September 9th is International FASD Day

First celebrated in 1999, FASD day is devoted to raising awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) to improve prevention of FASD and diagnosis and support for individuals with FASD.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a lifelong disability that affects the brain and body of people who were exposed to alcohol in the womb. Each person with FASD has both strengths and challenges and will need special supports to help them succeed with many different parts of their daily lives.

Countdown to FASD Day!

FASD Awareness Month

Throughout the month of September, events are held across Canada and around the world in recognition of FASD Day. But FASD awareness initiatives deserve more than one day of focus.

The Government of Canada officially recognized September as FASD Awareness Month in 2020. At CanFASD, we celebrate both FASD Day and FASD Month and encourage communities to continue to work towards increased awareness of FASD throughout the whole month of September and beyond.

2022 Theme: Building Strengths and Abilities

The theme for this year’s FASD awareness month is Building Strengths and Abilities. Historically, much of the research and discussion about FASD has focused on challenges. While this discussion is necessary, it is also important recognize people’s unique talents, abilities, and interests. When we don’t explore the success of people with FASD and celebrate their contributions, we fail to recognize their immense potential.

When we understand what people are good at and what motivates them, we can better set them up for future success. Talents, strengths, interests, and abilities should be recognized and celebrated at all times, especially during FASD Awareness Month.

Our theme Building Strengths and Abilities goes beyond celebrating the strengths of those with FASD. It also recognizes the strengths and abilities of families and community members and those who are pregnant or parenting.

We invite you to celebrate your abilities and strengths this FASD Month using the hashtag #FASDMonth2022! Let’s change the conversation around FASD and embrace our strengths and abilities. Check out our toolkit to learn more about our theme and download our resources.

Stock image: posed by model
Stock image: posed by model

History of FASD Day

FASD Awareness Day was first started by three parent advocates from Canada and the United States. They wanted to bring attention to FASD and the impact prenatal exposure to alcohol has on fetal development. They chose to recognize FASD Day on the ninth day of the ninth month to highlight the importance of going alcohol free for the full nine months of pregnancy. The first day was celebrated on 9/9/99. Since then, FASD Day has become a global movement, with countries from all around the world participating.

Red Shoes Rock

Red Shoes Rock is an incredible grassroots movement that has gained international recognition. The idea behind Red Shoes Rock is simple: wear red shoes at FASD events to bring attention to this disability.

Red shoes became a symbol for FASD awareness after Canadian educator and advocate, RJ Formanek, wore red shoes on an international stage to talk about FASD. For him, wearing red shoes are a symbol of power and strength.

“Red shoes were critical to my narrative, they were the key to it all. They were all about being different… They spoke of speed, of freedom of thought and being different, and red running shoes with the power suit sent a message out there to the world.”

– RJ Formanek

The Red Shoes Rock movement started in 2013 and grew as more community members got involved to increase visibility. Dedicated to making a positive impact on the world, the organizers continue to collaborate with organizations and communities around the world. Read more about Red Shoes Rock here.

This FASD Month, wear red shoes and help bring attention to FASD. Don’t have red shoes? No worries! Add a red shirt or pants to your outfit instead. Be sure to share on social media using the hashtag #RedShoesRock.

Canada Rocks Red for FASD in 2022

Along with community members, buildings and monuments across Canada will also be rocking red in September. This year, iconic Canadian monuments and landmarks will be lighting up red on September 9th in honour of FASD Awareness Day. Check out our full list to find a participating monument near you.

Close up of person in red shoes standing in grass

GET INVOLVED

Attend an Event

Many community members host awareness walks, community lunches, and/or virtual and in-personal events in honour of FASD Awareness Day. Check out your local or regional FASD organization to find an event near you or take a look at our list of events!

Are you hosting an event in Canada? Tell us what, when, and where. We will share it on our channels to help community members get involved.

Rock Your Red Shoes

Wear your red shoes on FASD Day, throughout FASD month, and at local events. Be part of a global community that is bringing a voice to those impacted by FASD. Share your red shoes on social media using the hashtag #RedShoesRock.

Share your Strengths

Celebrate your strengths and abilities by sharing your successes, your talents, and interests! Tell us what you’re good at, what you like to do, and what you’ve accomplished. Help fight the negative stereotypes about FASD by building strengths and abilities. Use the hashtag #RedShoesRock and #FASDMonth2022 to spread the word!

Watch Canada Light Up Red for FASD

Monuments and landmarks across Canada will be lighting up red on September 9th in honour of FASD Awareness Day. Grab your friends and family members to go see the lights. Share with the hashtag #FASDMonth2022.

Support a National FASD Strategy

CanFASD is working hard to encourage our federal government to develop a National FASD Strategy. Help us achieve this goal by reaching out to your local government representatives. Want to help but not sure where to start? Fill out this form and we will connect you with your Member of Parliament (MP) and give you some talking points to focus on!

Learn

Whether you’re an expert in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder or just you’ve just heard the term “FASD” for the first time, there’s always more to learn. Here are a few key resources to look at this FASD Month:

Foundations in FASD Online Course

Balancing the Story of FASD

Strengths Among Individuals with FASD

Donate

Donate to CanFASD or other FASD organizations that are working hard to improve the health and wellbeing of Canadians. If you are unable to make a financial contribution, donate your time and attention to this cause. Volunteer with local organizations and attend FASD month events in your community.

2022 FASD MONTH TOOLKIT

These resources were last updated on August 10, 2022 due to a spelling error

The work doesn’t stop after September.

Help us continue to raise awareness of FASD in Canada!