Reflecting on a Year of Supporting Colorado Families Affected by Substance Use During Pregnancy

Reflecting on a Year of Supporting Colorado Families Affected by Substance Use During Pregnancy

What a 2021 we had in our collaborative efforts to move towards a Colorado that equitably serves all families through prevention and reduction of substance use during pregnancy and provides multigenerational support for families to thrive! We wish you rest and rejuvenation as the year draws to an end. 

Everyone who contributed to our work this year–whether as a work group co-chair, work group member, or another kind of project collaborator–brought their unique perspectives and commitment to supporting Colorado families. As many of our members shared in our recent member feedback survey, compared to going it alone, we are more effective in achieving our goals together.

About the Substance Exposed Newborns (SEN) Steering Committee

The Colorado Substance Exposed Newborns (SEN) Steering Committee was established in 2008 and is a subcommittee of the Colorado Substance Abuse Trend and Response Task Force.

The Colorado SEN Steering Committee is tasked with identifying and implementing strategies for reducing the number of families impacted by substance use during pregnancy and for improving outcomes for families across the lifespan.

The priorities, strategies and activities of the SEN Steering Committee are guided by family voice experiences and leadership. Strategic planning, activity engagement and impact are each data-informed.

Reflecting on Progress We’ve Made in 2021

With the calendar year coming to a close, we wanted to reflect on some of our shared achievements in 2021:

    • Family Advisory Board and Steering Committee jointly developed Opioid Settlement Fund recommendations, which were presented to the Attorney General and Colorado Substance Abuse Trend and Response Task Force. We also began to explore a name change to better reflect our vision and values. The Family Advisory Board is also recruiting new members!
    • Data and Research Advisory Group provided recommendations for the Colorado Perinatal Substance Use Data Linkage Project and launched the design of a perinatal substance use data snapshot and outcomes dashboard.
    • FASD Awareness Work Group published a list of Colorado Providers Equipped to Diagnose Under the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Umbrella and conducted outreach to statewide organizations and networks of family-serving professionals in order to increase awareness of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and offer the list of providers as a resource to share with families.
    • Plans of Safe Care Work Group updated the Colorado Plan of Safe Care document to reflect the newest evidence-informed best practices.
    • Policy Analysis Work Group developed a working draft of best practice organizational policy guidance around toxicology testing.
    • Provider Education Work Group developed and hosted an educational series on trauma-informed communication and care.
    • Lastly, in 2021 we launched our webpage–including information about our priorities, a subscription form, and a public calendar. Finally having an online presence feels like a milestone!

What’s on the horizon?

We look forward to what’s to come in 2022, including hiring a strategic initiatives manager focused on behavioral health systems who will support our efforts, and choosing a new name for our collective work. Onwards!

About the Authors

Diane Smith is a mother of three, a parent partner with Denver Parent Advocates Lending Support (DPALS) and chair of the Family Advisory Board to the SEN Steering Committee.

Dr. Kathi Wells, is executive director of the Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect and co-chair of the SEN Steering Committee.

Jade Woodard is the executive director of Illuminate Colorado and co-chair of the SEN Steering Committee. 

Related Posts

Mom, You’re Too Much

Mom, You’re Too Much

Working in the field of sexual assault prevention can make a mom a tad neurotic, no? When my three were babies, I added anatomically correct body parts to our sing-along songs “Head, Shoulders, penis, Knees and Toes.” My spouse would shake his head and laugh, “You’re too much!” Our parents were horrified. “Really?! You have to add ‘penis’ to a children’s song?!” I shrugged. I knew there was value.

As they grew, I reviewed safety guidelines with them so often that they used sing-song voices to repeat them back to me. I persisted. They knew that their private parts should not be touched or viewed by others, and that they should not touch others’ without consent. 

They understood that sometimes other kids and adults break the rules. They knew that abuse was never the fault of a child—at least they repeated that part back to me. They knew it takes courage to tell. “We KNOW, Mom! Stop! You’re too much,” they told me more than once. I worried about that—that my neurosis would translate into heightened anxiety in an already anxious world. I wanted to protect, not frighten. It’s a fine line, and I was never sure how elegantly I walked it.

