#030 Sheila Burns: Turning Regret into Momentum   

fasd success show Jul 20, 2020


I’ve interviewed and learned from a lot of people over the years, but this latest podcast guest has an interesting perspective and an engaging way. This is one of my 10 timer episodes – you will want to listen at least 10 times to unpack everything Sheila Burns has to say. 

I first saw Sheila present at a Conference in Northern Ontario. She tells me her background in children’s mental health, women’s health, and community development has informed the emerging vision for FASD prevention and improved intervention in her province of Ontario (Canada). To build capacity, she developed tools to guide and reinforce best practices.  One of these tools is the My Kind of Mind booklet which we delve into later.  

Sheila has held leadership roles to address individual and systemic issues related to FASD in Ontario since 1998 including FASD Ontario Network of Expertise – Network Chair and Leads on the Diagnostic and Justice Action...

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#029 Ali McCormick: FASD Service (Dogs) with a Smile

fasd success show Jul 13, 2020
What a fun episode this is - because come on - who doesn’t love dogs - especially assistance dogs who help individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. 
Ali McCormick has gone from dog trainer to Foster Carer to FASD Caregiver to Social Worker to Assistance Dog Trainer. And what a wild ride it’s been for her and her family.
Ali, like most of our caregivers and professionals, learned about FASD after she adopted her daughter Jane, who came from an adoption breakdown. Eventually, she and her husband adopted Jane’s two siblings, all with FAS. She has fostered 36 children and raised 7 children but nothing prepared her for the journey she was about to embark on with the sibling trio.
It’s much easier for those that should know, to blame the parents, then it is to look at the failed system and their lack of education.
We talk about:
  • her journey to become a social worker to try and change the system - but...
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#028 Rebecca Tillou: Perseverance Pays Off

fasd success show Jul 05, 2020


In today’s podcast we meet author, advocate, mom, wife, and adoptee Rebecca Tillou, who is also an individual on the Spectrum. 

Adopted at birth, Rebecca grew up with a loving family, graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communicative Sciences and Disorders (Speech Pathology) and now works as a Claims Adjuster - a job she loves and excels in. She knew she was adopted, but it wasn’t until she was married and had her second child she started to wonder about her origin story.

Rebecca detailed her search for her birth mother in her book Tenacity, which we discuss, along with:

  • How a fight with her adopted mom about her birth mother became a catalyst for her diagnosis;
  • The importance of being transparent and truthful, whether about adoption or diagnosis;
  • The power that comes from using your primary characteristics of FASD as a strength; and
  • What it’s like to accept help and the difference a supportive environment makes.

Accepting help is...

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#027 Paula Schuck Shares Tips for Teens and FASD 

fasd success show Jun 28, 2020


I read a fantastic article by a caregiver of an individual on the Spectrum and thought … mmm, who wrote this?  I discovered it was none other than Paula Schuck, freelancer, social media guru, and blogger – but also a parent in our private FASD Success Caregiver Group.  I immediately knew I had to bring her on the podcast to share her fantastic tips on parenting a teen with FASD.  

Success looks different for our guys. For our families. Every single day.  

Paula shares her journey – parenting two girls - one with FASD and one without and how she knew the younger one, who was always on the go, super sensory sensitive and hard to transition, just wasn’t like her sister. We also touch on:  

  • The necessity of adjusting parenting style at every developmental stage and age.   
  • Comparisons to Amelia Bedelia and the need to be a translator for her daughter.  
  • Her best advocacy,...
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#026 Dr. Jeffrey Wozniak: A Conversation About Choline

fasd success show Jun 21, 2020


The timing of this podcast with Dr. Jeffrey Wozniak could not have been better. Little did I know a media story would appear two days before this podcast release, about the four year follow up study he and his team completed on choline for children with Fetal Alcohol. And boy did our Facebook Group explode with posts and parents wanting to purchase or order.

See that’s the thing with headlines, and announcements of new therapy and treatments – they are meant to grab your attention and emotion. My job is to save you some time, money, and further heartache by going directly to the source and getting the relevant information without the emotion. Choline does have benefits, but you need to know what those are and what target population it works best for.

So, who is Dr. Wozniak?

He received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Kent State University in 1997, and a post-doctoral fellowship in Pediatric Neuropsychology at the University of Minnesota in...

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#025 Jodee Kulp: The 40 Year Parenting Plan

fasd success show Jun 15, 2020

Jodee Kulp’s journey is a familiar one. Adopting a child with undiagnosed Prenatal Alcohol Exposure from a system that just did not get it. She was told: “Love her, she will probably come through.” Professionals did not get it. They still don’t.

But what sets her apart from other caregivers that have been guests on this podcast series is how she gets it. And we will get to that. But first, we talk:  

Life with Liz: How nothing seemed to calm her down, but instinctively Jodee knew what to do. Recognizing her brilliance and the importance of focusing on strengths. How despite challenges, addiction, and life-threatening illnesses, Liz continues to share her journey to provide hope to others and instill understanding in professionals. 

Life as a Caregiver: Jodee talks about isolation as an FASD caregiver. Her own incredible story of being given a 5% chance of survival. How she created a life that allows her to use her talents, yet remain...

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#024 Dr Vanessa Spiller: Little Things Make a Big Difference with FASD

fasd success show Jun 07, 2020


Have you ever said: I just wish every professional who works with my child had a child with FASD – so they would GET ITWell Dr. Vanessa Spiller GETS IT! She is the parent of a young adult with FASD who also happens to be a Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years experience in working therapeutically with disadvantaged young people and families.

She has been a university lecturer and university clinic coordinator but her real passion is in supporting families of young people with FASD. She has presented many lectures, workshops and conference presentations on FASD and she has just published a workbook for parents and carers of young people with FASD called “Explained by Brain”.

In this podcast you get some professional insight (without having to pay a fee), as she shares tips, strategies and advice - parent to parent.

Now 20 years old, Dylan joined her family as an incredibly...

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#023 Barb Clark talks FASD, Rages and Trauma Informed Care

fasd success show May 31, 2020


Today we dive deep into an area that takes a lot of soul searching, but sometimes is necessary to preserve relationships and the family: residential care and group homes. We talk with a caregiver not only on the front lines of parenting an individual with FASD and trauma – but in the midst of the riots in Minnesota: Barb Clark is a Parent Support and Training Specialist with the North American Council on Adoptable Children, FASD Consultant and parent of four adopted children, including one with FASD.

Barb and her husband went from trying to teach the FASD out of their daughter:

We thought we were these amazing strict parents.
Once the cloud cover of trauma cleared, and the constant fog of trauma was lifted, we were able to have a better relationship with her.

In this podcast we unpack the journey between these two points:

  • How most professionals told Barb she was paranoid and how bad advice made things worse;
  • What parenting fails and early strategies she used...
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#022 Matthew Pakozdy Winning With FASD Supports

fasd success show May 24, 2020

I met Matthew at one of the very first conferences I spoke at. His story is definitely one of reinvention. He is a trained dancer, speaker and recently, after working in an office environment for many years, went back to College, to study both cooking and landscaping.

We start the podcast talking about how he is dealing with the new reality of COVID 19. 

I am still surviving. It’s having to make my own plans. It’s having to make my own structure, my own consistency, day to day, week to week and it’s hard.

But he is doing it. At 40 years of age he has a lot of practice and insight and he knows his strengths and limitations. In fact we talk about that and other important areas of not only struggle, but overcoming obstacles and growth:

  • Learning to navigate questions about why he “looked different” than his mom
  • Difficulty at school without accommodations or understanding of FASD
  • How as a young adult, drinking, using illegal substances and...
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#021 Colette Philcox, From the Streets to Success 

fasd success show May 21, 2020

I am stoked to talk to Colette Philcox today – not only an individual on the spectrum, but the daughter of Brian Philcox and Bonnie Buxton – and the inspiration for Bonnie’s book: Damaged Angels. Colette is a mother of two – one on the spectrum, is an advocate and holds down a job in the film industry. 

Colette's story will inspire hope in individuals and caregivers. Adopted at 4, she was on the streets and addicted to crack by her mid-teens. When I asked her what was the factor that changed the trajectory of her life, she said there wasn't any one thing that happened.

It just clicked. Like a puzzle piece that finally found it's place.

Now with experience and maturity at 40, you will be captivated by her candor, honesty and insights on: 

  • Living life on the street (she estimates 85% on the streets are on the Spectrum) and why the...
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