AN online forum for parents of children with a rare condition caused by drinking while pregnant has been launched in Oxfordshire.

Julia Brown founded the Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Trust after her adopted daughter Niamh was diagnosed.

Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is caused by drinking during pregnancy and can cause lifelong brain damage.

In extreme cases, such as Niamh’s, sufferers are unlikely to be able to live independently.

Mrs Brown, from Finstock, said she was inspired to set up the forum – which she hopes will one day be as popular as patenting site Mumsnet – after her own early Internet searches for help drew a blank.

She said: “These days the first thing people do when they are looking for help and advice, is turn to the Internet.

“That is what we wanted to do – offer a place for people to share experiences and offer advice.”

Mrs Brown and her husband Simon adopted Niamh when she was a baby.

Niamh was five when her adopted parents realised she was slow in doing things for her age, such as crawling and walking.

After an arduous process, Niamh, now 13, was eventually diagnosed with FAS.

The forum can be reached at