When they entered middle school, I taped articles facing in on our glass shower door under the tag, “Mom’s Hot Topic Board”, complete with illustrated flames. The nature and substance of the articles changed over the years as they passed into high school. Articles about kindness turned to anti bullying. Articles about empathy turned to consent. “Be an Upstander!” they would preach. Eventually, the science behind the risks of vaping and marijuana made an appearance, as well as the risks of anal and oral sex. I was met with eye rolls, shocked faces. They couldn’t believe I would broach such sensitive topics. They shook their heads at me and felt sorry for themselves. Their friends’ moms weren’t so weird. 

In high school, our conversations focused on gender roles, identity and consent. We were well past sex ed. We connected bullying with sexual harassment and assault. We talked about why some survivors would choose not to disclose, why people enduring abuse might not seek help. My law-and-order one was mystified, my secretive one nodded, my contemplative one asked questions about systems. Sometimes their comments gave me a stomachache. This wasn’t easy. They often ended the conversations with “That’s enough!” or a child walking out of the room. I continued to worry. There I was, being a lot again. 

Now they are all in college. As I hear about parties, dorm life and the Greek system, I wonder – did I teach them enough? Are they equipped? Do they have refusal skills? Are they kind and socially adept? Are they confident upstanders? They have anxiety related to academics, and sometimes social situations, but that’s normal, right? They seem well adjusted, but did I go too far?

Questions about whether I’m too much ran through my mind until one of them called me from college. A friend had been sexually assaulted at a party. I was devastated to hear it. I asked what they did. My adult child had told the friend, “This is not your fault. It doesn’t matter that you were drinking. We can go to the doctor and you don’t have to report to the police, but I’ll help you if you want to. We can also call the Title IX office or an advocate if you aren’t feeling safe here. You get to control your story. I am here to support you no matter what you choose. You were brave to tell me.” I teared up with pride. They were listening all this time. I’m not too much. I am just enough.

Creating a Colorado Where Children Grow Up Free From Sexual Abuse: An Issue Brief on the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse in Colorado examines data and trends related to child sexual abuse in Colorado, highlights efforts to prevent this trauma and presents recommendations to advance prevention statewide.

About the Author

About the Author

Margaret Ochoa is a blog contributor helping to illuminate the protective factors in her family’s life by sharing her experiences through storytelling as a mother of three, one of the chairs of the Colorado Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Coalition and the child sexual abuse prevention specialist at Colorado Department of Public Safety.  

Mom, You’re Too Much

Mom, You’re Too Much

Working in the field of sexual assault prevention can make a mom a tad neurotic, no? When my three were babies, I added anatomically correct body parts to our sing-along songs “Head, Shoulders, penis, Knees and Toes.” My spouse would shake his head...

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Five Minutes With My Congressman

Five Minutes With My Congressman

Recently, I had a chance to talk with an aide from the 4th district represented by Congressman Ken Buck about the FASD Respect Act (H.R. 4151 and S.2238).  This piece of legislation could change my family’s life and potentially prevent hundreds of thousands of families from having to follow in our footsteps. 

With no more than five minutes to plead my case, I initially thought of giving the Congressman a snapshot of our family’s life and all the ways exposure to alcohol before birth  has negatively impacted our son, now diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). But, I decided this wasn’t the direction I wanted to go. It sounded too much like a list of complaints, and I didn’t want to sound like a whiner because my son is a loving, good-humored, kind-natured, individual full of potential and resilience. Instead, I made a convincing statement of truth that, I hope, left an indelible impression to help convince our Congressman to co-sponsor  the FASD Respect Act, authorizing $118 million for FASD prevention, screening, identification, research, and FASD-informed services by federal, state, local, tribal and private stakeholders.

I used my five minutes to explain what the FASD Respect Act would mean to our family, the multitudes of families who have loved ones diagnosed with FASD and the many, many people in this country that don’t even realize that FASD exists. As it stands, FASD is a national epidemic of catastrophic proportions. One that few seem to be aware of. This needs to change. It is estimated that up to 1 in 20 U.S. school aged children may have an FASD. It’s 100% preventable and caused when a fetus is exposed to alcohol before birth. You may not realize this, but alcohol is the leading cause of preventable brain injuries.   

We did not find out our son had FASD until he turned 14. That is an injustice to him, more than anyone. We should have known about this the day we brought him home, through foster care, but so many people were (and still are) completely unaware of what FASD is – including the medical field! This means even more people in the general public are unaware and families who have adopted children are particularly unaware. 

 

Remember, this is a SPECTRUM disorder.  That means FASD presents itself in various extremes.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: This photo was taken by the author’s son while they were on a walk together.

