Last month (September, 2021) was filled with activity here at the SalfordFASD research team, as we remain passionate to always talk about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). We had our much anticipated prevalence study published which attracted significant media attention, the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care published a Needs Assessment report for FASD which mentioned our research, and we donned our FASD T-shirts to celebrate FASD awareness day! Media organisations such as the BBC and other local media outlets published interesting stories and it was heartwarming to realise the positive attention our research is creating. You can hear Penny Cook’s interview here; Robyn McCarthy’s podcast can also be accessed here, while Alan Price participated in a panel of discussion.
FASD awareness day
Every year around the world, in the month of September, people, organisations, and communities gather to celebrate the world awareness month for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). FASD describes a condition that is associated with the drinking of alcohol during pregnancy. The alcohol can damage the unborn baby’s brain, and sometimes lead to behavioural problems in the affected child. The damage can also cause a range of physical health problems.
Although FASD is more common than Downs syndrome or Autism, it is widely under-recognised and under-diagnosed. See more about our research on the prevalence of FASD here.
FASD is usually described as an ‘invisible disability’. This means that for many people with FASD, their disability is not recognised in society because they appear normal and talk normally. However, people with FASD often experience difficulties in everyday functioning because of their FASD. This means that in schools and workplaces, people with FASD may go unnoticed, and their difficulties may be blamed on a ‘bad attitude’ or ‘bad behaviour’. Some of the outcomes of FASD in children include poor academic performance, poor social behaviours, and constant encounters with the police. See more about our research on FASD and the criminal justice system here.
FASD awareness day began in September 1999 and has been used as an opportunity to create awareness about FASD and inform people about the dangers of drinking alcohol in pregnancy. The choice of the ninth day of the ninth month signifies the nine months of pregnancy. Different organisations and communities in different parts of the world organise presentations, dances, walks, runs and different activities to create awareness about FASD.
Therefore, this year we, the University of Salford FASD research team will join forces with individuals, communities and organisations around the world to create awareness about FASD.
Please get in touch if you wish to know more about FASD: FASD21@salford.ac.uk