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!

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