It was a full day of education and awareness as the Moose Jaw South Central FASD Committee and the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute held a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) conference Friday.
Building Capacity and Connections was the theme as presenters with FASD or who have worked in that area all spoke on different aspects of the disorder, from the potential impacts of it to those persevering with it.
"I think the best part is educating the community so we get past the stigma and giving everyone connections even so the community can work together to help bring together supports and educate others on FASD," Sandra Overs with the Moose Jaw South Central FASD Committee said.
Speakers included Marlene Dray from the Saskatchewan Prevention Institute speaking on the disorder and the social context of it. Shana Mohr, the training coordinator for the
FASD Network of Saskatchewan has a daughter with FASD. She talked about her experiences raising her kid and as an advocate trying to stop the " shame and blame" that surrounds FASD.
Cheryl Charron with the Regina Community Clinic presented on today's diagnostic processes of FASD and the potential impact the disease has on a body. Authour, public speaker, FASD Advocate and Policy Advisor Niall Schofield spread a message of hope and perseverance, as he grew up living with the disorder. Tara Castle, Supervisor from the Regina Provincial Court Office, also spoke to those in attendance on the challenges faced by those who require services from the Justice system and live with FASD.
Shannon Gray, the Cognitive Disability Strategist Consultant with the Moose Jaw South Central FASD Committee, said having this conference and the conversation around it helps those who deal with FASD every day.
"I think it's really important for that reason that we keep talking about FASD and don't lose sight of - you know we don't want to bury it under the rug anymore or be ashamed, right, it's not about shame, it's not about blame it's about support, moving forward, what can we do to help."
FASD has had a more positive spin in recent years, with the FASD awareness day taking place on September 9th.
"Twenty years ago, it wasn't positive," Overs added. "All the information was very negative, there was no hope for individuals with FASD so it's nice to see how the speakers bring a more positive spin, I guess, around FASD and the support and the language, everything around FASD is a lot more positive."