Care Action Network on its way for families living with FASD
FASD-CAN INC media release
6 September 2013
A Care Action Network on its way for families living with FASD
Monday 9 September is World FASD Awareness Day. Among New Zealand’s activities this year is the launch of a new non-profit organisation for families living with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD-CAN (Care Action Network) aims to unite caregivers, strengthen families, support individuals and educate communities about FASD. FASD is the range of developmental disorders that can affect the learning behaviour and function of an individual exposed to alcohol before birth.
Founder and Chairperson of FASD-CAN Claire Gyde says there have been significant developments in diagnosing FASD in New Zealand and that means a growing number of families and caregivers now know what they are dealing with.
“From this ground-swell came the idea of forming a parent network to provide greater support to those caring for and living with this disability. Our FASD-CAN motto is ‘With shared strength, guidance and wisdom, those with FASD CAN grow and achieve’ and our logo with the Manaia- Koru design elements intertwined, expresses that vision in a uniquely Kiwi way.
“My hope is that with a combined parent voice we can affect some change and see services made available for both caregivers and individuals living with FASD. These services need to be right across our communities including health, justice, education, employment and mental health. Educating about the debilitating effect of FASD is fundamental to achieving that.”
Christine Rogan, who coordinates FASD projects for Alcohol Healthwatch and who is hosting the FASD Awareness Day event in Auckland, says she is thrilled about the establishment of FASD-CAN and is keen for the organisation to gain support and recognition for its work.
“FASD-CAN will play an important role in helping families who often have to deal with complex situations to do with their child’s learning and behaviour. This is a challenging, hidden and misunderstood disability that doesn’t go away and the task of raising, and protecting the welfare of an affected child, can seem insurmountable without backup.”
The 9th day of the 9th month each year is chosen to mark FASD Awareness Day. It symbolises the nine months of pregnancy in which to grow a healthy baby free from alcohol and to focus on the needs of those who have been born affected by alcohol.
This year marks 40 years since the first medical publication, The Lancet, brought to world attention the link between alcohol and birth defects. Ms Rogan believes that despite knowing about it since then, FASD has remained a neglected area of healthcare in New Zealand.
“We still don’t know how many New Zealand children are born affected and most of our health services still don’t know how to fully assess for the condition so these vulnerable children can get the help they desperately need and deserve”.
Change is long overdue, she says.
The launch of FASD-CAN, will take place between 11am -12 pm at the Barrycourt Conference Centre, Gladstone Road, Parnell Auckland.