If you're looking for the Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) you have come to the right place. We have some exciting news about our organization. We have a new name! MOFAS has officially been renamed Proof Alliance. Our mission remains the same: to prevent prenatal alcohol exposure and to improve the quality of life for people living with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD).
We now have the proof that prenatal alcohol exposure is a leading cause of brain injury in children. We have the proof that FASD is 100% preventable and people living with an FASD can reach 100% of their potential.
We seek to build powerful alliances with people with an FASD, their families, legislators, experts in the field, new partners, and community members to bring awareness, research, and services to this field.
Proof Alliance is rebranding, expanding, and we're moving! We have a new logo, website, and prevention campaign to help change the norms around drinking during pregnancy. And in May 2019 we will be moving to a stand-alone building. Proof Alliance commits to the people of Minnesota and we will continue to develop transformative programs to help Minnesotans impacted by FASD.
FASD matters. This has been the mantra of MOFAS and the FASD community here in Minnesota for several years. It means we will no longer be complacent to being the “invisible disability”. It means we will continue to work to remove the shame and blame and stigma that families and individuals with an FASD face every day. And it means that we will continue to challenge our state, policy makers, advocates, community organizations, businesses and the FASD community itself to come together to ensure that these families and individuals have the same rights and opportunities for a good education, livable wage jobs, safe and sustainable housing, and equal access to justice.
This week, the StarTribune series “A Matter of Dignity” has brought to light many of the disparities and challenges that face the disability community as a whole, and the FASD community specifically. For many living on the FASD spectrum, the highest impact reveals itself in school. Often students with an FASD are challenged beyond their abilities due to their lower IQs, impaired reading, spelling and math abilities, and difficulty processing information. When educators do not have a good understanding of what FASD is and what approaches should be used to achieve good educational outcomes, the results are dismal. This lack of insight can lead to increased frustration on the part of the students, staff and parents.
So how can we help students struggling with an FASD in school? The first step is to join MOFAS in advocating for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) to be added as a disability category to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Currently a student with an FASD is not automatically eligible for special education and related services simply because they are on the FASD spectrum. By changing the federal IDEA legislation so that FASD is its own category, students living on the spectrum would have access to targeted and appropriate services that can result in better school outcomes. It would also increase opportunities for teachers and other school personnel to receive appropriate training on educational strategies that work for students with an FASD. Achieving this legislative goal would be a major landmark for students struggling with an FASD in school.
Education is a fundamental human right and the gateway to all other human rights like being employed, living independently, and becoming a contributing member of our society. Please join MOFAS in advocating for an appropriate and accommodating educational system and help create a culture of equity here in Minnesota.