Tools boost FASD awareness

To kick off Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Prevention and Support Month, the B.C. government is launching an awareness campaign.

  • Sep. 6, 2012 3:00 p.m.

To kick off Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Prevention and Support Month, the B.C. government is launching an awareness campaign with new online tools and an interactive quiz to get people of all ages involved.

Every September, B.C. marks FASD Prevention and Support Month and FASD Prevention and Support Day (Sept. 9), chosen to reflect the nine months of pregnancy.

An FASD awareness trivia game mirrored after the popular Jeopardy! game show and interactive quiz are now posted on B.C.’s Best Chance website, featuring questions and trivia that relate to pregnancy and the effects of drinking alcohol while pregnant: www.bestchance.gov.bc.ca/tools-and-resources/interactive-tools/interactive-tools.html.

Communities and organizations throughout the province can also tap into a new online toolkit that includes suggestions for FASD prevention and awareness activities, as well as information on the resources available for children and families impacted by FASD. The toolkit is available at: www.health.gov.bc.ca/women-and-children/publications.html. The new online tools build on the annual FASD awareness campaign featured in all BC Liquor Stores throughout the month. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch teamed up with the B.C. government, BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre and the Public Health Agency of Canada to develop pamphlets, posters and window clings.

The materials are available to download by anyone with an interest in FASD prevention and raising awareness at: www.bcliquorstores.com/alcohol-pregnancy

Promoting healthy practices during pregnancy through public education and awareness is part of B.C.’s 10-year FASD Strategic Plan (2008-2018). The plan is reflected in the Families First Agenda for B.C.

The Families First Agenda provides information about how government supports families throughout the province. It describes a range of established programs and some new ideas to help make life more affordable, support vulnerable families and keep communities safe.

To read the agenda, share your ideas or provide feedback, visit: www.FamiliesFirstBC.ca

“The new trivia game, quiz and toolkit are meant to get people thinking and talking about FASD, and recognizing the life-long impacts that FASD has,” says Mary McNeil, minister of children and family development. “Raising community awareness is key — and that’s why we are working together in collaboration to generate accessible information, which will in turn help our prevention and awareness efforts.”

FASD is an umbrella term that describes the range of effects that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects can include physical, mental, behavioural and/or learning disabilities with lifelong implications.

Health Canada estimates nine in every 1,000 infants are born with FASD. Through partnerships between the provincial government, health authorities, school districts and community organizations, FASDprograms are available throughout B.C.

In 2011, the B.C. government launched the Healthy Families BC strategy that includes Healthy Start. Healthy Start provides prenatal and postpartum support to all expectant mothers, and nurses offer support to at-risk mothers to support healthy pregnancies.

Since 2006, Ministry of Children and Family Development has been delivering the Key Worker and Parent Support program to give families personalized support and information specific to their needs.

Adults with FASD can seek services and support through Community Living BC’s Personalized Supports Initiative, introduced in 2010. As a leader in FASD prevention, diagnosis, assessment, and intervention, B.C. is a member of the Canada Northwest FASD Partnership, an alliance of the four western provinces and three territories that works together to enhance prevention, diagnosis and support.

The partnership supports research in FASD through the Canada FASD Research Network: www.canfasd.ca.

Resources for expectant mothers and new parents can be found at www.bestchance.gov.bc.ca.

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