ABOUT FASD AWARENESS SOUTH EAST
Registered in 2018, FASD Awareness South East is a charitable organisation with a clear vision – where all people are aware of the dangers of alcohol use during pregnancy and mothers are supported to stay healthy and strong during pregnancy, and individuals living with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are identified, recognised, valued and supported.
How much alcohol does the Government say is safe to drink during pregnancy?
There have been conflicting views surrounding this subject for some years. We hear of stories of doctors still saying a glass of red wine is ok! Some years ago, it was recommended to drink half a pint of Guinness a day to help a woman’s iron levels! Today this is hard for us to conceive. Overcoming the ideas and perceptions of many years is one of our biggest challenges.
At FASD Awareness South East we follow the UK’s Chief Medical Officer’s recommendation that, "If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum. Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long term harm to the baby".
FASD IS A SERIOUS PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE
FASD occurs in all parts of UK society where alcohol is consumed and is a social issue not just a medical condition
A recent UK based study showed up to 17% of children screened had symptoms consistent with FASD
(Dr Cheryl McQuire, researcher in epidemiology and alcohol-related outcomes at the University of Bristol led the research, which is published in the journal Preventative Medicine. Nov.2018. This research was achieved in conjunction with Dr. Raja Mukherjee)
The UK has the fourth highest level of prenatal alcohol use in the world, and around three quarters of looked-after children are deemed at risk
(McQuire, Mukerjee 2018)
FASD is a disability which often remains hidden or misunderstood by the wider population. This condition is the most common cause of neurodisability in the Western world and presents around 3-6 times the rate of Autism Spectrum Disorder in the UK
“There are more children born each year with FASD than with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) combined”
(Shelly L Bania, BA, CPC-R, Project Director for Federal contract(s) Screening, Referral for Diagnosis and Case Managed Treatment Plans for Youth with an FASD, and FASD Prevention)
The High Sheriff of Kent Awards 2019 (Left to right): Jane Ashton, Tracy Allen FASD SE Co-Founder, Steven FASD SE Ambassador and Andrew Keeping FASD Chairman.
Despite slow but steady progress, there is still not enough training or research funding, and a lack of understanding still in the general population about FASD. If more awareness and training isn't rolled out to the medical professionals, non-medical professionals and teachers, children will be misdiagnosed and left without the suitable provisions in place to support them to lead fulfilled lives. We believe that research and a greater understanding of FASD is not only essential to those living with FASD but will have a significant effect on society as a whole in the future.
Through FASD Awareness SE’s #BeAware campaign we are increasing both the public & professionals’ awareness of the lifelong physical and/or neurodevelopmental impairments that can result from foetal alcohol exposure and of the lifelong impacts on individuals, their families, caregivers and the wider community.
With the knowledge of dedicated professionals, passionate and experienced carers, volunteers and our proud ambassadors living with FASD, we have launched a media campaign, training & education services, and invaluable monthly support groups to families and organisations in the South East region of the country. We are a valuable source of signposting to the necessary provisions throughout the country.
When we were preparing the second of our commissioned films, we met with an amazing pioneering birth mother (Pip Williams). She was a huge influence on challenging our thinking around the reasons why a woman might drink alcohol during pregnancy. Sadly, Pip recently passed away, however her valuable message continues to spread, and take away the stigma, and preconceived ideas surrounding birth mothers.
Over the past couple of years there has been a seismic shift in the understanding and even the language that we use referring to all things FASD, supported by the research and data compiled by pioneering organisations in Australian, US and Canada. Here at FASD Awareness SE we follow this move and try to promote education, understanding and support in a respectful and non-judgmental manner in order to reduce the negativity and stigma often associated with FASD.
In 2019 our work in the South East region of Britain was acknowledged and we were awarded the High Sheriff of Kent’s Award.
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT OUR WORK
FASD Awareness South East receives no money from the Government, so we are 100% reliant on the generosity and support of members of the public and grant-making organisations to be able to support people living with FASD in the South East.
We are always looking for enthusiastic people to help with our work and raise a greater awareness about FASD. We have a range of volunteering opportunities for you to get involved with, from helping us raise much needed funds to distributing resources to spread the word about our vital support services.
If you would like to help us with our fundraising, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To make a donation or become a volunteer, please email: email@example.com