USD Center for Disabilities recognizes FASD Awareness Day, Gov. Daugaard signs proclamation

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The Center for Disabilities is raising awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

FASD Awareness Day serves as a reminder about the dangers of consuming alcohol during pregnancy and the plight of individuals and families who struggle with FASD. Each year, at 9:09 a.m. on Sept. 9, bells are rung in every time zone from New Zealand to Alaska. Proclamations are issued, so that on the ninth minute of the ninth hour on the morning of the ninth day during the year’s ninth month the world will remember that for the nine months of pregnancy, a woman should abstain from alcohol.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a proclamation naming Sept. 9, 2014 as FASD Awareness Day, and a scan of the proclamation can be found here: www.usd.edu/press/news/images/releases/executive_proclamation.jpg.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration, FASD is the leading known cause of cognitive and intellectual disabilities, and the prevalence rate may be as high as one percent of all births.

The Center for Disabilities currently operates FASD clinics in Sioux Falls and Rapid City where referrals to the clinics are made by the Department of Social Services, the Department of Corrections, physicians, school districts and parents. Clinical services are family-centered, interdisciplinary and research-based.

The Center for Disabilities is an affiliate of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS), and Luke Comeau, director of interdisciplinary training and technical assistance, also serves as the Center’s NOFAS representative.

“We greatly appreciate Gov. Daugaard’s continued support of FASD throughout the State of South Dakota,” said Comeau. “FASD Awareness Day is an excellent opportunity to inform the public that FASD is one of the few disabilities that can be 100 percent prevented by not consuming alcohol while pregnant. Our goal is to make sure everyone knows what FASD is, how to support those who have FASD and more importantly, how it can be prevented.” 

For more information about fetal alcohol syndrome and FASD, please visit the Center for Disabilities website at www.usd.edu/medical-school/center-for-disabilities/. You can also download an FASD brochure at www.usd.edu/medical-school/center-for-disabilities/upload/NOFAS-SD-Brochure-8-12.pdf.

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