Tag Archives: conversation

Start the Right Conversation: Common Language and Common Messaging Guides on FASD

As we all get ready to Rock our Red Shoes and help inform our communities about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, it is essential that our conversations promote dignity, help to reduce the stigma often experienced by those with FASD, their caregivers and families, and communities, and spread factual information about prevention, assessment/diagnosis, and interventions.

Two guides are available that can help us rock the right FASD conversations. Just click the images to download!

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 3.33.19 PM

The language guide provides dignity-promoting alternatives to stigma-inducing words or phrases commonly used in society. The Looking After Each Other project proposes the language within the guide be used in an effort to promote the dignity of those with FASD and their families.

The guide is intended to be a living document that will change over time as the Looking After Each Other project continues to reflect on the use of language as a tool to promote dignity for everyone impacted by FASD.

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 3.34.06 PM

The purpose of this document is to assist those writing and talking about people with FASD or the issues related to the disability to use the same statistics, framing of topics, and language. The outcome over time will be an improved understanding by the reader/listener with consistently using these suggestions. This is a living document and areas will be updated as it is informed by the research.



Red Shoes Rock: Start the Conversation About FASD!

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 2.32.14 PM

Why Rock in Red?

There are tens of thousands of people and their families living with FASD who:

  • Need friends and understanding.
  • Need support to live safely in our communities.
  • Need to participate in life and have a purpose.

The color RED often signifies life!

  • Red signals stop and take immediate action.
  • Red is a warm, strong and positive color. 
  • Red is energizing and stands out.

Red excites emotions and motivates us to take action!

Red Shoes? Where did this all start?

Now, that is a good question!

With RJ Formanek, founder of the very successful Facebook support group for adults with FASD called Flying with Broken Wings. 

RJ Formanek is an adult with FASD and he decided to wear RED SHOES to stand out, be noticed and have some fun starting the FASD conversation with strangers in 2013. Back then it was all about:

  1. Turning invisibility into visibility
  2. Creating conversation
  3. Changing stigma into understanding and acceptance

In 2014, Jodee Kulp, from Better Endings New Beginnings, a graphic designer and parent of an adult with FASD stepped in to help him build visibility and get the word out – she has continued to be the Little Engine That Could behind this grassroots all-volunteer movement. The goal was to build awareness and momentum to celebrate FASDay. We hoped Red Shoes would help more people notice International FASDay on September 9.

The Logos

You are free to mix and match any of their logo artwork to fit your local campaign. Please email jodeekulp@gmail.com if you need original artwork. 







Limited $$$ for RED SHOES? – Red Flip Flops, Red Socks, Red Shoelaces and Red Toenails all qualify. Or simply join us to participate in the FUN and the FASD conversation!


Recruiting for FASD Prevention Conversation Facilitator


The Edmonton and area Fetal Alcohol Network Society is hiring a Prevention Conversation Facilitator to provide education and training to support the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD ) Awareness and Prevention Project – FASD Prevention Conversation: A Shared Responsibility.

If you have:
• a diploma or degree in Health, Human and/or Social Services , or a related field
• experience in the field,
• knowledge of FASD,
• knowledge of the Community, and understanding of the Community Development process
• ability to creatively engage professionals supporting women of childbearing years and their partners,
• good presentation and public speaking skills
• good facilitation and influencing skills
• ability to facilitate change in attitudes and beliefs
• strong written, online and verbal communication skills,
• experience working in and with teams ,
• strengths in achieving results,
• good organizational skills;
• computer literacy and are technology savvy

This Position could be for you !!!

This is an inclusive contract for 20 hours a week, $3,000/month in total. The contract will run March 1, 2015 – June 30th, 2015 (with possibility of extension).

Please submit your resume by email to Lisa.Rogozinsky@catholicsocialservices.ab.ca no later than 9:00am on Friday February 20th, 2015.

Alcohol and Pregnancy: A Conversation Worth Having


While sitting at our booth during the Health Expo at Alberta Health on Wednesday I became acutely aware that people are uncomfortable talking about alcohol and pregnancy. It was very interesting watching people’s body language as they walked towards our booth, only to realize what we were promoting. For most individuals, their response was to avoid eye contact and to quickly walk past the booth without stopping. For the few brave souls that did stop, their typical response when trying to enter them into a conversation about the importance of talking about alcohol and pregnancy was to happily declare that they were, “too old to have to worry about that now”, or that they don’t drink so they have nothing to worry about.

