FASD Awareness Month is an opportunity to look back over everything that has been achieved and also to appreciate that there is so much more to do. 


In March this year a conference was held in Salford FASD – Building on 20 years of progress | Adoption UK Charity. The FASD Hub shared their information and insights into what was helpful and what was still needed. It was great to hear some of the positive things happening for those with FASD in Scotland and across the UK. It is a tribute to the way the Hub has developed, in consultation with those living with FASD and their families, that they have been invited to provide help in developing resources for other parts of the UK - the Scottish Hub is now hosting the FASD Hub UK.  


Is awareness of FASD increasing? Yes, but not always as quickly as everyone would like. The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is now running 6 monthly courses for paediatricians, and has included examples of those living with FASD in their new training curriculum. More GPs are showing an interest in increasing their knowledge, particularly in their role as initial referrers for children to the national Neurodevelopmental Pathway in Scotland. Although progress has been slower in some areas across the country, there is a positive will to make the Neurodevelopmental Pathway work to the benefit of those with possible FASD and to improve assessment wait times. Funding and finding staff with the appropriate skills continues to be a challenge.  


The FAAST Team, continues to provide excellent training courses for professionals, and has now developed Europe’s first Post Graduate Certificate in FASD. 


Articles and information about FASD are appearing more frequently in social work and education arenas, as well as in the judicial service. There is recognition in all these services that improvements are needed to the support they offer. Some of the questions asked of the Minister for Health and Social Care for Scotland in his September consultation reflect the increasing concern that better assessment and support services for those living with FASD need to be developed.  


Requests for awareness training and advice are coming into the Hub from many types of professionals and voluntary sector colleagues. The role that those living with FASD - children, young people and adults and their families and supporters can play in continuing to educate professionals as well as the wider public is crucial. The importance of early identification and support to those living with FASD, and the positive life outcomes that can be achieved are messages that need to get out there. I just hope we all have the stamina it takes to keep the progress rolling. As they say it is a marathon not a sprint!  


Dr Patricia Jackson chaired the Health Improvement Scotland committee that published the Scottish national guidance SIGN 156 – Children and Young People Prenatally Exposed to Alcohol. NICE guidelines were published in 2022 and are available here.