‘Don’t Risk It’ campaign raises awareness for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster has officially made September Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Month.
Two state agencies want to get the word out about this 100 percent preventable condition and shed some light on the challenges family members who are living with FASD can face.
FASD stands for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. It’s a group of conditions that causes medical, behavioral, and social problems for children and adults who have had prenatal alcohol exposure.
This September, the state’s Department of Social Services and the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services are teaming up to push its “Don’t Risk It” campaign.
This campaign aims to spread awareness about the potential harm that alcohol consumption during pregnancy can have on developing babies, but also show support for those who are affected by this condition.
Similar to how autism can be identified on a spectrum, the same goes for the several kinds and varying degrees of fetal alcohol disorders based on how the condition is affecting the person.
A few of the signs and symptoms include: hyperactivity, lack of concentration, abnormal physical features, delayed growth, and hearing and vision problems.
Similarly to how autism can be identified on a spectrum, the same goes for the several kinds and varying degrees of fetal alcohol disorders based on how the condition is affecting the person.
A few of the signs and symptoms include:
- lack of concentration
- abnormal physical features
- delayed growth
- hearing and vision problems
Michelle Cunnigham, RN and Program Manager/Liaison with SC DSS and SC DAODAS, says there are a lot of misconceptions about fetal alcohol disorders and how much alcohol consumption really puts a pregnant person at risk.
“The parent does not have to, the mom does not have to be an alcoholic. Sometimes, they will say ‘you know I only had a couple drinks this one occasion, had no idea I was pregnant and then later on found out that my baby was impacted by FASD,’” Cunningham said. “So one of the reasons we wanted to bring awareness was to prevention. Anyone of childbearing age, if you think you are pregnant or you might be trying to get pregnant, to think before you drink. That even 1 or 2 drinks can cause problems for a developing baby and so can binge drinking.”
Kimberly Tissot, whose son she adopted as a baby was eventually diagnosed with FASD as he got older and started showing the signs. She says that there is still a long way to go in providing the appropriate accommodations to students with FASD.
“It’s not really an identified disability within the school systems and so that can be very challenging to get the correct services,” Tissot said. “Because a lot of times, special education professionals have not really studied fetal alcohol and the way that children with fetal alcohol learn and thrive in school is very different than a child without a disability.”
The website DontRiskItSC.com offers many resources and recorded information sessions on FASD.
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