September 9th, is International FASD – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder – Awareness Day. In today’s blog post, Sue Reardon discusses FASD and shares an informational video to raise awareness.
FASD stands for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and is a term used to describe the effects on the child of a mother who drinks alcohol during pregnancy. The 9th hour of the 9th day of the 9th month was chosen to represent the number of months a baby is at risk if a mother drinks during pregnancy. In some areas, church bells ring at 9:09 am. Coincidentally, the first FASD Awareness Day was celebrated in 1999.
FASD encompasses a wide variety of symptoms and diagnoses, including: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND) formerly known as Fetal Alcohol Effect and Alcohol Related Birth Defects (ARBD). It is important to note that alcohol affects every child differently and each case is unique. However, research indicates that there is no safe time or safe amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
Signs of FASD are:
- Abnormal facial features
- Small head size
- Shorter-than-average height
- Low body weight
- Poor coordination
- Hyperactive behavior
- Difficulty paying attention
- Poor memory
- Difficulty in school (especially with math)
- Learning disabilities
- Speech and language delays
- Intellectual disability or low IQ
- Poor reasoning and judgment skills
- Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
- Vision or hearing problems
- Problem with heart, kidneys or bones
Children with FASD benefit greatly by receiving a diagnosis by the age of 6. Children also benefit form receiving special education services in conjunction with being raised in a stable and loving environment. Because Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are 100% preventable, there is often a stigma attached to such labels. Raising awareness and DE-stigmatizing disabilities like FASD is critical.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists shares the message “Think. Don’t Drink” through this brief video. The video also introduces you a woman born with FASD and her adoptive mother.
To learn more about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Living With FASD is hosting a FREE 12 day online Teleseminar. These teleseminars are designed for families living with FASD and may be a tremendous benefit to those considering adopting a child who has been prenatally exposed to alcohol. The teleseminars are hosted by 22 parents and professionals over the course of 12 days. Sign up at any time over the next 12 days at http://livingwithfasd.com/register/.
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