CanFASD has updated their common messages guide! A great resource to refer to when you’re talking about FASD, alcohol, and pregnancy. Check it out!

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Click here to download the guide.

The purpose of this document is to assist those writing and talking about FASD – and the issues related to the disability – to use the same language, statistics, and framing of topics. The intended outcome, over time, will be an improved understanding by the reader/listener with consistent and respectful FASD messaging.

This is a living document and areas will be updated as they are informed by emerging research.
Key Communication Themes:

The following are some overarching recommendations for all messaging about FASD:

1. Respect, dignity, and inherent human worth should be promoted among individuals with FASD, women who use alcohol during pregnancy, and their families:

o FASD awareness or prevention programs and initiatives should avoid guilt-ridden, blameful, or shameful messaging
o When using imagery, refrain from using pictures of fetuses, pregnant bellies without heads, and naked pregnant people
o Fatalistic or deficits-focused terminology should be replaced with person-first, strength-based, and hope-focused language (see the definition below)
o These language guides provide additional context and information about dignity promotion for individuals with FASD

2. Always rely on information that is accurate and based on rigorous, high-quality research (i.e., evidence-based)

3. Refrain from stating that FASD is “100% preventable” as this statement greatly oversimplifies the issue and can stigmatize individuals and families

In order to promote a common language about FASD and to minimize misinterpretation of key issues, CanFASD has developed a standard definition of FASD. Standard definitions are needed to ensure consistency in administrative, clinical, and research operations. We recommend that this definition be used by governments and policymakers across Canada to promote accurate and consistent language when referring to FASD.

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