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International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day 2017
September 9 is International FASD Awareness Day, and Interlake-Eastern RHA and its community partners will be hosting an event to celebrate those who have FASD and to highlight the services that are available in the region. People around the world are encouraged to stop and think about FASD, a medical diagnostic term used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was exposed to alcohol prenatally. 

“There is no known level of alcohol that is considered safe for a developing fetus. Drinking alcohol while pregnant is a risk factor and can affect a child’s development in a number of ways,” said Sherisse Picklyk Dear, Interlake-Eastern RHA’s FASD diagnostic coordinator. “Individuals with FASD have many strengths and gifts. The support and information that comes from an assessment goes a long way to helping kids reach their full potential.”

FASD is often referred to as a hidden or invisible disability because most people affected have no noticeable physical features. FASD can impair a person’s learning, physical, cognitive, behavior and development.  The effects of FASD are lifelong.  Health Canada estimates that nine in every 1,000 children born in Canada have FASD. 

In recognition of International FASD Awareness Day 2017, Interlake FASD Coalition, Northeastern FASD Coalition and Interlake-Eastern RHA are partnering to provide a learning opportunity for the community on Thursday, September 21 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Selkirk United Church on 202 McLean Avenue in Selkirk. 

Guest presenters from the Visions & Voices adult speakers’ bureau will talk about living with FASD and share their experiences. There will also be a community partners and services fair that will highlight some FASD specific services such as the Stepping Out on Saturdays (SOS) program, coming to Selkirk in October 2017. SOS is respite day camp and social skills program for children ages 8-12 with a diagnosis of FASD.  

To arrange an interview, please contact Lauralou Cicierski, Regional Manager of Public Relations and Communications, at 204-785-4713 or lcicierski@ierha.ca.
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