FASD Awareness Day, September 9

To the Editor;
September 9th is International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder awareness day. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, or FASD, is an umbrella term used to describe the range of disabilities caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol.  Individuals affected may have significant cognitive and/or behavioral problems which can look like difficulties with memory, attention, self-care, decision making and social skills.
Whether individuals are part of biological, adoptive or foster families, FASD can have a dramatic impact not only for the individual but also for their families,
As the parent of a now 21 year old young woman, I can say that the journey can be an emotional roller coaster. Each celebrated milestone can be overshadowed by the daunting task of keeping your child safe in a world that does not yet fully understand the impact of FASD. With no concept of cause and effect, my daughter ended up in the criminal justice system. It is sad but, she did relatively well in jail. The reason being she had boundaries and rules, an important part of what keeps her safe.  A year later, after many trips to court we were fortunate enough to have found a secure, safe placement for her to live. This is no easy task. Finding places to live that can offer individuals with FASD the opportunity to be safe, and to keep communities safe is difficult. Some would say my daughter is an adult and has rights and freedoms. I am not asking that her rights and freedoms be taken away, but with an IQ of 56, I am asking that we adjust them to an appropriate level that will make her journey a successful one and keep the people in the community she resides in safe.
My wish is that more people become aware of FASD and the challenges faced not only by the individuals and those that love them, but by the enormous financial burden placed on our Justice and Health Services that try to work to find a way to help these individuals. For individuals affected and those that care for and love them, it is a life long journey, yet FASD is preventable!
Sue Roughley
Hanna AB