Announcing our Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Support Program!

Announcing our Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Support Program!

January is National Birth Defects Awareness Month! Studies have identified that as many as 1 in 20 individuals are impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)¹, making them one of the most common birth defects in the country. Despite the prevalence of FASD in our communities, resources for families and professionals are often difficult to find. That’s why we are excited to announce the launch of our newest program: FASD Support!

Here at Illuminate Colorado, we recognize the unique challenges that families face when navigating FASD. 

Our FASD Support Program is a holistic initiative that consists of two essential components: an FASD Navigation Program and an FASD Training Program.

FASD Navigation 

This service is tailored to meet the diverse needs of individuals and families impacted by FASD. Whether you’ve received a diagnosis, are in the process of obtaining a diagnosis, or you just have concerns related to FASD, our FASD Navigation program provides support along your journey. Through personalized navigation services and access to parent support groups, we empower families with the knowledge, support, and connections needed to thrive.

The navigation program also supports professionals working with families impacted by FASD. Early intervention is crucial for positive outcomes, and our program is designed to address the unique challenges professionals may encounter. Through specialized guidance and collaborative community engagement, we help professionals contribute to positive outcomes for those affected by FASD.

Support is just a click away!

Complete this Request Form to be connected with resources, referrals, and support from our FASD Navigator.

FASD Trainings

Illuminate Colorado’s FASD Trainings go beyond traditional support by offering comprehensive trainings for individuals, family members, and professionals. Our specialized educational initiatives empower individuals and families with the knowledge and skills needed to navigate the complexities of FASD. 

Simultaneously, we provide professionals across various fields with targeted training sessions, fostering a collaborative community committed to enhancing expertise and contributing to positive outcomes for individuals and families affected by FASD.

Interested in taking a training?

Contact Shannon Day at sday@illuminatecolorado.org.

Learn more, find support, and explore FAQ on the FASD Support Program webpage

Who is this program for?

Illuminate Colorado’s FASD Support program is tailored for individuals, families, caregivers, and professionals navigating the complexities of FASD.

If you are an individual living with FASD, our program extends a welcoming hand to you. Whether you’ve received a diagnosis or are encountering challenges related to FASD, we offer our steadfast support. Our tailored resources and services aim to meet your specific needs, fostering empowerment and a sense of community.

If you are a family impacted by FASD, whether your child has already been diagnosed or you’re facing behavioral challenges that may be related to FASD, our program is here to offer a supportive community. We understand the unique journey you are on, and our resources, parent support groups, and navigation services are designed to meet your specific needs.

For professionals working with families affected by FASD, our program provides a comprehensive platform for education, training, and collaboration. We welcome professionals from diverse fields, including healthcare, education, child welfare, and more, offering resources to enhance your expertise and strengthen your ability to support families facing the challenges of FASD.

Are you a parent, caregiver, or individual seeking support or a professional looking to enhance your expertise related to FASD?

Complete the Request Form to be connected with resources, referrals, and support from our FASD Navigator.

Help us spread the word!

FASD affects families from all walks of life. Our commitment is to ensure that every family, regardless of their circumstances, has access to the resources and understanding needed to thrive on their journey. Help us reach this goal by spreading the word about the FASD Support Program to any caregivers, professionals, or community members who would benefit from this program!

Share the FASD Support Program webpage with your network and follow us on social media to share informational posts about the Program!

Related Posts

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Throughout September, we have explored all of the ways we can support families impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), including things you can learn, be, do, and say. This week, as we look back on all the work we’ve done, we will also look ahead to what we can do and share throughout the year for individuals and families across the state…

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Throughout September, we have explored some of the ways we can support families impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), including things you can learn, be, do, and say.

This week, as we look back on all the work we’ve done, we will also look ahead to what we can do and share throughout the year to support individuals and families impacted by FASD across the state.

Educational Resources

Increased support for families impacted by FASD is rooted in every community member being educated on the effects of alcohol exposure during pregnancy and the basics of FASD. Do your part by getting educated and encouraging your networks to join you.

SuPPoRT Colorado is a coalition with the goal of reducing the number of families impacted by substance use during pregnancy and providing multigenerational support for families to thrive. Recently, the FASD Work Group of SuPPoRT Colorado completed a training slide presentation about FASDs.

Learn more about the effects of alcohol during pregnancy, FASD basics, and support options for families.

Explore this slide deck developed by SuPPoRT Colorado.

Receive the FASD training, presented by the FASD Work Group!

The training can be modified for any audience. For more information or to schedule a training, reach out to Cristina Bejarano at cbejarano@illuminatecolorado.org.

The SuPPoRT Colorado FASD Work Group

The FASD Work Group, a subgroup of SuPPoRT Colorado, convenes to discuss ways we can better support families impacted by FASD. 

