Choose Your Words Carefully about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

The Prevention Conversation: A Shared Responsibility Project

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Say the phrase Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and a number of stereotypes might come to mind: criminals, alcoholics, Indigenous.

But the Canada FASD Research Network (CanFASD) says those stereotypes don’t accurately reflect the disorder or the individuals that live with it — an estimated four per cent of the population, or 1.4 million Canadians.

To mark International Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Day Sept. 9, the CanFASD is tackling those stereotypes and the FASD misinformation they promote through their new Common FASD Messages document and Language Guide, aimed at media and individuals who work with people affected by FASD.

“Language is very powerful, and it can miscommunicate information and contribute to the stigma that many individuals feel,”said Audrey McFarlane, Canada FASD Research Network’s executive director.

“It’s a complicated disorder because of the prevention aspect. So having everyone use the same information or the same language would go a…

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