Community is the foundation of togetherness. It ties families together from all different backgrounds, with common goals of uniting families, creating friendships, learning about one another, and having one another’s backs.
There are thousands, if not millions of communities worldwide. In my walk with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, I have discovered an INCREDIBLE COMMUNITY, with mini communities in nooks and crannies. I have been in awe, and inspired by the communities I have read about and met through stories, interviews, and most recently, the first annual RunFASD 5k that took place in September of 2021. So many communities in the United States banded together and ran, walked, and biked 3.1 miles to educate others about FASD. There were doctors, educators, parents, and children who came together to raise awareness of FASDs.
The FASD community is so incredible. It is created with communities within communities, which are made up of awareness, a desire to learn more and to do better. They have grit and tenacity. They reach out to one another, parents create friendships, and children are introduced to other children that have FASDs. I am blessed to be immersed in the FASD community. When I first got diagnosed, I immersed myself in websites to swell my brain with FASD information. I perused Facebook for FASD groups, and I believe Flying With Broken Wings was my first online FASD community. Everyone was welcoming, they listened to my story, they answered my questions regarding my quirks in an FASD world, and I learned skills and coping mechanisms when I have sensory overload. I have learned there are FASD communites all over the world, and sub communities within those. I have noticed that no matter where in the world an FASD community is, no matter what language they speak, they are each after the same goal. Learning new ways to support those with FASDs, and being there for one another when it feels like they are at the end of their patience.
Where I live, there is no FASD community. Where I live, FASD is not well known. It is not taught in detail to educators, pediatricians or OBs. I want to change this. I am one person, but a community begins with one. One person with a desire to have others join them for a common cause, a common belief. I have this desire, I just have to take a deep breath, and take the first step. I am reminded of the quote from Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” I hope so. Here is to all those FASD communities working together, helping one another, leaning on each other. Here is to new communities being created, one open mind at a time.