#094 Pascal Gagné: FASD and Sexuality

fasd success show Feb 05, 2022

Few topics can divide people or make them so uncomfortable that they don’t talk about them. Sexuality is one of them. It is so stigmatized. It isn’t talked about enough. Ignoring the reality won’t make it go away, says PascalGagné, my guest on today’s show.  

Given that inappropriate sexual behavior (ISB) is displayed by 45-52% of adults with FASD, and can present issues that split families up, this is a topic caregivers should pay as much attention to as other important life skills. 

Pascal Gagné is the FASD Team Lead at Health Nexus (Ontario, Canada). He oversees the provincial FASD initiatives. Before this position, Pascal was the FASD Research Lead at ABLE2 (Ottawa). He also teaches classes at various universities and colleges.  

A lot of people with FASD need things to be explained to them multiple times before they understand, and so they can process the...

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#093 The Story Behind The Study

fasd success show Jan 29, 2022
The first prevalence study on FASD in the U.K. was released late last year. Today we go behind the scenes with two of the team Professor Penny Cook and Robyn McCarthy.
The Study Team. Pictured: Dr. Alan Price, Professor Penny Cook, Robyn McCarthy, and David Gilbert. Not picture Dr. Raja Mukherjee. 
When I was pregnant the formal advice was it’s probably safer not to drink but there’s no evidence there’s the harm if you just drink one or two small drinks a week.

We are diving deep to learn about how the study came about as well as:  

  • The different messages women have received in the past about drinking and pregnancy and that some are still receiving today. 
  • The process of finding funding, how participants are selected and some barriers the researchers faced. 
  • Reactions of potential funders, parents, and the reactions to the Study results. 

While this was a preliminary study based on children...

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#092 Dan Dubovsky: Best Tips for Advocacy, Self Care and Arguing

fasd success show Jan 22, 2022


Today’s guest likely needs no introduction, as he has been a fixture and looked up to as an expert, sharing his story, teaching, and advocating in the FASD world for 35 years – but it wasn’t always that way. Dan Dubovsky couldn’t even get 12 people to attend his first professional course on FASD. But that didn’t stop him. I’m also excited he agreed to be on the show as he is one of the FASD pioneers that I have looked up to and learned from. Today I am sure you will learn and be inspired by him (if you haven’t already). 

Dan has worked for over 40 years in the field of behavioral health as a direct care worker in residential treatment and a therapist in residential and outpatient settings as well as an oncology social worker and Instructor in Psychiatry. He has written and taught courses on child and adolescent development, loss...

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#091 Danna Ormstrup: Helping Schools Understand Your Kids And FASD

fasd success show Jan 15, 2022
Are you a parent or a teacher? Work with or support students or learners? Looking for ideas and best practices on how to help individuals with FASD? Following aggression, school is one of the most talked-about challenges caregivers ask for support or advice. When I heard about the return of a special FASD education program in Alberta, I reached out to my friend Danna Ormstrup, Director of the Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society and an FASD Instructional Coach with the Wrap2FASD program. 
Danna is the Director of the Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society and an FASD Instructional Coach with the Wrap2FASD program. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree and attended Mount Royal University for Recreation. Her career includes working with moms, serving as a teaching assistant, and managing an agency that supported adults with Developmental Disabilities. Danna has a deep belief that empathy can encourage us to be creative effective...
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#090 Dr. Peter Choate: Trauma, FASD and Prevention

fasd success show Jan 08, 2022
You know me. I’m a geek at heart. And I always say although I do know a lot about FASD, I’m not a doctor, a social worker, or a lawyer. That’s why I’m excited to bring you Dr. Peter Choate, a social worker, who has influenced my work. I must admit I was a bit nervous, but Peter started off the interview with a dad joke and I knew we were on our way to a great conversation. 

Peter W. Choate, MSW, RCSW, PhD, PhD is Professor, Social Work, Program Coordinator, Member and Supervisor, Clinical Registry, Alberta College of Social Workers. Peter’s teaching focuses on assessment issues in social work, including families, as well as child and adolescent mental health. He has served for 5 years as the Field Director for the First- and Second-Year Practicum Program and is now the Program Coordinator. Peter is an expert witness in social work with sub-specialties in the areas of  social work case management,...