The FASD Work Group is always looking for new members with lived experience to join and provide their valuable insight. 

Interested?  Join the Work Group today.

FASD Diagnoses

Getting a diagnosis of a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) can result in additional support, like developmental disability services or educational services, but it can be difficult for families to find a provider in Colorado equipped to make an FASD diagnosis. That’s why we created a list of providers equipped to diagnose under the FASD umbrella. We also provide information for FASD-informed behavioral health care providers.

Social Connection for Parents of Children with FASD

Families impacted by FASD face unique challenges, and support from others who have had similar experiences can make all the difference. Join this Facebook group where parents and caregivers can share and learn from each other in a non-judgmental space. Also, check out their weekly online support group.

Get Caught Up on All Things FASD Awareness Month!

Check out our FASD Awareness Month information hub.

Related Posts

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Throughout September, we have explored all of the ways we can support families impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), including things you can learn, be, do, and say. This week, as we look back on all the work we’ve done, we will also look ahead to what we can do and share throughout the year for individuals and families across the state…

Finding the Right Words: Supporting Families During FASD Awareness Month

Finding the Right Words: Supporting Families During FASD Awareness Month

This September, which is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Month, Illuminate Colorado is bringing awareness to the many individuals and families who are impacted by the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol in Colorado and across the United States.

Effective communication, rooted in strengths-based language, is a powerful tool in supporting families impacted by FASD. 

This week, we are focusing on how allies can utilize communication that emphasizes positivity and empowerment.

Acknowledge Resilience

Start your conversation by acknowledging the extraordinary resilience of families impacted by FASD:

“Your family’s strength and perseverance in facing the unique challenges of FASD is truly inspiring.”

Offer Practical Support

When offering help, emphasize your respect for their journey with FASD and ask how you can best support them:

“I respect you and the efforts you’ve put into managing the challenges of FASD. How can I best support you?”

 

Create a Judgment-Free Space

Build an environment that is free from judgment:

“I understand that FASD is complex, and I respect your resilience as you navigate this journey.”

 

Celebrate Achievements and Self-Identity

Focus on celebrating achievements while emphasizing that FASD doesn’t define their identity:

“I’m proud of you for the progress you have made. Remember, FASD may be a part of your journey, but it doesn’t define who you are.”

 

Validate Their Expertise

Affirm their expertise in managing FASD and show respect for their experiences:

“Your insights into FASD are invaluable. I’d love to learn from your experiences and the strategies that have worked for you.”

 

Be an Empathetic and Patient Listener

Listen with empathy and patience:

“I’m here to listen. Your experiences and feelings are important, and I deeply respect your perspective.”

 

Share Empowering Resources

Offer empowering resources and support groups that may help with their journey:

“I’ve come across some empowering resources and support groups that could complement your strengths. Would you like me to share them with you?”

Check out the NOFAS Colorado Facebook group.

The Facebook group offers regular support group meetings for caregivers impacted by FASD. 

Promote an Atmosphere of Positivity and Self-Worth

End conversations on a positive note, reinforcing their capabilities:

“I’m confident that, with your strengths and resilience, your family will continue to thrive. You are respected and valued in our community.”

 

Communication during FASD Awareness Month and beyond should emphasize strengths, empowerment, and respect for families impacted by FASD.

By acknowledging their resilience, offering support, and celebrating their achievements, we can create a positive, empowering environment that promotes awareness and understanding of FASD. 

Learn more about what Illuminate is doing during FASD Awareness month here.

Related Posts

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Throughout September, we have explored all of the ways we can support families impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), including things you can learn, be, do, and say. This week, as we look back on all the work we’ve done, we will also look ahead to what we can do and share throughout the year for individuals and families across the state…

Responding to the Needs of Families Impacted by FASD through Influencing Policy

Responding to the Needs of Families Impacted by FASD through Influencing Policy

This Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Month, we at Illuminate Colorado are reflecting on our advocacy throughout 2023 to increase awareness of FASD among legislators and expand Colorado’s capacity to respond to the needs of individuals and families impacted by FASD.

Moving forward, we are excited to continue advocating at the federal and state levels to ensure legislators are FASD-aware and to elevate the voices and experiences of Colorado families.

Jillian Fabricius (Illuminate Colorado Deputy Director) and a staffer for Senator John Hickenlooper.

Advocating at the State Level

This past 2023 Colorado legislative session, advocates from SuPPoRT Colorado’s FASD Awareness Workgroup and Illuminate staff engaged with state legislators to highlight the need for a stronger system of services and support for individuals and families impacted by FASD.

This summer, Illuminate has continued this important work by engaging with the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee, an interim bi-partisan committee made up of 10 state legislators tasked with responding to challenges associated with substance use disorders in Colorado by identifying gaps in prevention, intervention, harm reduction, and treatment– and identify possible legislative solutions. 

