The Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society of Yukon (FASSY) is marking International Fetal Acohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Awareness Day on Sept. 9 with a barbecue lunch at Shipyards Parks. The day helps raise awareness about FASD around the world. Sept. 9 was chosen because, as the ninth day of the ninth month, the number represents the nine months of pregnancy. The goal is that this will remind us to pause and consider abstaining from alcohol during that time. 

International FASD Awareness Day is represented by “The FASD Knot,” originally designed by Bonnie Buxton & Brian Philcox of Canada. The knot is worn on your chest to support work to inform the world about FASD. 

The term FASD itself describes a wide range of physical/neurodevelopmental characteristics that may occur to an individual who was exposed prenatally to alcohol. Often, there are no physical characteristics to show that the individual may be living with FASD. However, changes in the brain and other parts of the body may still have occurred that can affect the day-to-day life of an individual.  

Metaphors can help people understand  the difficulties faced by people with FASD. Imagine that the messages to and from the brain are the road systems we’re all familiar with. You can speed along a clear paved highway because the route is clear and you can get where you need to go efficiently. Messages sent along a pathway not affected by alcohol would be like that, with a clear path to and from the brain. For someone whose has FASD, the road may be more like a gravel, windy, one-lane road with potholes and bumps. The message may at times still get there, but it could take time, may have stopped and then proceeded, or even gotten stuck. This process may need support or help, and is very tiring. Everyone is different and everyone deserves respect.

Our differences are what we all have in common. For more information on FASDservices in the Yukon, or the barbecue on September 9, please contact FASSY at info@fassy.org or 393-4948.