Kaitlin Larabie (middle) speaks about her experiences of living with FASD during an evening of eduction at Selkirk United Church Sept. 21. (Brook Jones/Selkirk Journal/Postmedia Network)
The Interlake-Eastern RHA teammed up with the Interlake Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Coalition and the Northeastern FASD Coalition to provide an evening of education.
The event at Selkirk United Church, Sept. 21, took place in recognition of International FASD Awareness Day, which was Sept. 9. The month and day were selected to highlight the 9 months of pregnancy which is a time when a women should abstain from drinking alcohol.
Three adult speakers from the Visions & Voices adult speakers’ bureau shared their experiences of living with FASD and the support they have received. Sharing their experiences were Jessica Siddle, Chris Martin, and Kaitlin Larabie.
Visions & Voices coordinator Maraleigh Short said the goal is to raise awareness about FASD, to promote dignity and to reduce the stigma.
“They way this happens is just by the speakers sharing their stories. It’s always a hopeful message,” she said. “It’s not the doom and gloom that often gets portrayed.”
Short explained that the more FASD is talked about in the community, the more normalized it becomes. She said dignity is promoted when those who have FASD are able to share their stories.
“What needs to happen in the future is that there needs to be more opportunities for people to be sharing their own stories More opportunities with FASD to be able to talk about FASD.”
According to Interlake-Eastern RHA FASD Diagnostic Coordinator Picklyk Dear, an additional service at the event was Stepping Out on Saturday, which is a day respite day camp which gets underway in October.
“We’re pretty excited that this program is coming,” said. “It will help lots of our kids learn about friendships and social aspects and they get to practice fine and gross motor skills as well as learn about self regulation.