Feigenholtz recognizes Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day

CHICAGO – In recognition of International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day on Sept. 9, State Senator Sara Feigenholtz is applauding efforts by health care providers, parents, self-advocates and community organizations who work to support the FASD community, increase education and awareness, and bring evidence-based services to those living with FASD and their families.

“Today, I join advocates to recognize International FASD Awareness Day and take this time to lift up the increasing need for FASD-informed supports and services in Illinois and across the nation,” said Feigenholtz (D-Chicago). “This day is a reminder that, although we have made tremendous advancements in diagnostics and screenings for a multitude of other preventable disorders, we have much work left to do to bring informed services to the FASD community and integrate supports within our other health, education, justice and care systems.”

FASD is an umbrella term that describes the range of physical, behavioral and intellectual disabilities than can occur when someone has been exposed to alcohol before birth. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders have been dubbed ‘the hidden epidemic’ because of the lack of supports, diagnostics and treatment services available to pregnant women, new mothers and their families.

“People with FASD and their families need accessible, affordable and competent systems of care that are evidence-based and fully funded,” said Feigenholtz. “I am proud to stand with my constituents, Bonnie and Michelle, today to highlight this critical need.”

FASD Awareness Day presents an opportunity to not only remind one another of the dangers of using any substance, including alcohol, while pregnant, but also to recognize the up to 633,000 Illinoisans already living with FASD who deserve support, services and to live free of stigma in their everyday lives.

“In order to better support those living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, we must prioritize early detection and screening for FASD,” said Bonnie Rubin, an advocate who lives in the district Feigenholtz represents. “We don’t wait for other health conditions to become debilitating to address them, so we need to intervene before FASD presents severe challenges.”

Feigenholtz has worked with local community members to bring more awareness to FASD.

“FASD is a lifelong, brain-based disability with a conservative prevalence rate of one in 20. While there is no cure, we can accommodate and support and create success with individuals by infusing FASD-informed care into existing systems,” said Michelle Trager, a member of the community Feigenholtz represents and FASD advocate. “We implore our federal legislators to act on current proposed bipartisan federal legislation to re-authorize funding for FASD programs. We can let them know how critical this is to our families by texting PCMMYP to 50409.”

For more information about FASD Awareness Day, visit FASD United’s website. Find resources for parents, teachers and caregivers here.