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Members of the Scottish Parliament brought attention to the preventable disorder which can cause learning disability in children.

On 23 September local MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, Kaukab Stewart, spoke in a members debate on the subject of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

FASD is the leading known preventable cause of learning disability worldwide. It affects children in a variety of ways causing both physical and mental disabilities. FASD is preventable if alcohol both during the pregnancy, and when contemplating pregnancy, is avoided.

In the debate Stewart addressed the need for further education on the disorder, which affects as many as one in 20 people, and is four times more prevalent than autism. The limited knowledge given to teachers in recognising FASD leads to an isolated learning environment for many children. Stewart addressed that more focus needs to be on education and health of the population, and not to stigmatise FASD, as many individuals needing support may then be deterred.

“Our country’s relationship with alcohol is at times fractious and troubled. It can be a difficult and sensitive issue to address, given that we all know people whose lives, families and communities have been impacted by the effect of harmful alcohol use," said Stewart. 

Since the Scottish government's 2018 pledge on increased family support, over £395,000 of funding has facilitated the launching of the FASD hub which provides support services and vital life lines, with free FASD learning resources providing guidance available on the NHS Education for Scotland website.

Stewart concluded: "I hope that we can continue to promote and increase awareness so that no child is born avoidably suffering the consequences."


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