A hub in Ayr providing support to children and families affected by Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder has opened its doors.
Oshay’s centre is the first of its kind in Scotland and is run by Maryelen McPhail who adopted three children with the condition.
One of Ms McPhail’s children, Paula, was only diagnosed as a teenager and is now working alongside her mum to help others in a similar situation.
Ms McPhail told STV News: “We did know that those like 80% of people, young children that come into the care system have probaby got AFSD, so that’s a high percentage of the kids that we’re going to be looking after.
“And my aim is to help educate foster carers, social workers to understand that there is a need for awareness.
“We need to get that out there, so that we can all educate.
“We’re labelling them as naughty. We’ll label them as destructive, lying, and that’s not the case.
“Our kids want to do well, they really do, and they don’t get up in the morning thinking, ‘I’m going to annoy you.’
“They get up in the morning thinking, ‘I’m going to be the best I can today’, and we have to parent differently.”
Damage can be caused to an unborn child if alcohol is consumed regularly before or during pregnancy.
Children often require additional support at home and school but despite affecting around 5% of the population; most cases go undiagnosed.
For birth mothers who’ve experienced addiction, education and support to help reduce the stigma is crucial.
Oshay’s centre will also support families with autism, ADHD and brain injuries providing a safe space with tailored services and activities.