Accessibility, Inclusion and FASD – National AccessAbility Week

“Every individualin Canada – regardless of race, religion, national or ethnic origin, colour, sex, age or physical or mental disability – is to be treated with the same respect, dignity and consideration” is a law mandated by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.1

Basic RGBIndeed, every Canadian with or without a disability deserves to be included in society and given the opportunity to participate in education, employment, community activities, and healthcare, through accessibility rather than accommodation.2

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a diagnostic term used to describe impacts on the brain and body of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol.3 FASD is associated with life-long disabilities including intellectual, cognitive, physical, learning and behavioural disabilities. Therefore, individuals with FASD often face many challenges and barriers in education, employment and social participation, and may require life-long care, assistance and services.

This year, Canada celebrates its National AccessAbility Week (NAAW) for the third time during May 27th to June 1st, 2019. The primary objective of NAAW is to promote accessibility and inclusion of Canadians with disabilities, within the community, the workplace and school system. It is a time to recognize the strengths of the individuals with disabilities and celebrate their accomplishments and contributions to society. NAAW also gives the opportunity to recognize and thank the Canadians who put their best foot forward in order to make Canada a place where individuals with disabilities are treated equally and are included in every aspect of society. By encouraging inclusion and removing barriers, we ensure that the Canadians with disabilities have access to appropriate resources and services, education and employment.

In the spirit of NAAW, CanFASD is launching a week-long event to support individuals with FASD and associated disabilities; to celebrate their strengths and successes; appreciate the parents, families, caregivers, researchers, front-line workers, healthcare professionals, advocates and other stakeholders who work hard to make the world a more accessible and inclusive place for individuals with FASD. Additionally, we aim to raise awareness and urge the necessity of creating an inclusive and accessible environment in schools, workplaces and within the community, for individuals with FASD. During this week, we will be highlighting several research articles that are focused on accessibility and inclusion of individuals with FASD, in terms of their education, employment and community needs.

Myles (“Smyles”) Himmerlreich, a motivational speaker and a well-known consultant with FASD, gives a different perspective to F.A.S.D. Rather than looking through the lenses of disability, look at FASD as Faith, Ability, Strength and Determination (‘F.A.S.D’).4 Through ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’, and with Myles’ ‘F.A.S.D’ outlook, individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder have an opportunity to be contributing citizens and access a variety of supports. It is our responsibility to make the path straight.

References

  1. Guide to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (2018).
  2. Inclusion and Accessibility
  3. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: a guideline for diagnosis across the lifespan
  4. Himmelreich, M. (2010).

 

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