We adopted our son, who has FASD, when he was only a few months old.  Symptoms were not easy to detect at this age and he was meeting most of his developmental milestones.  What would have been helpful was knowing that his mother was drinking alcohol when he was in utero. This is another major issue with FASD.  What issue is that you may ask? Getting women to actually share that they drank while pregnant for fear of public ridicule.  We, as a society, must not hold judgment over women who have done this.  Rather, they should be supported in what to do next.  Don’t stigmatize another human being when there are many areas that each of us can grow in and learn from about others and ourselves.

Symptoms in our son really started showing up when he was a little bit older in his infancy, mostly in the form of sensory processing disorder.  He was hyper-sensitive to certain sounds, certain bodily feelings and certain textures and tastes that caused him to become extremely agitated.  He would have complete meltdowns if the wind was too strong.  Little did we know that these were the beginning signs of FASD.  

As he has gotten older he’s shown even more significant signs.  These symptoms have included problem-solving skills (specifically math), memory issues (doesn’t remember something I literally told him 10 minutes before), ability to remain attentive (Over the Hedge- Squirrel!), difficulty in maintaining friendships (he has difficulty associating with his peers), and understanding consequences (I’ve tried every reward/consequence strategy in the book, to no avail).  You might be thinking, “This is just how teenagers are!”  I assure you, this is only the tip of the iceberg.  Remember, this is a SPECTRUM disorder.  That means FASD presents itself in various extremes.  

Thankfully, information about FASD is becoming more readily available, but not nearly enough. The FASD Respect Act can rapidly accelerate the prevention and the education of the masses. If we had only known about our son’s FASD earlier we would have sought specific treatments recommended by professionals who knew what needed to be done once the diagnosis was made.  We informed our son’s pediatrician as well as others including the foster care system, various medical practitioners, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and school systems throughout the years about what we were experiencing.  Not one of them ever mentioned FASD as a cause. 

Still, it is the season of gratitude and I’m thankful that our son has his FASD diagnosis, and I’m thankful that I was heard by the Congressman’s office. I hear stories on shows like The FASD Success Show and read stories of adults who have come to this diagnosis later in life struggling to live independently, unable to hold down a job, or even getting into trouble with the law. These struggles later in life for families unaware of FASD in their lives will be so much more costly than not acting right now. The more we know the more we can act. The more we can act, the more we can bring about change. As much hurt, anger and sadness that FASD has caused our family, it has also brought out an absolute determination to bring about change; and given me an opportunity to connect with a “united front” of parents, adult survivors and organizations, like FASD United and the Colorado Chapter of FASD United – Illuminate Colorado, fighting for resources needed to increase education and prevention

We believe our son will continue to positively contribute to the world around him, but we also know he and every other individual with FASD can be much better represented and much better served if the FASD Respect Act is passed in the House and Senate.  

Our History Together

In 2017, the Colorado Chapter of NOFAS (now called FASD United) was among the four independent nonprofit organizations in Colorado that consolidated to leverage resources and increase capacity to more effectively prevent child maltreatment in Colorado. Since then, we’ve grown exponentially in service of our mission to strengthen families, organizations and communities to prevent child maltreatment.

LEARN MORE   

About the Author

This article was written by a father of  four beautiful children, three of whom have been adopted.  He is committed to sharing the experiences of his family impacted by FASD, anonymously, through the Becoming FASD Aware blog series to strengthen families and build awareness. 

Has your family been impacted by substance use during pregnancy?

Has your family been impacted by substance use during pregnancy?

If the answer to this question is yes, then there is an opportunity waiting for you to channel your experiences into change. Several spots on the Family Advisory Board are opening up in 2022. Your perspective is needed to build a Colorado that equitably serves all families through prevention and reduction of substance use during pregnancy and provides multigenerational support for families to thrive. That is the shared vision of the Colorado Substance Exposed Newborns (SEN) Steering Committee, established in 2008. This collaborative space is a subcommittee of the Colorado Substance Abuse Trend and Response Task Force tasked with identifying and implementing strategies for reducing the number of families impacted by substance use during pregnancy and for improving outcomes for families across the lifespan.

In 2019, the Family Advisory Board (FAB) to the Steering Committee was formed with the purpose of elevating the voices of families who have experienced, directly or indirectly, the impacts of substance use during pregnancy in order to

  • understand barriers in seeking support, health care, including treatment and other services, and
  • inform priority-setting within the Substance Exposed Newborns Steering Committee to raise awareness and best serve the needs of families impacted by substance use.