In August, Illuminate Policy Manager, Lex Loutzenhiser, testified to urge the committee to continue the work started in the 2023 legislative session to address challenges associated with FASD experienced by Coloradans. Illuminate will continue to work with state legislators to highlight the need for increased capacity to serve individuals and families impacted by FASD and provide considerations for future legislation.

August 30, 2023 Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee. Left to Right: Rep. Elizabeth Epps, Jade Woodard (Illuminate Colorado Executive Director), Jillian Fabricius (Illuminate Colorado Deputy Director), Lex Loutzenhiser (Illuminate Colorado Policy Manager), and Rep. Chris deGruy Kennedy.

To learn more about Illuminate’s engagement with Interim Study Committees, read Advocating for Family Strengthening Throughout the Year.

Advocating at the Federal Level

This June, the FASD Respect Act (H.R. 3946/S.1800) was introduced to the House by Representatives Don Bacon (R-NE) and Betty McCollum (D-MN) and in the Senate by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). To ensure widespread national support for this important legislation, FASD advocates from across the United States have been reaching out to their Congressional offices to share their support of this comprehensive bill. Alongside advocates who are parents of children and adults with an FASD, Illuminate staff have met with staffers from the offices of five of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation. We are grateful to Rep. Joe Neguse, representing Colorado House District 2, for prioritizing the needs of constituents and co-sponsoring the FASD Respect Act.

Today, September 21, Illuminate staff, as the Colorado affiliate of FASD United, and advocates from the FASD Awareness Workgroup will be participating in Hill Day during FASD Impact Week (hosted by FASD United). Throughout the day, Illuminate staff and FASD advocates will be in Washington D.C., meeting with Congressional offices to share the experiences of Coloradans impacted by FASD and asking Colorado’s Congressional Delegation to co-sponsor the FASD Respect Act.

2022 FASD Hill Day. Left to Right: Kelli Sutton (Illuminate Colorado Strategic Initiatives Manager), Jillian Fabricius (Illuminate Colorado Deputy Director), and a staffer for Rep. Joe Neguse.

To learn more about the FASD Respect Act, read Introducing the FASD Respect Act or visit the FASD United Policy and Training Center.

Join Us to Advocate for the FASD Respect Act!

Use your voice to join Illuminate and advocates across the country in urging Congress to pass the FASD Respect Act.

Coloradans can learn more about how to advocate for this impactful legislation here. If you live outside of Colorado, utilize FASD United’s FASD Respect Act advocacy tool to learn about how to be an advocate in your state.

Check out what else Illuminate Colorado has planned for FASD Awareness Month here! 

Related Posts

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Throughout September, we have explored all of the ways we can support families impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), including things you can learn, be, do, and say. This week, as we look back on all the work we’ve done, we will also look ahead to what we can do and share throughout the year for individuals and families across the state…

10 Ways to Support Families Impacted by FASD

10 Ways to Support Families Impacted by FASD

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), an umbrella term used to describe a range of effects that can occur in a fetus exposed to alcohol before birth, is the most commonly known cause of developmental disabilities in the United States.

As many as 1 in 20 school aged children in the US have an FASD, highlighting the need for increased education and resources on how to support impacted families. 

Below, you’ll find ways you can be an ally and provide support to members of your community impacted by FASD.

The Importance of Allyship

 

Raising Awareness 

FASD remains widely misunderstood. By being an ally, you can help raise awareness about this condition and reduce stigma. Widespread awareness can lead to early diagnoses, appropriate interventions, and supportive communities.

Promoting Inclusivity

Individuals with FASD often face difficulties in social situations, academic settings, and with finding employment. Being an ally means creating inclusive spaces where people with FASD are understood and can thrive without judgment.

Advocating for Equal Opportunities

People with FASD deserve equal access to education, healthcare, and job opportunities. As an ally, you can advocate for policies and practices that ensure their rights and needs are met. 

Empowering Families

Caregivers of individuals with FASD face unique challenges. Being an ally means offering emotional support, resources, and a listening ear to help them navigate challenges. Not sure where to start? Find tools that will help you build connections within your community.

Ways You Can Provide Support

1. Educate Yourself

Understanding FASD is the first step to effective allyship. Learn more about FASD to gain insight into the experiences and challenges faced by individuals with FASD and their families. Start here.

2. Actively Listen

Allow people impacted by FASD to share their experiences, challenges, and triumphs without judgment.

3. Avoid Judgment

People with FASD may display behaviors that are misunderstood by others. Instead of passing judgment, approach them with empathy and patience.

4. Be Patient and Flexible

Individuals with FASD might need more time to process information or complete tasks. Be patient and flexible in your interactions, offering support without pressure.

5. Create Inclusive Environments

In educational or workplace settings, advocate for accommodations that support the needs of people with FASD. Small changes can make a big difference in their success.

