International FASD Awareness Day 2018 highlights

Australians hosted events across the country to raise awareness about FASD

September is International FASD Awareness Month, with a focus on the 9th day of the 9th month as a time for communities to raise awareness about FASD and to support alcohol free pregnancies. NOFASD Australia would like to thank and acknowledge the people across Australia who hosted and attended creative, informative events about FASD in their towns and cities. There were far too many fantastic events to list them all here, but a few highlights are described below. 

Victorian FASD Special Interest Group’s FASD Awareness Day

The Victorian FASD Special Interest Group hosted a free event to raise awareness of FASD and provide information about diagnosis, intervention, and support. FASD specialist Dr Doug Shelton, consultant paediatrician and director of the FASD clinic at Gold Coast Health, was the keynote speaker with his address Why Diagnose FASD? What difference does it make? The event also included short presentations and workshops. Watch Dr Shelton’s address and some other highlights below.

Dr Doug Shelton’s keynote address: Why Diagnose FASD? What Difference Does it Make?

NOFASD staff member Sophie Harrington set up and ready for action at the FASD Awareness Day

Gilbert + Tobin Policy Paper Launch in Melbourne

The pro bono team at Gilbert + Tobin law firm launched a paper calling on WA policymakers to engage experts to develop a definitive definition of “cognitive impairment” which includes FASD. The paper also calls for an investigation into the support available for people with FASD involved in the criminal justice system, and how the disability could be taken into account in the courts.

Former chief justice Wayne Martin, who was critical of the way WA handled offenders with FASD during his 12 years as WA’s top judge, has joined the push by Gilbert & Tobin urging the Government to investigate where and why sufferers are excluded from disability services. Read more here 

Trish Hepworth (Director Policy & Research of FARE), Cheryl Dedman (NOFASD Board Chair), and Jeff McMullen (NOFASD Ambassador)

Students in Fitzroy Valley marched to make FASD history

Fitzroy Valley school students and community members marched in support of FASD Awareness Day to raise awareness about the risks of alcohol and the importance of alcohol-free pregnancies.

Sunshine Coast Local Drug Action Team launch

A group of local NGOs received a Federal Government grant to form a Local Drug Action Team to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking while pregnant and to support those living with FASD. The team hosted a community forum to gather ideas and input on what will work best in this community.

Kerry Neil opened the event with a welcome to country

Andrew Wallace, Joanne Paringatai, Louise Gray, Cherie McGregor, Ted White, Heather Jones, Heidi Webster, and Judy Shea at the lauch

FASD conversations with doctors at the RANZCOG Annual Scientific Meeting

FARE Australia facilitated an opportunity for FASD specialists to talk to doctors about alcohol and pregnancy messaging at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) 2018 event.

Associate Professor Carmela Pestell, Sue Miers AM (NOFASD Founder) and Susan Hickson (FARE Australia)

Alice Springs FASD Awareness Day BBQ

An International FASD Awareness Day BBQ was hosted by the Alice Springs FASD Support Group at the Telegraph Station. The event focused on using alternative drinks while pregnant. 

FASD information sessions and training

NOFASD Australia hosted a FASD information session in Shepparton for parents, carers and service providers. We also delivered two Train it Forward FASD Masterclasses for parents, carers and service providers, which provide the knowledge and tools for graduates to become FASD advocates in their workplace and community. 

NOFASD’s Sophie Harrington and Robyn Smith

Train it Forward Masterclass

Red Shoes Rock

In it’s 5th year, the Red Shoes Rock campaign is a huge international movement which is raising awareness about the needs of those with FASD and the importance of alcohol free pregnancies. The movement was started by RJ Formanek, an adult with FASD, who decided to wear red shoes to stand out, be noticed and have some fun starting FASD conversations with strangers.

NOFASD Australia’s team supported Red Shoes Rock throughout September, starting conversations in person and online with our red shoes and our pets.

Internationally, social media was flooded with red shoe images and the hashtag #RedShoesRock as people got behind the movement to raise awareness of FASD.

This year the Red Shoes Rock team celebrated FASD Pioneers – people who have made a long and lasting contribution to prevention and support for FASD. This list includes NOFASD’s founder Sue Miers, ambassador Liz Elliott, and former board member Neroli Endacott.

In Tasmania, the Drug Education Network (DEN) hosted a ‘Red Shoes Rock’ breakfast at Milpara Early Learning Centre, Burnie. DEN Educator Marion Hale was on hand to chat about prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Those attending wore red shoes to help promote the message that there is no safe level of drinking during pregnancy.

International Events for FASD Awareness Day

As there were so many fantastic events worldwide it is not possible to do them justice here, however here are a few examples of International FASD Awareness Day events. Of course, FASD awareness information was shared in many different languages worldwide.

European Conference on FASD, Germany

The European conference brought together academics, educators, non-government organisations, politicians, lawyers and individuals involved in the criminal justice system, birth and adoptive families and individuals who have FASD. This conference was  co-organised by the EU FASD Alliance and FASD Deutschland and attracted nearly 400 delegates from many countries to share knowledge about FASD. 

Diane Black, Chair of the European FASD Alliance, presenting at the 2018 European Conference on FASD

Louise Gray, Executive Officer of NOFASD Australia, presenting at the 2018 European Conference on FASD

FASD rally in Ottawa, Canada

Nearly 100 people gathered at Canada’s Parliament Hill and walked through the city to raise awareness about FASD and let families know what services are available in the city. Read more

Advertising campaign unveiled in New Hampshire, USA

A public advertising campaign was launched in New Hampshire with a new poster to be displayed in the state’s Liquor & Wine Outlets promoting the message that no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. The posters encourage people to talk to their healthcare provider, call the health hotline, or contact NOFASD for information and support about alcohol and pregnancy. 

Photo taken from Manchester Ink LInk
Deborah Schachter (NH Charitable Foundation), Rekha Sreedhara (Community Health Institute/Center for Excellence), Dan St. Hilaire (NH Liquor Commission), Patricia Tilley (Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services), Melissa Schoemmell (Community Health Institute/Center for Excellence), Kat Howland (Partnership for a Drug-Free NH), Devin Oot (Partnership for a Drug-Free NH) and Louise Brassard (National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, NH Chapter)

Book launched for children with FASD, UK

To mark the 2018 International FASD Awareness Day, NOFAS-UK is pleased to launch an innovative booklet designed to promote wellbeing among children with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). It provides information in a fun and visual format, emphasising the strengths of those with FASD and highlighting strategies that can help.” Read more

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