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September 9 - International FASD Awareness Day
The Province of Manitoba has officially proclaimed September 9 as FASD Awareness Day. People across Manitoba are being encouraged to stop and think about FASD - Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

FASD is a medical diagnostic term used to describe the range of effects that can occur in an individual who was exposed to alcohol prenatally. FASD is often referred to as an “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 life-long. Health Canada estimates that nine in every 1,000 children born in Canada have FASD.

On September 9, it is acknowledged that FASD exists across many cultures and countries around the world and that many people in communities across the Interlake-Eastern region struggle with its effects as well.

Interlake-Eastern RHA (IERHA) has two FASD diagnostic coordinators who specialize in the referral and assessment process and provide education and support to families going through the process. Sherisse Picklyk Dear covers the central part of the region including Selkirk and north up highway 59, 9, 8, 7, and 6. Devon Ungurain covers the eastern side of the region including Beausejour, Lac du Bonnet, Pinawa and Pine Falls and some fly-in communities. For more information on the referral process, please contact Sherisse 785-7547, spicklykdear@ierha.ca or Devon 268-7705, dungurain@ierha.ca

The Manitoba Key Worker program is unique to Canada and only available in the IERHA. A key worker provides intensive support and education to caregivers whose children are exposed to alcohol prenatally or who have an FASD diagnosis. For more information about this program please call Shannon Foster at 785-7548 or email sfoster@ierha.ca.

The Interlake FASD Coalition includes people from across the Interlake who are committed to learning more about FASD and sharing community resources, strategies and supports. If you would like to know more or become a member of the coalition, please contact Sherisse at 785-7547 or email spicklykdear@ierha.ca.

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