FASD day Friday

The Comox Valley FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) Community Network joins with other communities across Canada and the world to recognize the need for education.

The Comox Valley FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) Community Network joins with other communities across Canada and the world to recognize the need for education.

Around the world on the ninth minute of the ninth hour of the ninth month, bells will ring to remind communities that drinking alcohol during the nine months of pregnancy could have lifelong consequences.

FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual who has had alcohol exposure. This could happen any time from conception through to the nine months of pregnancy.

There is no safe time or no safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant. Remember: what you consume is what the fetus will also utilize through the bloodstream.

New evidence has shown that if a baby is conceived while there is alcohol in the man’s bloodstream, it can also affect the fetus. The effects may include: physical, mental, behavioural, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong complications.

In Canada, FASD affects more than one in 1,000 babies. It is the largest incidence of any major birth defect in Canada. The effects are life-long and irreversible.

The Comox Valley FASD Community Network is made up of several delegates from organizations within our community and family members interested in making a change in our community through education and promotion of a healthy lifestyle.

The Comox Valley FASD Community Network does not condone “the blame and shame” of consumption of alcohol by mothers during pregnancy, but rather would like to educate families on options.

Pregnancy is a time to take control and choose healthy options that suit our lifestyle and beliefs. These could include: abstinence from either alcohol or sex, the use of contraceptives, and in the case of addiction; trying to cut back on the amount of alcohol that is consumed during the pregnancy.

In the past, the local group has put together a family educational event in our community with entertainment, children’s activities, and food in Simms Park. This year it is hoped to take a presentation to Victoria in conjunction with other community partners.

Hopes for the day include shedding a light on the effects of FASD and sharing the struggles that are incorporated into the everyday lives of people living with FASD.

If you think that someone is affected by FASD and you are looking for more information, in our community you can contact one of the following community resources for more information:

• Comox Valley Family Services Association-Healthy Families Program at 250-871-7577.

• Co-ordinator:  Friday’s Child  (a division of Aboriginal Head Start Program):  250-334-2477.

• Jenny McCloud: Wachiay Friendship Centre at 250-338-7793.

From prenatal groups to preschool education and family support; each of the programs supports families with education and resources.

On Sept. 9, local people will recognize Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Victoria.

— Comox Valley FASD Community Network

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