September 9, 2010
Media Release

The Regional Municipality of York recognizes September 9 as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day

Prevention and early diagnosis important for limiting the impact of FASD
NEWMARKET – The Regional Municipality of York will join organizations from around the world to recognize September 9 as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day.  The day will help generate awareness and greater understanding about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy and the plight of individuals and families who struggle with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
 
FASD is a general term that describes the range of disabilities that may affect a child if the child’s mother consumed alcohol while she was pregnant.  FASD is the leading cause of developmental delays in North America and Health Canada estimates that nine in every 1,000 babies born in Canada are born with FASD. 
 
People with FASD are at high risk for learning disabilities, dropping out of school, drug and alcohol addiction, mental illness, unemployment and poverty.
 
Prevention and early diagnosis are important to lessening the impact of FASD in our community.  FASD is 100 per cent preventable.  Based on current research and Health Canada’s recommendation, there is no safe time or safe amount of alcohol to drink when pregnant or planning to become pregnant. 
 
When a pregnant woman consumes any type of alcoholic beverage, the alcohol passes through the placenta into the developing baby’s bloodstream and remains in the baby’s blood system much longer than in the mothers.  This interferes with the utilization of oxygen and nutrients required for the baby’s growth. 
 
The brain and central nervous system of the unborn child continue to develop throughout the pregnancy and therefore can be damaged by exposure to alcohol at any time during the pregnancy.  Alcohol can damage a growing baby's brain, organs and body, affecting how it thinks, acts, looks and learns as a child and as an adult.
 
In September 2005, the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Coalition of York Region was formed under the leadership of the York Region Early Intervention Services.  Representatives from a range of community services formed the Coalition.  Working together, members support a coordinated community response to FASD in York Region, including prevention, education, identification and intervention.   Supports include a bi-annual conference, periodic educational opportunities for professionals, parents and foster parents, an FASD resource library and a monthly parent/foster parent support group.
 
To learn more about the parent support group, please email fasdsupportgroup@hotmail.com or for more information regarding the Coalition or FASD, call 1-866-481-2607 ext. 2351. 
 
For more information on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day, please visit www.fasday.com
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca
 
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell: 905 716-9753
Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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