History of The Arc’s FASD Efforts

The Arc is committed to the prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (or FASD), shown by our history of supporting research, outreach and targeted advocacy efforts. Since the definition and recognition of FASD as a birth defect in 1973, many chapters have contributed their resources, time and expertise to FASD prevention at state and local levels. This issue is of paramount importance to The Arc at all levels of our organization because FASD is the single most common cause of intellectual and developmental disabilities that is 100% preventable.

As early as 1977, The Arc awarded a research grant to Kenneth Jones, M.D., to continue work originally supported by the March of Dimes. While supported by The Arc’s funding, Dr. Jones names the disorder Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or FAS.

In 1990, The Arc’s staff and prevention committee members provided input via CDC’s advisory board to plan a national conference on FAS. In 1992, The Arc’s Board of Directors identified the prevention of FAS as one of its three objectives for the Strategic Plan. In 1998, with advocacy from The Arc, The Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevention and Education Act was passed establishing a national advisory board, and The Arc was included in the list of agencies that must be represented.

At the national level, The Arc has shown its commitment to FASD prevention by providing chapters with a wide array of outreach materials, such as brochures, manuals for teachers, materials for student involvement in community prevention, cartoon booklets to teach young people about FASD prevention, FAS chapter action kits, training for self-advocates about FAS prevention, and curricula for families affected by FASD, to name a few.