A Guide to Using Illuminate’s FASD Support Program as a Professional

A Guide to Using Illuminate’s FASD Support Program as a Professional

Any professional who works with children and families knows what it means to wear many hats. Educators, medical professionals, social workers, and other child-facing professionals understand the importance of a holistic approach when working with children and families. For example, pediatricians cannot provide quality care without knowledge of a child’s home environment, and educators cannot help children to succeed academically without understanding what accommodations may be needed.

This is why it’s important for every professional to be educated about challenges that are commonly faced by children and families in order to meet them where they are and provide the best support possible.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), which may impact as many as 1 in 20 children, often remains undiagnosed and misunderstood.

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

Why should professionals become FASD-informed?

Professionals play a vital role in supporting families affected by FASD. Our program not only offers resources and training for families, but also seeks to build a knowledgeable network of professionals equipped to address the complexities of FASD with skill and empathy.

Our education programming offers trainings that increase knowledge around FASD and aim to create an empowered network contributing to better outcomes for families affected by FASD. Whether you’re a healthcare provider, educator, social worker, mental health professional, or other professional that works with families, Illuminate Colorado equips you with resources to navigate FASD complexities and contribute to a more supportive community.

We are dedicated to breaking down the stigma associated with FASD. FASD is more common than you might think and impacts families on every level of society. Through open conversations and a commitment to sharing experiences, we aim to create an environment where families feel comfortable seeking help without fear of judgment. Stigma should never be a barrier to accessing the support and resources needed for positive outcomes, and professionals play a vital role in driving this societal change.

How can professionals become FASD-informed?

Illuminate Colorado recently launched our newest training: Beyond the Label: Navigating the World of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). This training is hosted monthly by Illuminate’s Education Program Manager, Shannon Day.

This comprehensive training is designed to equip participants with a deeper understanding of FASD and practical strategies to support affected individuals with this brain-based condition.

Shannon Day

Education Program Manager

This training moves past the basic definitions and stereotypes, offering an in-depth exploration of the diverse realities faced by those living with FASD and those who care for them.

This FREE, two-hour interactive online training will increase your knowledge, skills, and create the empathy needed to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by FASD.

Register Now!

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You can also get started by watching the short informational video, FASD Unveiled: Shedding Light, Spreading Awareness, and Building Support to learn more about FASD and the supports that are available to you.

 

Together, we can make a difference. Join a community that collaborates across sectors – from healthcare to education and beyond – to create a network of support for families impacted by FASD.

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Announcing Illuminate’s Newest FASD Training!

Announcing Illuminate’s Newest FASD Training!

Beyond the Label: Navigating the World of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Illuminate Colorado’s latest training on FASD, is here! 

Over the past few months, educators here at Illuminate have been hard at work collaborating to produce a comprehensive training centered around FASD.

Whether you are the caregiver of an individual with FASD, an educator, a medical professional, a person living with FASD–or someone who wants to support those in your community who may be affected by FASD– this training is for you!

What will the Beyond the Label: Navigating the World of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) cover?

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The cognitive, behavioral, and physical challenges associated with FASD.

What is FASD? What does FASD look like? What does it mean that FASD is a spectrum?

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Practical strategies for fostering inclusive environments and supporting individuals affected by FASD.

How can you provide support to someone with FASD throughout their lifetime, from adolescence through adulthood? What supports are available for individuals who are caring for someone with FASD?

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How to foster an inclusive mindset and reduce stigma associated with FASD

Raising awareness of FASD reduces the shame and stigma associated with the disorder, a critical part in creating communities where people impacted by FASD can thrive.

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How we can all advocate for increased awareness, prevention, and support systems for those impacted by FASD.

How can we use our skills, empathy, and knowledge of FASD to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by FASD?

Who is eligible to take Beyond the Label: Navigating the World of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)?

  • People who are raising children with FASD

  • Educators

  • Parents of adult children with FASD

  • Medical professionals

  • u

    People with characteristics associated with FASD who want to learn more

  • Individuals with FASD

  • All community members!

A note from Shannon Day, facilitator of Beyond the Label: Navigating the World of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

“I am really excited about raising awareness, increasing conversations, reducing stigma, and helping people to realize it’s not just the pregnant person’s responsibility to be educated about FASD.

“I want to help people view FASD through the lens of it being a brain-based condition. While it’s not going away, there are supports that can help people who are living with FASD, and those in their lives. That information can reduce frustration and be endlessly positive.

Growing and learning about FASD has been exciting and impactful for me, and I want to bring that into others’ lives as well.”

Shannon Day

Education Program Manager

Facilitator of Beyond the Label: Navigating the World of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

Register for Beyond the Label: Navigating the World of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) today!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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! 

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