6. Offer Practical Help 

Offer your assistance in practical ways, such as helping with transportation, grocery shopping, or daily tasks. Make a point to ask the person or their caregivers how they would like to be supported.

7. Spread Awareness

Use your platform, whether it’s on social media or within your community, to spread awareness about FASD. Share accurate information, personal stories, and resources.

Follow Illuminate Colorado on social media to share our posts throughout FASD Awareness Month and beyond! 

8. Support Parental Well-being 

Caregivers of children with FASD often experience high levels of stress. Offer them opportunities for a break, a listening ear, or even organizing support groups where they can connect with others who understand their journey.

Check out the NOFAS Colorado Facebook group, which offers regular support group meetings for caregivers impacted by FASD. 

9. Advocate for Policy Change

Participate in advocacy efforts to promote policies that support individuals with FASD and their families. 

10. Be a Friend

Form genuine friendships with individuals with FASD. Just like anyone else, they need networks of supportive community and social connections to thrive.

This FASD Awareness Month, you can begin your journey of learning how to be an ally to people with FASD.

By understanding their challenges, advocating for their rights, and providing practical support, you can make a meaningful difference in the lives of families impacted by FASD.

Learn more about what Illuminate is doing during FASD Awareness month here.

Related Posts

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Throughout September, we have explored all of the ways we can support families impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), including things you can learn, be, do, and say. This week, as we look back on all the work we’ve done, we will also look ahead to what we can do and share throughout the year for individuals and families across the state…

September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Month!

September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Month!

As the Colorado Chapter of FASD United, Illuminate Colorado is proud to support programs and resources that help families impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) to thrive.

Join us this month as we explore things you can learn, be, do, say, and share to support families impacted by FASD.

This week, let’s learn the basics about FASD!

FASD is an umbrella term used to describe a range of effects that can occur in a fetus exposed to alcohol before birth, and is the most commonly known cause of developmental disabilities in the United States. The effects of prenatal alcohol exposure can be physical, mental, behavioral, and are often a combination of the three. Everyone with FASD is affected differently, with conditions ranging from mild to severe.

While the exact number of people who have FASDs is unknown, it is estimated that up to 1 in 20 U.S. school children may have an FASD, with 1 in 7 pregnancies being alcohol-exposed.¹  In Colorado in particular, an estimated 15.4% of pregnant individuals in our state drank alcohol during the last 3 months of their pregnancy, according to the most recently available Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data.²

Through our work, Illuminate Colorado is prioritizing the accessibility of diagnoses for people with FASD. When equipped with a diagnosis, families impacted by FASD can better understand behaviors associated with FASD, receive developmental disability services in Colorado, qualification for Social Security, among other benefits.

Do you think your family would benefit from a FASD diagnosis?

A critical component in expanding support and resources for families impacted by FASD is reducing stigma around the disorder. FASD is largely a “hidden disability” which is a result of stigma preventing people from seeking out diagnoses. By increasing access to formal diagnoses, interventions, and supports, we can reduce stigma for children and adults with FASD.

Illuminate Colorado is committed to supporting the resources and education that are required to prevent occurrences of FASDs. It is critical for all pregnant people to have the information they need in order to make informed decisions about their baby’s health. There is no safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy, and at any point there is prenatal alcohol exposure, it is possible that an FASD will occur. Ensuring that this knowledge is widespread and accessible in our communities can greatly reduce instances of FASDs in our youngest Coloradoans. 

Learn more about the effects of alcohol during pregnancy and support options in this slide deck developed by SuPPoRT Colorado.

Exciting things are happening this month

This year is the 50th anniversary of the first formal FASD diagnosis in the United States. During FASD Awareness Month, it’s important to look back on the progress we’ve made to support families impacted by FASD and continue to look ahead to what needs to be done. 

Thanks to being awarded a generous Behavioral Health Administration grant, Illuminate Colorado is stepping up its efforts in supporting individuals affected by FASD. This grant has enabled us to make significant progress as well as add a new FASD Program Manager to the team. This new position will help us ensure that individuals and families dealing with FASD receive the support they need.

Throughout September, join us each week as we explore things you can be, do, say, and share to support families impacted by FASD. On September 9th, we will also be celebrating International FASD Awareness Day! Follow us on social media and share our posts to raise awareness across your own networks. 

We will also be sharing ways you can advocate for policy change at the state and federal level that will support families impacted by FASD. 

To keep everything in one place, we’ve created a hub for all of the information you need throughout the month here. And don’t forget to sign up for our blog email!

Related Posts

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Staying FASD Informed and Involved Beyond September

Throughout September, we have explored all of the ways we can support families impacted by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), including things you can learn, be, do, and say. This week, as we look back on all the work we’ve done, we will also look ahead to what we can do and share throughout the year for individuals and families across the state…

Translate »