York Region marks Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day on September 9
The Regional Municipality of York will mark International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day (FASD) on Sunday, September 9. Annually recognized on the ninth day of the ninth month, the day raises awareness about the dangers of alcohol use during pregnancy.
Alcohol can damage the brain and nervous system of an unborn child by passing through the woman’s placenta, into the baby’s bloodstream and interfering with oxygen and nutrients required for growth.
FASD is an important public health issue, with approximately nine out of 1,000 babies born in Canada affected with some degree of the disorder. FASD may include physical disabilities, brain and central nervous system impairments and behavioural or learning challenges. It is the leading cause of preventable brain damage and birth defects in Canadian children and leading form of developmental delay in North America.
There is no known cure for FASD; however, it can be prevented. To be safe, do not drink alcohol while pregnant and also avoid it if you are planning a pregnancy.
York Region Community and Health Services offers prenatal classes for pregnant women and partners covering a range of issues, including healthy lifestyles. The All Babies Count (ABC) prenatal program provides counselling and nutrition advice during pregnancy for teens, single women and newcomers. Through York Region’s Early Intervention Services, families of children with developmental delays, including FASD, can receive support to help understand their child’s growth and development.
To support healthy communities, York Region Community and Health Services formed the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Coalition of York Region, comprised of representatives from a range of community services working together to support a coordinated community response to FASD. The FASD Coalition of York Region hosts a bi-annual conference, as well as providing educational opportunities for professionals, parents and foster parents and a FASD resource library.
To learn more about FASD or alcohol use during pregnancy please visit www.beststart.org
or call the FASD Coalition of York Region at 1-866-481-2607 ext 2351.
For details on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day (FASD Day), visit www.fasday.com
To register for York Region’s prenatal class or the All Babies Count prenatal program, please call York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653, TTY 1-866-252-9933. For information on Early Intervention Services or to make a referral, call the KIDS LINE at 1-888-703-KIDS (5437).
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Media Contact: Lisa Sposito, Community and Health Services, The Regional Municipality of York