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International FASD Awareness Day

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FASD Awareness Day

Around the world, the month of September has been identified as FASD month – the ninth month of the year to raise awareness about FASD and the importance of alcohol free pregnancy. Typically, events are centred around the 9th day of the 9th month. There is no known safe amount of alcohol which can be consumed during pregnancy and the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia (NHMRC) and the Australian Government Department of Health and other affiliated medical bodies all advise that no alcohol is the safest choice.

FASD Awareness Day began in 1999, initiated by Bonnie Buxton, Brain Philcox and Teresa Kellerman. The first FASD Awareness Day attracted interest worldwide including; New Zealand, followed by South Australia, South Africa, Italy, Germany, Sweden, United States of America and Canada.

Community events to mark FASD Awareness Day now take place around the world providing opportunities for communities to raise awareness about FASD, to pause, to reflect and consider the benefits of an alcohol free pregnancy and to share this prevention message across the world.

Each year increasing numbers of agencies around Australia acknowledge FASD Day to highlight concerns about alcohol exposed pregnancies, to raise awareness of FASD and to underline that alcohol in pregnancy is a whole of community concern and not solely a women’s issue.

There are lots of ideas for community events to mark FASD Awareness Day. These include:

  • FASD awareness campaign

  • Pregnant Pause event

  • BreakFASD

  • Walk-along

  • Ring some bells

  • Proclamation signed by an official person

  • Show a video or make a presentation

  • Start a FASD support group

Some events from around Australia

September 2017 saw an unprecedented number of innovative and creative events held to raise awareness about FASD. The 9th month, the 9th day, the 9th hour - all the ‘nines’ were used to mark and acknowledge the importance of the nine months of pregnancy being alcohol free. NOFASD would like to thank and acknowledge the people across Australia who made interesting and informative events about FASD come alive in their towns and cities.

Highlights included an information flower cart about alcohol and pregnancy in Westfield’s Pitt Street Sydney Mall

A  Queensland FASD Symposium and an organisation wide in-service for staff of the Child Nutrition Team at Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPYLands Women's Council. Staff members participated in a quiz, challenged misconceptions around the behaviours of people with FASD through a mix and match activity, used play dough to mould the physical effects of alcohol on a developing brain and were made to 'walk the line' wearing beer goggles to reflect on the effects alcohol may have on a growing fetus. 

Albany, in WA, held a Flash Mob event at the Farmers Market thanks to Market Coordinator Ian Haines. The organisers were members of the Albany Youth Advisory Council (YAK), backed by the City of Albany and the WA Country Health Service – Great Southern region. The flash mob of pregnant men and women attracted the attention of many.

In Alice Springs, the Central Australian FASD Network comprising 20-member agencies took the opportunity to launch a 3 year strategic plan to promote collaboration and service integration and the Australian Government announced $8 million in funding for new Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) diagnostic and prevention services around Australia.

Faith a 9 year old girl living with FASD hosted a fete to raise awareness of FASD.

Radio MAMA - an Aboriginal community driven radio program based in Geraldton and Carnarvon set up a stall on the 9/9 at the Carnarvon markets, with the help of medical students from the Rural Clinical School of WA and discussed FASD, answered community questions and record radio announcements surrounding FASD were played on Radio MAMA


QLD FASD SUPPORT GROUP invited parents and carers to join them for a coffee and play morning get together on the 9th September at 9am.

Brighter Futures in Cobar NSW hosted a morning picnic in the local park to create awareness about FASD and the importance of alcohol free pregnancy on Tuesday 5th September for FASD awareness

There were many more events and together they raised awareness community wide. Media stories were generated across Australia because of the actions undertaken by NOFASD network members, supporters and others working to prevent alcohol exposed pregnancies and ensure that FASD is visible and understood as a disability. One organiser commented that she had a conversation about FASD with a young passer-by who said that she thought 3 glasses of wine a day was the upper limit of consumption – highlighting the importance of nation-wide efforts to ensure a simple and clear message that for women who are pregnant, planning or could be – no alcohol is the safest choice.

Latest news

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