Stigma is no joke. The recent public outcry about an SNL skit that concluded with a mother chalking her son’s behavioral problems up to her drinking while pregnant was a punch to the gut of people with FASD and all those striving to provide FASD support and prevention. Sharing incorrect information is of special concern because the media is often where the public turns for information. It was heartening that social media immediately went viral with universal condemnation for the tonedeaf SNL skit.
The media has the capacity to shape public perception of FASD, affecting both individuals with FASD and women who use substances in pregnancy. The media can help highlight information with positive stories about people with FASD, emphasize opportunities for prevention and support, and help shift public opinion. The public, media, and social media representation of FASD can have lasting impacts on individuals with FASD and their families. Using resources, such as Language Matters – Talking About Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, we can challenge stereotypes about FASD and constructively frame reporting and informed portrayals of FASD for the media.