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Support for parents

Confidential helpline for support and information

The NOFASD team have a deep understanding of the individual and personal journey that parents of children and people with FASD experience. The NOFASD Helpline is confidential and is available 7 days per week 1800 860 613.

You can talk to one of our knowledgeable and supportive staff members in an inclusive and compassionate space. NOFASD is funded by the Australian Government to operate the helpline and to provide online resources for parents, carers and individuals with FASD.

We provided more than 5,600 helpline services to families and agencies last year, aiding callers on their journey to awareness, diagnosis, and support.

Many callers to the NOFASD Helpline are parents. The experiences of grief and loneliness navigating this disability in a family can be challenging. It is common for callers to express relief and feel optimistic when they have given voice to their concerns.

It is important to remember that you are not alone on this journey, supportive and professional advice is available. Knowledge and understanding often leads to improved relationships and family strength. All contacts to NOFASD are protected by privacy laws, confidential and can be anonymous if preferred.

NOFASD has engaged a Biological Parents Advisory Group to help inform and advise on resource development, as advocates and to share knowledge and insights to parents on their FASD journey.

Support for becoming alcohol-free during pregnancy

A resource for women, co-developed by women who have experienced alcohol dependence during pregnancy has been created to provide support.

We know women can struggle in silence with dependence and it is often unrecognised. Pregnancy can be an opportunity to address alcohol and other drug dependence. If you are pregnant and finding it hard not to drink alcohol, help is available.

NOFASD Australia recommends speaking to your GP to gain professional health and medical advice. To stop drinking alcohol when your body has become physically dependent can be dangerous for both you and your developing baby and may require clinical management.

Path2Help is a new confidential information and support pathways directory developed by the Australian Alcohol and Drug Foundation. The Path2Help directory contains information for more than 7,000 alcohol and other drug services across Australia.

You can also access support by contacting:

  • National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline for free and confidential advice about alcohol and other drugs. Callers are automatically directed to the Alcohol and Drug Information Service in their state or territory, phone 1800 250 015
  • Alcoholics Anonymous Australia for self-help and peer support, phone 1300 222 222 or visit org.au.
  • Smart Recovery in Australia for self-help and peer support, visit com.au

The following websites also provide information on support services:

Biological Parents Advisory Group

A mother’s story – the Journey to Diagnosis

Dr Hester Wilson speaks to a panel of four mothers at the APSAD (Australian Professional Scientific Alcohol and Drug Conference 2021), in a “You Can’t Ask That” style question and answer session. Many situations lead to a pregnancy which is exposed to alcohol.

The panel members share their different stories of alcohol use in pregnancy, including their lack of awareness of the potential harms, the impact of unplanned and unexpected pregnancy and being alcohol dependent with nowhere to turn for timely, non-judgemental support to stop drinking.

Pregnancy and Alcohol: The Surprising Reality is NOFASD’s podcast series developed and presented by Kurt Lewis. The podcasts take the listener behind the scenes to chat with the people who really understand FASD.

Visit Pregnancy and Alcohol: The Surprising Reality to listen to three series of podcasts by health professionals, parents, carers and individuals impacted by FASD.

The following podcasts are by mothers, fathers and adults living with FASD who share their emotional journeys on the path of a FASD diagnosis.

‘Karen’ shares the story of her low-level alcohol consumption during pregnancy. At the time of recording, ‘Karen’ wanted to remain anonymous as her family pursued a diagnosis of FASD.

All is revealed when ‘Karen’ becomes Sophie in this podcast, as a follow up to ‘Karen’s story’. Sophie shines a light on some of the reasons why biological mothers may be reluctant to share their stories.

They also talk about the reasons why Sophie has chosen to share her story now and how it can have a positive impact for others.

Sue talks about the tumultuous times she experienced as a mother after watching the ABC’s Four Corners program on FASD called Hidden Harms, and linking her daughter’s behaviours with what she saw in this television story.

Sue shares her passion about the importance of reducing the stigma and blame which biological mothers experience and the critical need to focus on misinformation about the harms of alcohol exposure in pregnancy.

Read more about removing stigma and blame in this article by Dr Heidi Webster, paediatric specialist at the Caloundra FASD clinic in Queensland. FASD the hidden epidemic with ABC News Australia.

A father’s story – My teenage son has FASD

Robert shares his family’s journey to diagnosis and talks about the importance of diagnosis to help him better understand his son’s behavioural symptoms and the different strategies he now uses to support his son.

Geraldine and Lola’s Story

Geraldine shares her story about her alcohol dependency during her pregnancy with her daughter Lola and their journey to a FASD diagnosis.

The importance of early diagnosis

Individuals with FASD can lead a happy, healthy, and successful life, with support. Early diagnosis and individualised support can significantly reduce the high rates of difficulties in daily living and adverse outcomes experienced by individuals. Adverse outcomes, often known as secondary conditions of FASD, are the effects that can occur due to a lack of support and understanding; this may include disruptive school experiences, substance misuse, contact with the criminal justice system, difficulties with independent living, employment and mental ill health concerns.

Knowing the areas in which an individual needs supports in their journey and identifying their strengths, will be life changing for their future. There is hope, and by accessing support you can gain confidence and strength on your journey parenting your neuro-diverse child.

Support for mothers of adults living with FASD

Jessica Birch

Jessica Birch is a passionate advocate for raising awareness of FASD. In this podcast with NOFASD’s host, Kurt Lewis, Jessica talks about her FASD diagnosis as an adult and how she navigates her daily journey living with FASD. Jessica shares how her mother has been an amazing source of strength and compassion throughout her life.

A Journey to Healing – Written by CJ Lutke

Read this powerful and compassionate article about CJ’s mother and dedicated to all mothers.

 

Play Video

FASD: Let’s support mothers and children

Myles Himmelreich is an adult living with FASD and is a FASD consultant and motivational speaker. He shares his story of how having the compassion to listen to and understand a mother’s story helps to reduce judgements and leads to being able to provide them with the right supports and help to reduce the societal stigmas of blame.

– “Sadly, many people will immediately make a judgement, whether it’s said or internalised. Raising awareness of the planning phase, reducing stigma, and looking at more support for women who have an alcohol dependency are key things we can all do.” Myles Himmelreich

We’d love to hear from you

We are conducting a survey to evaluate these resources and we’d love to hear your views. Let us know what you think and you’ll go in the draw to win one of four $75 e-gift cards.

This study titled Consumer perceptions of alcohol and pregnancy health education materials has been approved by the University of Adelaide’s Human Research Ethics Committee (Approval Number: H-2022-153)

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