The November newsletter of the Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association has a section on appropriate terminology for professionals to use when discussing FASD and birth parents. The newsletter comments:

When discussing pregnant women and alcohol consumption the most appropriate language is that which takes the blame from pregnant women and places it on alcohol.  For example language which states, “when a pregnant woman consumes alcohol”, places a measure of blame on the pregnant woman. If we use language which focuses the listener and reader on the alcohol, “when alcohol is consumed while pregnant” we will have more acceptance of the fact that mothers and fathers are not to be blamed or shamed should they deliver a child or children with FASD.  If we take steps to reduce the blame now, more birth mothers will feel confident in speaking up about the condition.

The Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association (rffada) is an Australian non-profit organization with a “no blame no shame” approach to FASD and works to ensure that birth mothers have the opportunity to speak out about their experiences. You might want to check out the 12 Steps for Birth Mothers on its website which are based on the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and which might be of use to anyone working with mothers around grief and loss related to alcohol and FASD.

See a previous post here about books written by Elizabeth Russell.

For more on messaging, see earlier posts: