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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.


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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.


Hanna DeLange
USD News