We Can Change The World – One Baby at a Time!
Parents/Caregivers are the most important person in our fight against FASD. Because you understand what the rollercoaster ride is like, coping with the difficulties your loved one struggles with, you are the key person to take our message forward.
FASworld is dedicated to helping women and their partners understand that avoiding alcohol when planning and during pregnancy will result in healthier babies and better outcomes for them and their children.
The payoff for prevention of brain trauma and other collateral damage builds a better, stronger society that include happier families, fewer pupils in special education, radical cuts in youth interaction with the justice system and major reductions in marriage breakdown.
Because prenatal alcohol exposure can cause the most common, most expensive mental disorder in the industrialized world, we must recognize that FASD is avoidable. Therefore, as parents and caregivers we must demonstrate our power as citizens by challenging our political leaders to take action for the benefit of better communities and a better society.
Here’s what government needs to do to overcome the scourge of FASD:
- Provide parenting education instruction in the primary and secondary grades about the danger of FASD;
- Teach the impact and complexities of FASD in the faculties of medicine, education and law;
- Mandate all beverage alcohol packaging and promotion to carry warning information about the dangers of prenatal alcohol exposure.
- Expand diagnostic resources, especially for remote communities;
- Mandate screening and assessment of all individuals interacting with the justice system;
- Provide alternative housing and learning centres to help individuals succeed within societal norms.
- Provide training for parents and caregivers to help them effectively manage family issues;
- Develop trained counsellors for support during crisis periods;
- Provide access to respite programs as needed for parents and caregivers to avoid burnout and reduce demands on social services.
Be Part of the Movement
Post a picture of you and your MPP or MP on social media and don’t forget to add #fasdmovementforchange.
How to Advocate with
Making personal connections with your local MPP and MP is an important and effective way to raise awareness about FASD and bring about change. Sharing your experiences as a parent and caregiver helps to put a face to the issues and drives home the fact that there are real people behind the statistics.
Too many of our lawmakers and professionals in the fields of law, education, social services and health do not realize the full impact of prenatal alcohol exposure on our children, the overall cost to society and the pain and anguish suffered by families.
5 Steps for Effective Advocacy
1. First, decide on the focus for the route you want to take to make change happen. The key focus areas are:
- Educate our children in primary and secondary grades
- Train professionals in faculties of education, medicine, law and social serviceb) Treatment:
- Alternative housing
- Supportive learning environment
- Skills training for our children’s natural abilitiesc) Support:
- Training for parents and caregivers
- Knowledgeable counsel for crisis times
- Respite to avoid burnout
2. Second, find out who you need to talk to. You can find your MPP at www.ola.org/members and your local MP can be found at www.ourcommons.ca/members. Always copy the Ontario Minister of Children, Community and Social Services with any messages on this subject. Along with your own MP in Ottawa, you should always copy The Minister of Health and the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.
3. Next, get a meeting with your representative. MPPs and MPs are busy people but they have allocated time to meet with constituents at your local riding offices. Speak to staff at the local office to book a meeting. Describe some key points about what you want to discuss so that your representative can be prepared to discuss this issue with some forethought. Ask staff if it would help to provide background information such as our tool called What to Know About FASD, before the meeting and determine how long the appointment will be. Don’t let staff put you off; it is the responsibility of your MPP or MP to hear you out. Lock the date and time of your appointment in your calendar and show up with your partner and children, if possible.
4. Prepare your information and plan your approach. Have you decided on a focus for the meeting? Will you emphasize prevention, treatment or support? Have you determined what your family needs most for your child? If a sponsor can sell soap in a 30 second commercial, you should be able to educate a politician about your family’s needs in a 30-minute meeting. Never forget that, as parent or caregiver, you are the expert and know what your child and your family need on a day-to-day basis.
5. Take notes and follow-up. A passive voter has no influence on government. Your record of the meeting, even in point form, will provide a track record of what was discussed and what commitments were made. In your follow-up note, outline your expectations, and suggest a time frame when you can get back to the issue. Get a staffer to take a picture of you with your MPP or MP on your camera and share it on social media with a brief description of your discussion and expected outcome. Send your follow-up note within a week of your meeting and a reminder note within a month.
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