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.
1. A pregnant woman drinking a glass of wine or 1 beer a day is ok throughout her pregnancy.
MYTH. The CDC STATES THAT NO AMOUNT OF ALCOHOL IS SAFE FOR BABY IN UTERO, AT ANY TIME (www.cdc.gov, 2018). Most women do not know they are pregnant until 4-6 weeks after conception. The baby’s brain begins developing in the third week of gestation.
2. 50% of individuals with an FASD have facial features of an FASD.
MYTH. Only 5-7% of those with an FASD have facial features, and sometimes as one grows and matures, the facial features subside. A couple facial features that are common are a flat, thin upper lip, and palpebral fissures in the eyes (distance between the left and right corners of each eye, which can give an optical illusion that the eyes are far apart from one another).
3. FASDs in the United States and Canada are more common than Autism.
TRUTH. FASDs occur in 1 out of 20 school age children in the united states. FASDS are 1.5 times as common as Autism in the United States, and 2.5 times as common as Autism in Canada. (www..fasdunited.org). 16 million people in the United States have an FASD.
4. FASDs are Curable:
MYTH. FASDs are NOT curable. They are irreversible brain damage that occurs in utero. They are the ONE brain disability that is 100% PREVENTABLE.
5. The annual cost for an individual with an FASD in the United States is around $31,000.00.
TRUTH. This cost includes the costs incurred for those in the criminal justice system, which occurs due to those with an FASD having trouble with impulse control and understanding cause and effect. The part of the brain that controls these functions is the Frontal Lobe (Executive Functioning) (www.proofalliance.org)
- A pregnant woman drinking a glass of wine or 1 beer a day is ok throughout her pregnancy. (MYTH or TRUTH?)
- 50% of individuals with an FASD have facial features of an FASD. (MYTH or TRUTH?)
- FASDs in the United States and Canada are more common than Autism. (MYTH or TRUTH?)
- FASDs are curable (MYTH or TRUTH?)
- The annual cost for an individual with an FASD in the United States is around $31,000.00. (MYTH or TRUTH?)
TYPE YOUR ANSWERS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION, AND TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR THE ANSWERS!
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