FASD Awareness Month
- Contact your MP to educate them, get their support, or thank them for what they have done for you already
MPs have an important role in helping to set policy and in ensuring that health care priorities are being met. Reach out to your MP and let them know FASD is something that means a great deal to you in your personal and/ or professional life.
You could include in your message some of the following points.
I am a constituent who [has FASD, is supporting someone with FASD, works in the field as a practitioner/educator/social workers/etc].
[Add something about your personal situation and why you are sending this message.]
September is FASD Awareness Month. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition caused by prenatal alcohol exposure that affects more people than autism but is little recognised. Recently NICE, DHSC and SIGN have all recognised the importance of improving care for those with FASD. We need your help and oversight to ensure that these recent gains are operationalised and have real impact on the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable.
- Please express your intent to join the All-Party Parliamentary Group on FASD when it is re-registered by emailing email@example.com.
- Please write a Parliamentary Question asking Government on some aspect of what is being done to operationalise the recent developments on FASD prevention, diagnosis and support – including funding for FASD.
- Please ask Government to identify a national FASD focal point who can ensure interdepartmental action on reducing incidence of alcohol-exposed pregnancies and recognition, diagnosis and support for those with FASD as called for by NICE, DHSC and PHE/OHID. This appointment would build on the huge recent leaps forward in recognition of FASD as a public health priority.
- Please tweet or issue a personal message for September FASD Awareness Month, using the hashtag #FASDMonthUK
- Please meet with people with FASD so they can tell you themselves the importance of this work.
- Please encourage Government to publish a Green Paper on FASD to explore ways to implement the reforms called for by all leading public health bodies, and to ensure the actions promised in the needs assessment and quality standard are adequately funded and rigorously assessed.
- Please encourage all relevant departments to prioritise publicising the Chief Medical Officers’ guidance that it’s safest to avoid alcohol in pregnancy and inquire what your local health board is doing to improve FASD prevention, recognition and support services.
[Include your name, address, email and phone number]”
How to find and contact your MP:
To find your local officials go to https://www.writetothem.com/
Type in your postcode and you will have a page with who your MP is a form to use to contact them.
Ask people you know to write too! Remember the more messages that they get from different people the more important FASD will become for them.
Please feel free to get back to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how successful you have been and GOOD LUCK.
MPs get many letters and emails each week and the ones that are most effective are the ones that personal and relate directly to the area where they represent.
- Keep the letter short and focused on the issue or issues that you want them to act about – for example, asking them what they are doing to help make local services friendly for those with FASD
- Include your name and address so they know that they represent you and your phone number or email so they can contact you
- Explain that it is FASD Awareness Month, but that FASD affects you / a loved one / your family / people you work with throughout the year
- Use quotes from our fact sheet to explain what FASD is. (You can even download the fact sheet [INSERT LINK] and send it with your letter). “FASD results when prenatal alcohol exposure affects the developing brain and body. FASD is a spectrum. Each person with FASD is affected differently. While more than 400 conditions can co-occur, FASD is at its core a lifelong neurodevelopmental condition. All people with FASD have many strengths. Early diagnosis and appropriate support are essential, especially for executive functioning” But then go on to explain how it affects you
- Make sure you ask them to act to help with something that would make things easier for you / your family in your local area or to help raise awareness of this leading but overlooked neurodevelopmental condition
- Ask them to get back to you or to meet with you
- Include a sentence that tells them that they can find out more about FASD by following the link to the National Organization for FASD website https://nationalfasd.org.uk/ or to your local FASD UK Alliance support group if you have one nearby
- Thank them for their time
MPs can make a difference!
One MP, Bill Esterson, has been pushing for change.
Bill heads the APPG on FASD. He said ‘What am I asking for? I am asking for action on prevention and diagnosis, and action to cut the numbers, and for a sea change in our approach and our building of awareness among the population, including and especially among health professionals.”