Though they are estimated to affect as many children as Autism (an estimated 1 in 20 U.S. school children), Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) are not widely known. Every year nearly 40,000 babies are born each year in the U.S. with FASDs. FASDs are the only 100% preventable birth defects, yet even many parents are unaware of the impact prenatal exposure to alcohol can have on a child, let alone how to help a child with an FASD thrive in life.
Some Quick Facts:
So what are FASDs? Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is the umbrella term for a collection of disorders caused by exposure to alcohol before birth. The effects vary from person to person, but often include cognitive problems, affecting memory, impulse control, and other important executive functions. FASDs can have some physical features, such as a small head or smooth ridge between the nose and top lip.
However, a study by the National Institue of Health estimates that only 17% of people with an FASD have abnormal facial features, which means the majority of people with an FASD live with an invisible disability. Many of the struggles people with FASDs face are not understood by the public because the disability is not seen. The effects are life-long, but with early intervention, love, and support, people with FASDs can have the chance to make their mark on the world.
Follow these links to learn more about FASDs:
FASD: What Everyone Should Know
CDC FASD Facts
NOFAS (National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)
People with FASD don’t get a say in whether or not they have an FASD. They also don’t get a say in whether or not you and I choose to recognize FASD and respond with understanding. But people with FASDs are working to raise awareness- such as RJ Formanek does with the Red Shoes Rock campaign.
With so many people affected by FASDs, isn’t it time we recognize it as well? There is no better time than now- September 9th is International FASD Awareness Day!
Share this or other articles about FASDs on social media!
Join RJ and thousands of others around the world in wearing red shoes!
Get to know someone in your life who has an FASD!
There are so many ways to offer support and raise awareness, but they all start with the same thing: you!