FASD Year in Review

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by Robert More

As 2018 comes to an end, it becomes the time of year when looking back on what the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Rural Network has accomplished together renews our hope for what the new year will bring.

Our youngest, who just turned 12, declared this year he knows Santa is not real, so we have made the shift to full disclosure now. However, our traditions have remained the same. Christmas Eve, my son was watching the Norad site, following Santa as he went from country to country, talking about how fast he was going, and wondering what time he would be arriving at the house. The cookies and milk got put out by the 18 year old and stockings weren’t allowed to show up until everyone was in bed. I made the mistake of not eating the cookies and milk this time, and our 12 year old was talking about hearing the reindeer on the roof as he slept. Even though they all verbally say they know Santa is not real, they all act like he is. We used to say it was because they were not giving away the secret, but Shelley said it is because the concrete is just more powerful than the abstract to them.

To us, some of the highlights of this year was the ways we came together across the province to bring awareness to FASD. While I recognize your list might look different from mine, these are the ones that really jump out for me.

Jan 6 – Template letter to Minister Hunter supporting Bill 191 released. 1,247 people download the letter, still the #1 blog. Bill 191 becomes the FASD rallying cry across the province.

January – Coordinating agencies get told they are hiring the FASD Key Workers by MCYS.

April 11 – FASD Awareness Day at Queen’s Park – Bill 191 passes first reading unanimously by all three parties, September 9 officially named FASD Awareness Day in Ontario, new prevalence number of 4% released by Dr. Popova.

April – Health Nexus receives contract for FASD Website and development begins.

May – The Rural FASD Support Network have five direct conversations with Simone Daniels of Doug Ford’s office at rallies across the province, membership sits at six members.

June – Senate releases report about the problems with the Disability Tax Credit and the

CRA changes procedure and how they view FASD.

July – MPP Hillier has direct conversation with Minister MacLeod regarding the Rural FASD Support Network. Rural FASD Support Network comes into existence with passing of constitution and Executive Board elected.

August – Partnerships between Children and Adult Mental Health, Municipal Councils, Support Services and School Boards established with Rural FASD Support Network. Capacity continues to grow. Membership grows to 14 members.

Sept. – Rural FASD Support Network launches Caregiver Support Group with children services and livestreaming. Over 40 people attend the launch and more networking with community partners is established.

Sept. – Health Nexus launches funding initiative for support groups.

Nov – Citizen Advocacy hosts annual FASD Symposium. CanFASD hires Rob More as an instructional designer.

Dec – Rural FASD Support Network memberships grows to 45 members. Health Nexus announces several new FASD support groups have been created across the province.

We are anticipating several major events soon.

  1. MCSS releasing the new FASD Website
  2. Minister MacLeod meeting with Rural FASD Support Network
  3. Ottawa Senators welcoming Rural FASD Support Network at January 5 game
  4. February 13, 14 Citizen Advocacy hosting FASD workshop for medical professionals
  5. Rural FASD Support Network announcing two major sponsors and launching their new website
  6. National Post and Vanessa Hrvatin releasing FASD Documentary
  7. Feb 12 Health Nexus hosting workshop on support group facilitation

And thank you to Audrey McFarlane of CanFASD for passing this link along. www.fasdcoalition.ca/looking-after-each-other-project/mini-documentaries. If you haven’t seen it before, well worth watching especially for advocating at your school.

The Ottawa Senators played a 30-second message on the Jumbotron during the first intermission for their January 5 game, welcoming us and providing some education about FASD for the entire crowd.

And if you haven’t seen our new website, please go to www.ruralfasd.ca. We are just thrilled that you get another website now when you search for fasd.

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