Fetal Alcohol Awareness!
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Keeping notes on file in your computer?
Set up a meeting (in person, by email, or on the phone) with the other contacts in your area. Think about what a difference YOUR part will make in preventing future cases of FASD or helping children and adults already affected! Don’t forget to include at least one parent, one service provider (teacher, doctor, judge), and one government leader (legislator, head of local department of mental health or developmental disabilities or corrections).
This will help you to bridge the information gap in your community!
Now pick one (or more) of the following events to turn into a news story:
- Ring some bells. Plan your own Bell Concordance. Ask a church to ring their bells. I choose to deal with the Catholic church, because the bishop of the diocese can ask all the churches in the city to participate. In fact, the photo is our cathedral here in Tucson. Here is the letter I wrote to our diocese today. It has a sort of pro-life twist, because I know that will appeal to the Bishop. If you know a local church that has bells, write a letter and call and make an appointment to talk to whoever is in charge. Take along a few brochures. If you can’t find any bells to ring, you can simply have a Moment of Reflection.
- Host a “BreakFASD” (after the bell ceremony perhaps?). You can ask the church if their is a community service group that might like to provide donuts and coffee in the church hall. Or invite everyone to bring a potluck dish to a nearby park, or a facility provided by a local disabilities agency. This is a good opportunity to partner up with other organizations who might like to collaborate in future projects and grant opportunities. With an informal gathering of families and community leaders, the folks who formulate local policy will get to meet the children for are impacted by how those policies are implemented. It might also provide an opportunity to start a local support group for parents and families.
- Start a support group. It only takes two of you to begin with. After the news story, families will reach out to you and you will meet the folks who will do all this work for you next year! Call your local library and reserve a meeting room. Set a date and time that is convenient for you. We are going to meet the day after FASD Awareness DAY this year. The library is a good place, because they usually have computers and Internet access (you might want to reserve an hour, if necessary), and you can show local folks all the cool Internet sights. Some fun and interesting web sites will be provided to you later.
- Plan a “Walk-Along” – round up your city’s disability groups (like The Arc). Even if you only get a dozen people together and at least one special walker (someone you know with FAS/FAE), you will have a crowd worthy of media attention. This is kind of like a Walk-a-thon but not exactly. It’s called a “Walk-Along” to remind everyone that kids with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders will need someone to “walk along” with them for the rest of their life, because they are at risk of failing if they try to go through life on their own. Instead of pledging dollars per mile, people can make straight donations to support the walker. Donations can be made to an umbrella organization, like your local Arc chapter. Inform your local Arc chapter that the National Arc has made funds available just for FASD Prevention. Our Arc recognizes the need for preventing secondary disabilities as well as preventing FASD itself, and awareness about secondary disabilities is included in Arc awareness events here. More about the “Walk-Along” later. Just find a public place like a park or a lake or a mountain trail that you can use as a meeting place (and media interview place). Look at what Minnesota did!
- Plan a public Information Table. Call the manager of your local shopping mall. Ask if you can have a table for your FASD Support Group (even if it is only you and your family) to distribute information on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
They are only one click away!
- You can print FASD handouts and get them copied at a local disability agency or parent to parent organization or your local Arc. These Think Before You Drink brochures from the Arc are nice.
- You can download and print these FASD fact sheets.
- Buy several bags of Snickers mini bars and pass them out with one of these FASD cards. (Use card stock or standard business card forms.) Your local March of Dimes (look in the phone book) might contribute bulk brochures.
- Oh yes – here’s a basic info sheet, very simple, and a documented FASD Fact Sheet, just print and copy.
- Make some FAS Knots. Or just order them here.