Anyone who has lived experience around substance use and pregnancy is encouraged to apply by completing the interest form to join this welcoming space to folks who identify as women, non-binary, and/or gender non-conforming. 

WANTED: Family Advisory Board Members

Take the first step by completing the Family Advisory Board Interest Form and we’ll be in touch soon!

A great example of how FAB members are making a difference is in the recently released Opioid Settlement Funds Recommendations jointly developed by Illuminate, the Colorado Substance Exposed Newborns Steering Committee and its Family Advisory Board. In the coming months and years, Colorado will also continue to receive funds from settlements and court rulings resulting from numerous lawsuits against drug companies, distributors and pharmacies over their role in the opioid crisis. It’s money that can — and should — be channeled to programs and services that equitably serve all families through prevention and reduction of substance use during pregnancy and provide multigenerational support for families to thrive.

This set of guidelines and recommendations for for State and local leaders set up a framework for dedicating opioid settlement funds to children and families impacted by perinatal substance use with a focus on building Colorado’s statewide capacity to:

  • align efforts,
  • apply lessons from data, and
  • recognize and respond to emerging needs.

The Steering Committee priorities, strategies and activities, like these recommendations, are guided by family voice experiences and leadership. Strategic planning, activity engagement and impact are each data-informed. The Steering Committee is convening, supporting and guiding the advancement of the four priority areas, with FAB members focusing in on the priority area of reducing stigma around accessing substance use disorder treatment and recovery supports for pregnant and parenting people.

Diane Smith, a mother of three who has a leadership role within this steering committee, as well as the Family Advisory Board, shared her insight in a recent article Family Voice Makes a Difference Illuminating Systemic Change.

“It is important to involve families with lived experiences as voice partners in program improvements and systemic change because it is the best way for our systems to evolve. When people are trying to identify what works, what doesn’t work, and how we change things for the next family, it is important for families to give input and share their experience,” said Smith.

Stepping into an advocacy role like this one can be hard for parents and caregivers and Smith pointed to a strong relationship with Hattie Landry, Illuminate strategic initiatives manager for making her experience a positive one. “It is important for FAB members to feel like they are vetted into the situation and feel comfortable with the group of individuals before they share their story. Hattie makes us feel comfortable, she shows a lot of empathy as a person and colleague,” said Smith. 

This is an amazing opportunity to serve in a role advising big changes and investment related to substance use and pregnancy by taking on the responsibilities of FAB members, including:

  • Encouraging greater understanding of the lived experience of individuals and families impacted by perinatal substance use.
  • Actively participating in establishing strong partnerships with Steering Committee members.
  • Discussing and evaluate practices, programs and services and provide recommendations that respond to the unique needs of families.
  • Channeling needs, concerns and recommendations to the Steering Committee for consideration.
  • Giving input based on your own experience, while recognizing that other members’ experiences may be different from your own.
  • Collaboratively working on projects identified by the FAB, including story-sharing planning and implementation.
i

Member Roles & Responsiblities

Download the Family Advisory Board member roles and responsibilities

Join the Family Advisory Board

Take the first step by completing the Family Advisory Board Interest Form and we’ll be in touch this fall.

Connect with Us

Please reach out with questions about this or other opportunities to make a difference by sharing your lived experiences. It matters.

Building a Fort on a Solid Foundation

Building a Fort on a Solid Foundation

Sometimes it is hard to quantify what it means to be a well-rounded parent, or in my case, father.  How many experiences should one provide their child?  How many activities should I be engaged in with her, personally?  How many lessons should she be signed up for?  I believe the answer is simple: as many as you both can handle.  That is just what we were doing until the pandemic hit and all our usual routines came to a screeching halt.  

We were unable to do the normal activities outside of the house and had to adapt very quickly to the new environment.  Except for the fact that I did not adapt as quickly as I should have, which was made more apparent to me by my daughter’s innocently brutal honesty when she shared her feelings about the situation and our household.

You see, her mother has the two story, 5-bedroom house, with the puppy dog and live-in boyfriend.  As for me, I’m offering a bunk bed slumber party with my daughter every night in our one bedroom, quite adorable, little “magic cottage”, as my landlord likes to call it.  Not that it’s a competition, (although it kind of most certainly is sometimes), but I am currently not in a place where I can compete. I was doing a good job of balancing it out pre-pandemic, trying to make up for what I couldn’t offer with fun, that is until the stay-at-home orders went into effect and all of the “fun” stopped. My then 4 year-old daughter made it very clear to me what side of the white-picket fence and rose garden I stood on.  It went something like this:

“I don’t like it here!  I want to go back home!  I want to go back to my family!  No, I don’t love you!  Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy! . . .” After deliberating with this information for a long period of time, trying to reason with her, asking what we can do differently, encouraging her to think of some things to have more fun, she just kept repeating those incredibly hurtful comments and pulling my last thread of patience. 

