International FASD Awareness Day

Friday 9 September is International FASD Awareness Day, a day that is dedicated to raising awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

International FASD Awareness Day is observed every year on 9 September at 9:09am in recognition of the nine months of a pregnancy. The day aims to raise awareness about the risks associated with drinking alcohol during pregnancy and to increase the profile of FASD, the leading preventable cause of non-genetic developmental disability in Australia.

This year the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) is joining Australian, and international, efforts by asking people to raise awareness on social media and commit to being alcohol free for the day. We’re also asking you to support health professionals who are pledging to speak to all women about alcohol to prevent FASD.

What is FASD

FASD is an umbrella term for a range of disabilities resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure. FASD is the most common preventable cause of non-genetic, developmental disability in Australia. Children born with FASD have a range of learning, behavioural and developmental disabilities that can affect them for the rest of their lives. Find out more about FARE’s work on FASD.

Pledge your support

The National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (NOFASD) Australia are asking you to show your support by pledging not to consume alcoholic beverages on Friday 9 September.

You can download and share one of the below images FARE has prepared – or print them out and take a photograph of yourself with this message. Feel free to get creative with your photos – it could be a snap of you, your mates, your colleagues, or the entire office.

Then share your post on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, whatever platform you choose) along with the hashtags #FASD and #FASDAwarenessDay. For example you might post, “I’m going alcohol free on 09/09 to support International #FASDAwarenessDay and prevent #FASD”.

If you’re not on social media, you can still take part by speaking to your friends, family and network about this important subject, and including information about International FASD Awareness Day in emails and newsletters that you’re sending out that day or week.

Families and carers

The National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (NOFASD Australia) will be holding a free webinar on the day to assist parents and carers of children with FASD. The session will cover common challenges faced, provide strategies for supporting a child with FASD, and advice on where to go for more assistance and information.

Register for the NOFASD webinar (9am Friday 9 September).

Health professionals

Awareness and understanding of Australia’s drinking guidelines “that it is safest not to consume alcohol while pregnant” still remains too low, with one in five Australian women continuing to drink alcohol after becoming aware of their pregnancy. Health professionals play an important role in educating women about the risks associated with maternal alcohol consumption, and reinforcing that not drinking during pregnancy is the safest option.

FARE’s Women Want to Know campaign provides practical resources to support health professionals to have these conversations with women, as well as accredited training courses and modules through key health professional bodies.

Have you heard about Pregnant Pause? The innovative health promotion campaign from FARE is encouraging Australians to go alcohol free during their pregnancy or the pregnancy of a loved one and has a range of marketing materials available for health professionals to display and pass on to patients and contacts.  To find out more visit, like Pregnant Pause on Facebook, or follow @PregnantPauseAU on Twitter.

Useful links

National Organisation for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (NOFASD) Australia

Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association (RFFADA)

Telethon Kids Institute: Alcohol, pregnancy and FASD

FASD support groups