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What I wish health professionals knew about FASD

For those who are there to look after our health, here are some things we’d like you to know about alcohol and pregnancy and FASD.

The most important thing is to talk with women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy about alcohol use, and don’t make assumptions about who is or isn’t likely to drink during pregnancy.

Don’t forget, if you’re afraid to ask, they’ll be afraid to tell.

FASD is a condition that has lifelong impact on individuals, their families, carers and the wider community.

You may think you don’t work with people with FASD – but they’re already on your caseload. If there are already multiple diagnoses, think about assessing for FASD as well.

We have strengths and things we enjoy as well as challenges. Report on everything, I’m more than my difficulties and my diagnosis.

Respect our lived experiences. We’re the experts on our own lives. Listen to us.

Chronological age does not equal developmental age and abilities

Work together with me and my family. Don’t close the door to my parents once I reach 18 – I still need support.

Life gets harder and more complicated for me as I get older. An early diagnosis and intervention can make a huge difference in my life.

Strategies from parenting courses and drug and alcohol programs for people with neurotypical brains don’t always work for people with FASD.

Seeking out training and information will help you understand your role in the assessment process and to provide suitable supports and strategies throughout a person’s life.