So, I matched her intensity, and it went something like this: 

“I thought you liked this new place?!  We were in an unfinished basement before this for crying out loud!  You said you loved our new house!  Now you want to go back HOME with your FAMILY?!  How do you think that makes me feel?!  I AM your family too!  This IS also your home!  You can have a home and a family at mommy’s and a home and a family at daddy’s!  That hurts my feelings when you say that!  I’m trying over here!  What more do you want?!  I get it that your mom’s house is bigger, and you have more stuff to play with, but we do fun things too!  Have you forgotten about skiing, rock climbing, bike riding, hiking, camping, ice skating, roller skating, yoga, piano, and whatever else I can’t think of right now?!?!  We just can’t do a lot of them right now because everybody is sick!  You know, we have a big house in Texas with a huge a** backyard to run around in and a playscape to climb on!  You’ve been there!  I took you there when you were a year and a half, so I could fix it up to be a rental,  so we could move up here to Colorado, so your mom and I could both be close to you!  That’s where I could be right now, but I’m not!  I’m here, with you, because I choose to be!  Because I love you and I want to be with you!  There are a lot of other dads and moms that would not make this kind of sacrifice or would not have the means to do what I’m doing, so a little appreciation and gratitude would be nice!”

I calmly explained to her why I reacted the way that I did “because my feelings were hurt and sometimes even parents have ‘big feelings’ that are hard to manage, but it doesn’t mean that it is alright to yell and scream.”

Now before the “parenting police” come at me, quick to criticize others and shame parents for opening up about our struggles, I want to say that I am well aware that I did not handle that situation in the best fashion. I’m sharing this blog and my own experiences to help others and shine a light on parenting strategies that support physical, cognitive, language, social and emotional development, critical to helping our children reach their full potential. 

I know most of my response to her was my ego talking.  After yelling about the house for an extended period, cleaning things, throwing things away, and opening/closing doors aggressively, probably the only good thing I did was at the end of my rant, I told her that I am going to go to another room and take three deep breaths so I can calm down.  

Obviously, I missed the mark on that one earlier, but later is better than never, I suppose.  When I came back to her room, a little more clear headed, I found her scared, hiding from me at the top of her bunk bed. That sinking feeling of regret began to weigh heavy in my chest. I picked her up and brought her to the couch, holding her, rocking her and apologizing.  

I calmly explained to her why I reacted the way that I did “because my feelings were hurt and sometimes even parents have ‘big feelings’ that are hard to manage, but it doesn’t mean that it is alright to yell and scream.”  I reminded her that she is allowed to remind me to take my three deep breaths when she sees me getting upset or frustrated just like she reminds me to clean up my language when she hears me use a cuss word.  

This routine isn’t to impose her responsibility over my emotions, quite the contrary. It allows her the freedom to impose the same behavior corrections on me as I do for her.  This allows her to see that adults can also make mistakes and helps me model the proper way to accept constructive criticism while also reminding me to model good behavior for her.  The same kind of behavior I expect from her. But most importantly, it gives her skin in the game and a sense of ownership within our household and the household rules, which can be a very empowering and a confidence building experience.  It’s not whether the actions in this case were right or wrong, this is just what parenting looks like sometimes when we get overloaded by stress. A feeling we all became familiar with in the midst of stress induced by the pandemic which continues today.  

What is most important from this exchange is the lessons we both learned from the experience and how we recovered from it. I certainly learned about instilling more patience in my response times and that my daughter’s feelings on certain aspects that I may not necessarily agree with are legit and should be treated as such, even if what she has to say can feel hurtful to me/my ego.  

At the end of the day, I am the adult and I should be able to do better.  I believe what she learned from that experience is that words are powerful and they can really hurt people’s feelings and a bad reaction to her words, like mine, is a possibility. I also believe she learned that adults, too, are not perfect. We make mistakes just like she does, but when we do, we recognize the mistake, apologize and try to move forward.  

