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Best Start Resource Centre in Ontario has published a new guide to help facilitators deliver FASD workshops for First Nations women (Download guide). Using culture as its foundation, the guide focuses on promoting health. It also integrates FASD-informed and trauma-informed approaches. It is set up so that facilitators do not have to be an expert on the subject of FASD. The guide provides detailed background information, instructions and resources so that facilitators can fully prepare themselves for delivering the workshops.
Topics covered in the training guide include:
- Preparing for the Workshop – covers information like bringing the workshop to communities where there is a concern about the stigma attached to FASD, planning for participant learning differences, as well as handling logistical details.
- Facilitating the Workshop – includes welcoming activities, giving background about healthy pregnancy, identifying and building on personal strengths, making a plan for health, and drawing on community for support and self care.
- Resources, Services and Appendices – provided are weblinks to further information and videos; services for pregnancy, parenting, substance use and FASD; participant handouts, and consent forms.
Best Start Resource Centre is well known for its resources for service providers who work with diverse women and families on preconception health, prenatal health and child development.
For more on related topics, see earlier posts:
FASD is a public safety and justice priority for Aboriginal groups, October 23, 2016
Experiences of Northern British Columbian Aboriginal Mothers Raising Adolescents With FASD, January 20, 2014
Pimotisiwin: A Good Path for Pregnant and Parenting Aboriginal Teens, August 26, 2013
“You are not alone. Support is available.” Alcohol and pregnancy campaign designed by and for Aboriginal women in Manitoba, April 10, 2013
Handbook for Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Work from Australia, January 9, 2013
The Sacred Journey – new resource for service providers who work with First Nations families, August 1, 2012
Pregnancy and Alcohol Brochure for Aboriginal Families, January 30, 2012
New Zealand has published an action plan on how best to address FASD. Described as a “whole of government action plan” by Associate Minister of Health, Peter Dunne, Taking Action on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: 2016-1019 builds on the best practices being done across communities and service sectors including government policy and partnerships, as well as front line prevention and intervention. According to Fetal Alcohol Network NZ, the government is earmarking an initial 12 million for these efforts, which will increase support and services to women with alcohol and substance use issues.
New Zealand began the process of building the action plan with a discussion document of principles, priorities and action areas. They spent over a year seeking submissions and comments on the plan from professionals, communities, families and whānau (Maori extended family.) Notable changes to the principles based on those submissions included issues of ethnic and services inequities, as well as stigmatization of women, families and individuals with FASD. The resulting principles defined the core priorities of the plan: prevention, early identification, support and evidence. These priorities framed its action building blocks and designated indications of success of plan outcomes. You can view an analysis of the Ministry of Health action plan submissions here.
By underscoring a collaborative and practical approach, the goal is to make sure that “FASD is prevented and people with FASD and their family/whānau live the best possible lives.”(1) Read more about New Zealand’s efforts:
To read more about New Zealand’s prevention efforts see these previous posts:
First FEBFAST and Debates about Alcohol Labeling in New Zealand, February 1, 2011
- FASD Working Group. 2016. Taking Action on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: 2016–2019: An action plan. Wellington, NZ: Ministry of Health.
Elizabeth Elliott recently wrote a short article describing current FASD prevention efforts in Australia for the journal Public Health Research and Practice (available here).
Increasing awareness and understanding of FASD has resulted in a number of positive developments at a national level, including a federal parliamentary inquiry into FASD (2011), the development of an Australian Government action plan to prevent FASD (2013) and the announcement of government funding to progress the plan and appoint a National FASD Technical Network (June 2014).
Some of the earliest FASD prevention activities in Australia were led by indigenous communities. In 2007, a group of Aboriginal women from Fitzroy Crossing in remote northern Western Australia led a campaign to place a ban on the sale of full strength alcohol in their community.
This led to the Lililwan Project, the first ever prevalence study of FASD in Australia and a partnership between Nindilingarri Cultural Health Services, Marninwarntikura Woman’s Resource Centre, the George Institute for Global Health and the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health at The University of Sydney Medical School.
This ‘research in action’ project included diagnosis and development of individualised management plans to address the health issues of each child. Earlier this year, the researchers reported that one in eight (or 120 per 1000) children born in 2002 or 2003 in the Fitzroy Valley have FAS.
In 2009, the National Health and Medical Research Council revised the guidelines regarding alcohol use in pregnancy to state “For women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, not drinking is the safest option.”
In 2014, the Women Want to Know project was launched. Developed by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) in collaboration with leading health professional bodies across Australia and with support from the Australian Government Department of Health, the project encourages health professionals to routinely discuss alcohol and pregnancy with women in keeping with the revised guidelines.
FARE also launched the Pregnant Pause campaign in 2013 to encourage ‘dads-to-be’ and all Australians to support someone they care about through their pregnancy by taking a break from alcohol.
November 2013 also marked the first Australasian Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Conference held in Brisbane.
Organizations such as the National Organisation for FASD Australia have taken a leadership role in education and advocacy related to FASD, including advocating for pregnancy warning labels on alcohol.
Drinkwise, an alcohol industry-funded organization, has voluntarily developed ‘consumer information messages’ such as ‘It is safest not to drink while pregnant’ and ‘Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix.’ However, an audit found that 26% of products carried a DrinkWise alcohol pregnancy warning label. (Visit Drink Tank for a discussion of alcohol industry led product labeling in Australia).
For more on FASD prevention in Australia, see earlier posts:
- “Women Want To Know” Campaign for Health Professionals from Australia (July 9, 2014)
- Strong Spirit Strong Future campaign in Western Australia (December 19, 2013)
- Pregnant Pause Campaign for Aussie Dads (October 1, 2013)
- FASD Campaign from Kimberley and Pilbara regions of Western Australia (October 22, 2012)
- Grannies Group in South Australia addressing alcohol misuse (September 27, 2012)
- Understanding the links between FASD and early life trauma in indigenous communities in Australia (July 11, 2012)
- Alcohol Think Again Campaign in Western Australia (June 19, 2012)
- Films from the Lililwan Project: Tristan and Marulu (May 9, 2012)
- FASD Prevention in Australia’s Ord Valley (October 13, 2011)
- Yajilarra: the story of the women of Fitzroy Crossing (October 15, 2010)