acknowledged September as FASD Awareness Month in a public statement. She highlighted the importance of continuing to encourage healthy pregnancies and healthy families during the COVID-19 pandemic and warned of the risks of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
The Government of Ontario announced $3 million annually in funding to support people with FASD. The investment initiatives include providing more FASD support workers, implementing workshops to help families develop support skills, increased training for service providers, caregiver and family support groups, and a public awareness campaign.
Alberta’s Minister of Community and Social Services, Rahan Sawhey, announced that the Government of Alberta has declared September 9th Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day. Alberta now joins many towns, cities, provinces, and territories across Canada who devote September 9th to FASD Awareness activities. The Minister reminded us that we all play a role in supporting expectant mothers to have healthy pregnancies and she highlighted the work of the 12 FASD Service Networks across the province of Alberta, as well as the work of CanFASD.
More still to do
A CanFASD researcher recently published an article in the Conversation Canada that talked about the impact that COVID-19 was having on the FASD community and raised concerns about a potential increase in FASD prevalence rates as people are turning to alcohol to cope with the challenges of the pandemic. The difficulties that people with FASD and their families face have been shared over and over again. And they are still experiencing challenges accessing supports and services.
These problems show just how important the FASD Awareness Month movement is. But – despite the success of FASD Month – we have to continue raising awareness of this disability beyond the month of September. You can help by:
• Continuing to share information and resources about FASD
• Connecting with CanFASD and other FASD organizations
• Using the right language when talking about FASD, alcohol, and pregnancy
• Donating to our organization to contribute to the development of more research and resources
Thank you to everyone who helped bring awareness and attention to FASD this September. We loved hearing all your stories and reading all your comments. Feel free to connect with us further by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.