#052 Tracy Mastrangelo: School Success

fasd success show Feb 01, 2021

One challenge many caregivers have is how to both respond to the struggles their kiddos with FASD have in the school system and how to appropriately work within that system to make change. If you don’t have access to an Education Advocate, then today’s episode is going to help arm you with specific research-backed information from a professional who works with educators to identify integrated supports to reduce barriers to learning in schools. But don’t worry – some of the tips and strategies she suggests are just as relevant for at-home learning and we break it all down for you. 

Tracy Mastrangelo has focused her career on the social work and education field in both Alberta and the Yukon Territory. Her work has focused mainly on supporting families and children/youth with complex needs, including as the Provincial Coordinator of Wellness, Resiliency and Partnerships (WRaP) an education-based initiative for students with FASD. Tracy has a...

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#051 Megan Tucker: FASD and Harm Reduction

fasd success show Jan 25, 2021

 Today’s episode comes with a trigger warning. Also, if you play our episodes while your children are in the room, I suggest you wear headphones or listen when alone because we talk openly about challenging behaviours, addictions, mental health, truancy, running away and suicide. 

My conversation with Megan Tucker about Harm Reduction may also trigger reactions to long-held beliefs or value clashes – but if you feel like you are at the end of your proverbial rope with any of the above, the Harm Reduction Model is a shift in thinking and supporting that can turn things around.  


I have known my guest for many years, having attended conferences as presenters and worked with Megan in my CKS program. She is the Training Coordinator, as well as a Prevention Conversation Facilitator at the Lakeland Centre for FASD (Alberta). She studied Humanities at the University of Alberta. Megan has worked at the Lakeland Centre for almost 10 years in multiple...

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#050 Linda Rosenbaum: Not Exactly as Planned

fasd success show Jan 17, 2021

It is so interesting how the FASD journey intersects. We all have mentors and people who have inspired us in our journeys. Linda Rosenbaum, author of Not Exactly as Planned, A Memoir of Adoption, Secrets and Abiding Love has been one of mine for a long time. I refer to her as one of the “OGs” – original (FASD) gangsters. Well, she was also the inspiration for another person I recently met on my journey – but before we get to that, we do a deep dive into Linda’s journey. 


Linda and her husband Robin moved to Canada from the United States during a time of political upheaval. Unable to have biological children, they first adopted Michael in 1987 and later Sara. Linda did not know about fetal alcohol upon adopting Michael and this podcast is her journey from then to now. Linda shares: 

  • The clues that led her to suspect Michael was not a “typical” baby and how she felt when despite her insistence medical professionals...
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#049 Katie Adliff: FASD and Independence  

fasd success show Jan 10, 2021


If you are wondering what the future holds for your son or daughter, there is no better way to start 2021 than listening to this inspiring story of a young woman on the Spectrum.  

Katie Adliff came into the child welfare system at six years old. My wife Tara and I met her when she arrived at a Group Home run by an Agency we worked for at the time. Despite a rough beginning and some challenging years, Katie used all of her experiences as stepping stones to land her where she is today – working full time, living on her own and dreaming of returning to College to help others.  We talk about all this as well as: 

“I have nothing to be ashamed about being on the Spectrum.” 

  • How she knew she was “different”, her desire to “fit in” and relief at getting a diagnosis that fit. 
  • Life as a student, “carnie” and how a job as a deli clerk led...
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#048 How to Build Your Resilience with Patricia Morgan 

fasd success show Dec 20, 2020


If you want compassion for your children, you must start with yourself. And that is exactly where we are starting in today’s podcast.  

Patricia Morgan is a therapeutic counsellor, author, motivational speaker, coach and caregiver for her now 52-year-old daughter on the Spectrum. She is past president of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers, Calgary and has won both the Spirit of CAPS award and the YWCA Woman of Vision award.  
Usually, when I talk to a caregiver, we talk about advice on raising an individual with FASD. Today’s conversation is a little different. While we do talk about her role as a caregiver, and how that journey led her to where she is, we spend most of our time talking about resilience and how you can develop that muscle. 

Resilience says I have the capacity to stay steady in the face of adversity, challenge, change, the behaviour of others and myself. It is also the ability to...

