ABOUT FASD AWARENESS
About FASD Awareness
Registered in 2018, FASD Awareness 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.
According to the British Medical Association, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is the most common, non-genetic cause of learning disability in the UK. It is often misdiagnosed as autism, Asperger Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or simply behavioural problems.
With awareness in the general public still critically low, the demand for education in key sectors - specifically those who are likely to engage with individuals on the FASD spectrum in a professional capacity - is clear. We at FASD Awareness are working to bridge this gap.
FASD Awareness is proud to be a member of the FASD UK Alliance, which is a coalition of groups and individuals from across the UK who are united together for positive social change for those with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).
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 (McGruer 2018).
“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
Through FASD Awareness #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 inspiring ambassadors living with FASD, we have launched a media campaign, training & education services, and invaluable monthly support groups to families and organisations nationally. 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 Australia, US and Canada. Here at FASD Awareness 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 Sherriff of Kents' Award.
FASD Awareness was founded in 2015 by Tracy Allen and Sharon Jackson.
Having fostered children with FASD for over 14 years, Tracy’s strive for a greater understanding of the condition, the need to build a network of professionals with the necessary knowledge, and her tenacity to help others living with FASD, led her to launch the FASD Awareness Campaign in 2015 with Sharon, setting out to raise a greater awareness of the condition and supporting those living with it.
Sharon has fostered over 40 children spanning the past 23 years, whilst also working for the NHS in various roles, including Bereavement Officer at St Thomas' Hospital, London. When Sharon decided to adopt 5 children with FASD, her fight to understand, support and find the best care for her children led her on a 10-year journey to campaign and raise awareness of the condition.
Tracy and Sharon’s experiences in caring for children and adults with FASD has introduced them to a vast network of support and a wealth of useful advice. The difficulties and struggles they have faced during this time have led them to share their own knowledge and experience with others living with FASD.
Our Co-founders could not have imagined the task ahead but caring for children with FASD has taught the ladies one thing – never give up and keep fighting!
In September 2016 the FASD Awareness Campaign hosted a spectacular 'FAS Ball' at Gillingham Football Club. The event was supported by local businesses and included celebrity performances, emotional speeches and films, and an award presented to Dr Kate Ward MBE. The campaign received generous donations, including a large donation from The Tunstall Jubilee Fund, raising enough money to allow them to fulfil their dream and begin setting up as a Charity.
Many volunteers came forward and a board of devoted and passionate trustees, covering a wide skillset, was established. In February 2018 FASD Awareness became a Registered Charity. Tracy and Sharon were now able to begin their journey in earnest, offering information, monthly support groups, training, advice and guidance on obtaining diagnosis and signposting to various other services.
At the start of 2019, Sharon took the decision to stand down from the charity to concentrate on her many other commitments. We would like to thank her for all her hard work and dedication to make life better for those living with FASD and wish her and her wonderful family all the best for the future.
FASD Awareness would like to thank everyone for their support in helping us continue to make a difference to the lives of those living with FASD.