You may have noticed on social media that today (September 9th) is International FASD awareness day – and in fact the whole of September is FASD awareness month! FASD (which stands for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) is now recognised as affecting more people than autism or ADHD. FASD is a group of lifelong conditions affecting people in different ways physically, emotionally and behaviourally, and because not everyone will be affected in the same way it is not always diagnosed early on. As a developmental condition there is no cure, but early diagnosis is important in order to be able to put support systems in place to help families cope and thrive.
Because some of the effects of alcohol on the developing foetus relate to later difficulties in processing information or in regulating emotions (for instance) some children with FASD will show patterns of difficult and challenging behaviour, sometimes using violence in the home and towards their parents and carers. Understanding more about FASD can help with understanding what is going on behind child to parent violence, and can be an important start in putting in place the networks and systems that are so vital for families in this situation.
The National Organisation for FASD is a good place to start (in the UK) if you want to develop your own awareness and understanding. There is a very helpful Preferred UK Language Guide on their website. Sandra Butcher, their CEO has been busy tweeting all day and you will find a lot of links to other resources from her, and news of anticipated policy changes.
If you’re on social media and you want to keep in touch with the latest research findings, policy and training, these are some people that I have found helpful to follow:
- Dr Raja Mukherjee
- Jo Buckard of Red Balloon Training
- Sandra Butcher, CEO of National Organisation for FASD
- NO FASD Australia
- The FASD hub from Adoption UK
There are many more, I’m sure you’ll find the people who you can connect to best!
FASD is just one of the many different issues which can lead to families experiencing CPV. Its good to see that this condition is closer to getting the attention it deserves.
See the Government website for Guidance published September 9th on health needs assessment of families affected by Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
To download factsheets about FASD produced by FASD Hub Scotland click here.