Aug 24, 2012

Center for Disabilities recognizes FASD Awareness Day on Sept. 9

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- The Center for Disabilities at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine is raising awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Day on Sunday, 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 fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Each year, at 9:09 a.m. on Sept. 9, bells are rung in every time zone from New Zealand to Alaska; and proclamations are issued, so that on the ninth minute of the ninth hour of the ninth month the world will remember that during the nine months of pregnancy a woman should abstain from alcohol.

“The prevalence rate of FASDs is now comparable to that of Autism, and the new Autism rate is one in 88,” said Judy Struck, executive director, Center for Disabilities, and professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Sanford School of Medicine. “The fact that Gov. Daugaard issued a proclamation for Sept. 9 as FASD Awareness Day is indicative of the severe impact FASD has on South Dakota families, from both a health outcomes and statewide economic perspective.”

The Center for Disabilities currently has 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. According to Struck, approximately 110 infants with an FASD are born each year in South Dakota making FASD more common than Down syndrome, spina bifida and muscular dystrophy.

“The tragedy of the growing prevalence rate is that all FASDs are 100 percent preventable,” said Struck. “The child is changed for their entire lifetime because the mother did not abstain from alcohol for a mere nine months. That’s why FASD Awareness Day is so important.”

For more information about fetal alcohol syndrome and FASD, please visit the Center for Disabilities website at You can also download the new FASD brochure at The Center for Disabilities is an affiliate of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

About the Sanford School of Medicine

For more than a century, the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine has set the standard for medical education of students, residents and professionals in the state. The school’s mission includes education, research and service. It emphasizes family practice to help create the next generation of doctors for all parts of the state. The school’s economic impact includes attracting $17 million annually in research funding as well as hosting two of the four 2010 Research Centers designated by the governor.

About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
(605) 216-1233
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