LEND Graduate Committed to FASD Awareness

Louise Brassard is a woman with glasses and shoulder length red hair in a navy blue blazer

Louise Brassard (LEND 2020) is committed to raising awareness about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). In a recent interview with the NH Challenge she said, “My experience with a close family member on the FASD spectrum has shown me how awareness and a proper diagnosis helps not only the individual with FASD but the entire family.” Louise is now Board Chair of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome- New Hampshire (NOFAS-NH). NOFAS was formed in 2011 by a group of passionate parents and professionals to raise awareness in New Hampshire about the hazard of alcohol use during pregnancy.  Their organization is committed to advocating for identification and prevention as well as intervention and support for individuals and their families affected by FASD. Additionally, they advocate for policy change and investment in programs and services for the disorder. 

During her time as a LEND trainee, Brassard identified a national opportunity for increasing FASD awareness and joined former Arkansas LEND Director, David Deere, on the Steering Committee to form the AUCD’s FASD Special Interest Group (SIG). The group was successfully launched in March 2020 with a goal of providing a minimum of four webinars a year on topics related to FASD, including how to speak to educators about FASD, and providing adult services for FASD.  The January 2021 webinar will introduce the UCEDD/LENDs to NOFAS affiliates creating an opportunity for potential collaborative work surrounding FASD with the creation of regional meetings. The AUCD webinar library will include recordings of these sessions later this spring.  This project is exciting for Brassard as it encompasses her passion for LEND with her strong desire to raise awareness and education on FASD.    

Brassard is raising awareness about the critical need for trained professionals who have knowledge of how FASD presents throughout the lifespan. Individuals with FASD need a variety of supports as physical, behavioral, intellectual and mental health challenges become more apparent. To this end, Brassard is hoping that Community Health Centers in New Hampshire will take advantage of the B SMART program, a new collaborative program led by Boston Medical Center (BMC) and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  B SMART will train healthcare providers on how to best screen and counsel patients regarding unsafe alcohol use, including the risks of alcohol use during pregnancy.   

To learn more about the work of NOFAS-NH, or to get involved, visit nofasnh.org.