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#047 The FASD Project: Uncovering an Epidemic in a Pandemic

fasd success show Dec 13, 2020


Have you heard the reports of the increases in alcohol consumption during this pandemic, including a significant increase in women’s intake and frequency?

A group of advocates in the United States had been talking about ways to raise FASD awareness, and these news stories nudged them to take immediate action. So much so that they undertook a cross-country journey in the mid-western United States in the middle of a pandemic to film The FASD Project. 

We continue to come across no understanding of FASD. The ball has inched forward, it’s just time to move it forward more quickly & robustly. – Gigi Davidson 

I talk to two members of the Project in today’s podcast: Gigi Davidson, Executive Producer and President of FASD Communities and Justin Shepherd, Director/Filmmaker. We talk about the statistics which was the catalyst for this Project as well as why Justin, who with his brother jumped in an RV, dubbed The Rust Bucket, in the...

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#046 Turning the Spotlight on the Creators of the UK's first FASD podcast

fasd success show Dec 06, 2020


We know Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder isn’t in the spotlight very much as it remains one of the most misunderstood or misdiagnosed disorders yet is the most common developmental disability. It is so important for us to work together to get the messages out, that I knew I just had to reach out when I heard about a new FASD podcast. 

Jessica Rutherford, a final-year Ph.D. student in the School of Design and Creative Arts, with her friend, colleague, and caregiver of three children on the Spectrum, Clare Devanney-Glynn recently launched the United Kingdom’s first FASD podcast. Spotlight on FASD aims to raise awareness of FASD, highlight the risk of drinking alcohol during pregnancy, share strategies around parenting and education, and have open conversations around real-life experiences.

We want to normalize it. It is what it is.

This is an interesting interview as we discuss FASD from not only the caregiving perspective but also from a front-line...

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#045 Jay Derting: Doing it for the Dads

fasd success show Nov 29, 2020


I am so pumped to present this episode of The FASD Success Show podcast because this guy has a ton of experience that I just know other Dads, Moms and caregivers will benefit from. Also, with 98 % of my audience female, I just thought it would be a great addition to have another dad/male caregiver speak. 

Jay Derting has been teaching math for 34 years at a small farming school. He and his wife, along with their three bio kids first spent three months opening up a street centre for 200 homeless children in Madagascar, then spent a year as directors. As much as he enjoyed the work, he felt something was missing, and when he came home and went back to teaching he knew that was where his passion was. Wanting to still help children, he and his wife became foster parents. Two years ago he became a Trust-Based Relational Intervention Practitioner. His wife works with Homes of Hope, a nonprofit she started, which covers eight counties and supports over 500 foster/adopt...

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#044 Lisa Murphy: Leading by Example at the Lakeland Centre for FASD

fasd success show Nov 22, 2020

In today’s episode, you are going to learn what is possible in creating an agency to serve individuals with FASD and their families and caregivers. I’m talking to Lisa Murphy, the Executive Director of the Lakeland Centre for FASD. This Centre is one of the leaders in Canada for FASD programs and services. 

Lisa started with the Centre as a practicum student while taking a social work program and has risen over the years to the top.   She has worked in many capacities including advocacy and coordination of services for children, complex youth, and adults diagnosed with FASD and their families, consultation, and data collection, and as a program manager.  

We talk about her beginnings with the Agency and how she has got to where she is today, as well as: 

  • Services offered by the Centre fall into three broad categories: educate & prevent, identify & diagnose, and outreach & support;
  • The leadership and in supporting women with...
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#043 Dr. Susan Rich: Calling a Spade a Spade 

fasd success show Nov 16, 2020




I have the honour today of talking with Dr. Susan Rich. This is a fascinating interview that contains some very real and frank discussions about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and reasons why Dr. Rich thinks that despite all the knowledge we are still struggling with prevention, awareness, recognition, and support. 


Susan D. Rich, MD, MPH, DFAPA is a practicing child/adolescent & adult psychiatrist who holds a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from North Carolina State University, a Master of Public Health in health policy, and a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She completed psychiatry training at Georgetown University Medical Center as well as a child/adolescent fellowship at Children's National Medical Center.  

Dr. Rich first learned about the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on the early embryo while working in pharmaceutical research in April 1992 after reading a book...

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