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FASD Holiday Hints

fasd success show Dec 08, 2021

A caregiver in our private Facebook Group asked: Am I the only one seriously considering cancelling Christmas?

We know this time of year can be challenging. So, if you feel like cancelling Christmas, or want to reduce meltdowns or overload, check out these top 8 ideas or hints for the holidays suggested by other caregivers:

  1. Change (or adjust) your expectations.
  2. Create new traditions that suit your family.
  3. Keep routines. No late nights. No junk food. No increase in screen time.
  4. Vary gift-giving, opening and displaying throughout the month.
  5. Fewer decorations, fewer activities, and more downtime.
  6. Limit access to all the marketing and advertising.
  7. Stop celebrating Christmas completely or switch traditions, to simpler ones such as Solstice.
  8. Pull your kids close and give them lots of cuddles and hugs.

We know there are times when you will want to decorate, engage in activities or visit family or friends. Some additional ideas that may help:

  1. Ask your child what they want or...
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#089 Laurie Whyte: The Value of Vulnerability

fasd success show Nov 27, 2021

There are caregivers all around the world quietly or not so quietly going about their day-to-day. Occasionally, I see someone who is doing incredible work in their community and I want to dig a little deeper to find their lessons and ideas I can share with others. Laurie Whyte is one of those caregivers.  

Laurie Whyte has been active in the world of Fetal Alcohol SpectrumDisorder for over 15 years. As a parent of 2 teenagers with FASD as well as a community advocate and trainer, she offers a unique perspective in helping others understand FASD. By sharing real-life examples, the latest research, and best practices Laurie speaks openly about the emotional journey of many caregivers of those with FASD while providing hope and inspiration. She offers dynamic and practical training in hopes of bringing professionals and caregivers together to serve individuals with FASD compassionately. 


I learned to ask for help. I have never hidden...

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#088 Jennifer Wisdahl: Leading the Way in the U.S.A

fasd success show Nov 13, 2021


What happens when you have the FASD information, training and support you need? Do you take a step back and let others find their own way or do you step up and help? Today’s guest, Jennifer Wisdahl, ranks in the circle of some pretty kick-a$$ advocates who are helping pave the way for families and individuals to get the support and services they need for success. 

Many of you may know Jenn from her role as the Policy and Training Center Coordinator for FASD United (formerly NOFAS) where she works with the Team supporting the pending FASD Respect Act. What you may not know is she and her husband, are proud parents of three teens with FASD, is a habitual volunteer (she sits on the board of NOFAS Washington State and on the executive board of the FASD United Affiliate Network), is formerly from Canada and still cheers for the Vancouver Canucks, while watching the Seattle Kraken.   



So often as advocates we talk into...

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#087 Ngaire Meadows: No Physical Aggression in a Year!

fasd success show Oct 28, 2021

As a research scientist in the health care field, Ngaire Meadows thought she knew everything, but now understands how little she knew.

With four children and three on the Spectrum, it felt like WW3 in her home with rages, outbursts, and mental health concerns.  

Rages and outbursts, these just happen, and there’s no controlling it and there is no reasoning with it and there’s no deflecting. It’s like a storm cloud coming in, rolling in, you can’t stop it and you can’t make it roll out any faster, you just have to hunker down and weather it. 

In this episode, Ngaire and I talk about: 

  • Trying to sort out what was brain and what was trauma and having no one around her understand what she was dealing with. 
  • Feeling so worried, anxious and scared because nothing was working and the toll it was taking on her.
  • The four changes that she made that resulted in a year...
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#086 Kelly Rosenbender: From Struggling Single Mom to Informed and Confident Advocate

fasd success show Oct 24, 2021
Are you a single parent? Working full time? Wondering how to effectively support your child with FASD and have hope for the future? If you are any or all those things, tune in as I chat with Kelly Rosenbender. She is a single mom working full time while raising her 13-year-old daughter. Despite getting an FASD diagnosis a few years ago, and referrals for services, she still felt judged, isolated and without the tools or knowledge, she needed to advocate.

In today’s episode she and I break down:  

  • Pre diagnosis parenting – learning about attachment, trauma and other conditions but yet those techniques were not working to stop the overwhelm and outbursts. 
  • Post diagnosis – despite relief and referrals how she still did not have the information and knowledge to be an effective advocate and felt judged, isolated and frustrated. 
  • What changed that provided her with the tools,...
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