I think a potentially negative outcome from that experience may now be that she is a little more hesitant, not feeling safe to speak, believing that I may become angry in the fashion I did again.  Like, I may have broken the trust with her for open and honest communication due to my reaction.  That being said, it is not always a bad thing to take a pause before one decides to speak and maybe also decide not to speak at all after calculating the unproductive outcome that may transpire.  

 

It was the beginning of setting the groundwork for a good foundation based on trust, love, open communication and teamwork.  We both went to work thinking of different indoor activities and ideas that we could do together and things she could look forward to doing with me when it was time to come back after her week with her mother.

The other side of that coin is a willingness to then lie about the truth of what we are feeling to avoid potential consequences or a conflict; which is exactly what I noticed manifesting months after I “lost it during the pandemic” and something we are both happily working on together to solve.

It was the beginning of setting the groundwork for a good foundation based on trust, love, open communication and teamwork.  We both went to work thinking of different indoor activities and ideas that we could do together and things she could look forward to doing with me when it was time to come back after her week with her mother.  Since we had a collection of Amazon and Costco boxes, the first task was to build a fort!  We both helped build it and paint it and continuously add her artwork to it that she brought home from school.  It was basically two stories and took up most of the living room, but was well worth the tight squeeze with all of the memories we created with it.  The fort led to other fun things for us to do together, like our activities board filled with things like yoga, hiking, piano practice, letter sounds, bike riding, roller-skating and Spanish practice.  

For each activity on our board she would get a sticker to put on a sticky note pad next to the activity.  When she got three stickers on an activity, she would transfer the stick note pad to another board where she could earn 5 minutes of screen time with Kahn Academy Kids/ABC Mouse, OR she could add up more sticky note pads to bake cookies with Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa over zoom! This then lead to me purchasing my first board game for her, (Candy Land), and gracefully teaching her the art of losing with good sportsmanship.  😊  

The final addition to our pandemic forced shift of “fun” came in the form of card games (I hate card games, by the way).  But, this one actually turned out to be a great learning experience for me as well, considering I did not think that a four and a half year old could grasp the idea of some of these card games, like memory, Slap Jack, and Goldfish, and I did not think I would have so much fun watching her learn the games?!  Nevermind the fact that I had to reread the directions on how to play most of these games.  Ha!  The time together turned out to be some of the best bonding we have ever done, partially because of the adversities we had to overcome and the determination to push through it as a team.  

It all started with that breakdown in communication, where we hurt each other’s feelings, had to set new expectations in our relationship and rebuild the trust on a solid foundation. . . . A foundation perfect for a fort that would take up my whole living room for almost a year until we were finally ready to take it down so we could put up our Christmas Tree.  That fort became the quintessential metaphor for what we were going through as a family and possibly what our society was going through as a whole.  The building of that fort is something I will never take for granted and never ever forget in reflecting on the true purpose that it actually served.

About the Author

About the Author

Adam N. S. Combs is a blog contributor helping to illuminate the protective factors in his family’s life by sharing his experiences as a father, military veteran and Circle of Parents facilitator through storytelling.

The FASD Project is Coming to Denver Feb 12-13

The FASD Project is Coming to Denver Feb 12-13

The FASD project is a film seeking to rapidly increase awareness of the risks of alcohol consumption in pregnancy within a short period of time, given the significant increase in alcohol consumption since the onset of the global pandemic.

This film aims to bring awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and provide detailed scientific information on prevention, while aiming to start discussions about solutions to current problems facing the community. Through the course of our film journey, producers will be interviewing top scientists, clinicians, psychologists, lawyers, directors of Public Health offices and health institutes, and most importantly, parents and family members of individuals with a FASD.

They will follow ‘a day in the life’ of those living with and impacted by a FASD to present to the viewers how living with an FASD shows up in day-to-day life.

Focusing on impacted individuals who are doing well in addition to individuals who are not faring as well due to incarceration, homelessness or major mental health challenges exacerbated by FASD, this film is aim to share your lived experiences. 

As the Colorado Chapter of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome  (NOFAS), Illuminate Colorado is encouraging anyone willing to share their experiences to participate in this important opportunity. The FASD Project is tentatively scheduled to visit in the greater Denver  to engage with people willing on Friday February 12th and Saturday February 13th.

If you are interested in learning more or want to signing up, visit www.thefasdproject.com.

You can also get answers to many questions regarding things like COVID precautions during photoshoots by downloading the The FASD Project Photoshoot FAQs.

Share your FASD Story

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