Thanks to a motion (that passed unanimously) from Kingston and the Islands MPP Sohpie Kiwala, Queen’s Park will join the rest of the world and raise FASD Awareness on September 9
Here is the article by Steph Crosier of Kingston Whig-Standard
Retrieved from: http://www.thewhig.com/2017/12/17/fetal-alcohol-motion-passes
Kingston and the Islands MPP Sophie Kiwala, seen here in this file photo, had her motion calling for Sept. 9 to be Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day pass unanimously. (Elliot Ferguson/The Whig-Standard)
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day will be recognized provincewide on Sept. 9 of every year, thanks to a motion from Kingston and the Islands MPP Sophie Kiwala that passed unanimously at Queen’s Park on Thursday.
“It was absolutely incredible to receive support from all parties,” Kiwala said in a news release. “I am beyond thrilled, as is everyone who was there to witness this momentous occasion.”
The FASD Ontario Network of Expertise explains that “FASD is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in an individual whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects may include physical, mental, behavioural and learning disabilities with lifelong implications.”
FASD includes fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), partial fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder, and alcohol-related birth defects. Kiwala told the Ontario legislature on Thursday that “it is estimated that one out of every 100 people may have FASD, meaning that as many as 130,000 Ontarians may be affected.”
Kiwala’s motion to create FASD Awareness Day was debated with many local FASD advocates in attendance. She explained to the house that her advocacy for FASD was inspired after visiting a local family support group in Kingston.
“Through this meeting, I gained a better understanding of the daily challenges that children with FASD and their families face,” Kiwala said. “I was deeply moved by their personal stories of struggle and resilience, and I was inspired to further advocate on their behalf.”
Neighbouring Progressive Conservative MPP for Leeds-Grenville Steve Clark supported Kiwala’s motion from across the house.
“This discussion is also important, Speaker, for letting families in my riding know there is a strong support network for them with the Lanark, Leeds and Grenville FASD working group,” Clark said during the debate on Wednesday. “I want anyone who picks up on this debate today that is from my riding or from my neighbour’s riding in Lanark to know that there is a working group out there for you that is able to provide that outreach that I think many people need.”
NDP MPP for London-Fanshawe Teresa Armstrong said during the debate that there is a widespread ignorance and taboo around discussing FASD.
“That needs to change for the sake of the children with FASD and their parents,” Armstrong said. “Population studies show incidence of FASD as high as 4.8 per cent, with an average life expectancy of 34 years. With FASD being completely preventable, it shows that the current prevention methods need to be improved.
“We need to do better, and we need to do more.”
Last Tuesday, Kiwala also presented a member statement on her private member’s bill to amend the Education Act in relation to FASD.
“This bill, if passed, would amend the Education Act to allow and encourage school boards to increase their understanding and promote awareness of FASD and institute best practices to support students with FASD,” Kiwala read during the first reading of the bill. “My private member’s bill is a step in increasing public awareness about the risks of drinking alcohol while pregnant, but it is also about increasing awareness in our school settings. More collaboration between all FASD stakeholders needs to happen in our school system and in all of our facilities to ensure that these children have the ability to learn well in the future.”
Disclaimer: The views and opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Edmonton and Area Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Network.