If getting people in the Health Profession to talk about this important topic is so difficult, it is no wonder that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is so prevalent. We found it very difficult to get people to think outside of their selves and consider the importance of entering into the conversation with the clients and staff they work with, their friends, their family or even the person sitting at the table next to them in a pub.

Why is this topic such a taboo? Is it because as a society we become defensive if we feel people are trying to tell us what we can and what we cannot do? Is it because alcohol has become so important and so ingrained into our daily lives that we cannot consider giving it up totally – even for our babies sakes? Or is it because there are so many misconceptions and contradictions out there about drinking alcohol while pregnant?

Here are some recent Twitter conversations showing the current thinking out there:

Agency: Alcohol during pregnancy causes permanent brain damage!

Anna: Yes, excessive amounts can do. Approximately 7+ drinks per week needed to cause illness / defects

Agency: As an organization, we feel it advisable to err on the side of caution and abstain from consuming alcohol during pregnancy. Of course, there are no all-encompassing statements on this subject, but we feel every child deserves the best possible chance. Thanks for your feedback.

Babies First: Giving up alcohol during pregnancy is no easy feat but neither is living with a 100% preventable disability.

Anna: I think this is quite misleading. I understand wanting to be cautious, but most docs say moderation is ok in pregnancy.

FASD: alcohol use should be a part of your family planning conversations. Help spread the facts, alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix!

Anna: Alcoholism and pregnancy don’t mix. Excessive is bad. Mild-moderate is still not proven to be safe OR unsafe.

FASD: A drink is just not worth the risk. Why not give baby healthier start and avoid all alcohol.

Anna: There’s far more risk getting into a car and crashing. Should we stop driving too? In Europe, drinking in mild amounts is normal. In the 70s alcohol wasn’t known to be harmful in pregnancy. Guinness was prescribed! Why weren’t we all born with birth defects?

FASD: Very true! Many factors interplay with FASD; nutrition, genetics, metabolic rate… We know more now so why take risk?

Anna: Cultural differences must not be ignored. The French have just as many healthy kids as anywhere else, yet it’s normal to drink.

FASD: Wine, pregnancy and FASD: a paradox in France (and elsewhere). But FASD is everywhere, which is why we need to talk about it!

Anna: Almost always in cases of heavy drinking yes, I agree. But mama’s shouldn’t feel guilty for occasional drink with dinner.

FASD: You are right! Don’t want to shame or blame a woman, rather help to support healthy choices!

Anna: (Sites article) Read the research under heading “Should Pregnant Women Drink At All? The Research Evidence”

FASD: Conflicting FASD research and messages, no wonder why women are confused!

Prevention: Harms not always measurable or visible. How can we be sure we have really reached our full genetic potential? Alcohol is not just a beverage. Is it really OK to knowingly expose an unborn child to a teratogen & poison?

FASD: Many women unknowingly drink early on in pregnancy, normal social drinking overlapping. Planned pregnancies key!

Prevention: Absolutely! Great Fact sheet from Organisation of Teratology Information Specialists (sites work)

Anna: I agree there are conflicting messages. My OBGYN consultant + midwife both gave thumbs up for small / moderate amounts.

As you can see, we have a ways to go in getting the message out there that drinking alcohol during pregnancy can be harmful to the baby and that we just do not know how much, if any is safe so why take the risk. Conflicting research and mixed messages only adds to the confusion. The key here is that at least the conversation has begun. As a society, we need to see the role we all play in keeping the conversation going – whether we are in our 20’s or our 60’s, man or woman. Let’s not turn a blind eye to this preventable disability and let’s get talking!




Extra, Extra: Getting the prevention message out!

The Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Prevention messages are getting out into our communities! As a Society that aims to support individuals and families with an FASD we also hope to ensure that all Albertans are aware what FASD is and how they can help in our prevention of this disorder by engaging you, me, and everyone in conversations about alcohol use and pregnancy!

Look for an FASD Prevention article in your local newspapers!




FASD001 Poster Template

What would your FASD prevention conversation be?

You are a social worker, nurse, doctor, family member, friend, member of your community… What would your Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder prevention conversation be?
FASD001 Poster Template

Prevention Conversation: FASD The Basic



Take a peak at the FASD: The Basics presentation!

FASD_The Basics

« Older Entries