#065 Talking Social Work, FASD and Parents Helping Parents

fasd success show May 11, 2021

The episode this week is a chat with three cool and awesome advocates who are doing great things for caregivers and individuals with FASD. It may be in my home province of Ontario, but what they have to say and are doing can inspire and help where you are. 

Today I’m talking to Sharron Richards, Mary Hutchings and Mary Ann Bunkowsky about social work, advocating for system change, building support teams and The Parents Helping Parents Project, a phone support resource provided by parent Mentors for parents and caregivers of individuals with FASD in Ontario. 

Sharron Richards received her Master of Social Work degree from Carleton University and worked in child welfare for close to 40 years, primarily as a community development worker. She chairs the Toronto FASD Network and is committed to bringing her knowledge, experience, resources, and social privilege to ensuring that individuals and families affected by FASD have access to the resources and supports...

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#064 Reinier deSmit: My FASD Engine 

fasd success show May 02, 2021

Language Warning 

Imagine living five decades thinking you didn’t fit in, but not quite sure why? Despite having a high IQ, you feel like you are a ‘problem child’ because of your behaviours.

Today I talk to Reinier deSmit, an adult on the spectrum: a videographer, photographer, life counsellor, philosopher and storyteller. He weaves stories through his words, music, and photography. He is a super cool dude, and I can’t wait for you to hear about him and his outlook. 

As much as I’m an absolute advocate for being who you are, I still in my deep gut and heart know that we all have to modify a bit to relate to each other. It doesn’t make it wrong. To be authentic. (I moved) from being a victim to it’s a choice how I interact. 

Reinier has led an interesting life and has a unique perspective. We talk about his journey of self-reflectionHow his high IQ masked his disability and the...

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#063 Dr. Nancy Poole: FASD Prevention - More than Awareness

fasd success show Apr 25, 2021

What do you think prevents people from getting the message about no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy? Do you think it is even possible to prevent FASD? Why do we support individuals with FASD but not moms? What about messages geared only to women?

These are questions I get answers to with today’s guest, Dr. Nancy Poole, who talks about the 4 Part FASD Prevention Model she was part of developing.

Nancy is the Director of the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health, a research and knowledge exchange centre hosted by BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre in Vancouver and is the Prevention Lead for the CanFASD Research Network. She has published over 125 academic papers, book chapters and technical reports over the past decade, and co-edited five books. She has a doctorate in education and recently was awarded a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) by the Justice Institute of BC in recognition of her contributions to women’s health, including...

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Bonus Episode - All About Insight

Uncategorized Apr 16, 2021

I’ve never done this before, a bonus episode of the show. I didn’t plan on creating one, it just turned into one. Here, let me give you some insight.  

I’m not going to be doing any more workshops or trainings for the near future. I have a project that I'm working on, that’s going to need all of my attention. I give more details during the show. 

Having said that, I will be doing one more “live” workshop before I turn my focus on this project.  And that will be the upcoming 2-day virtual Insight Conference organized by The Honestly Adoption Company. Yours truly will be one of the 12 leading presenters in the medical, therapeutic and parenting strategies field.  

Instead of me giving vague details, I reached out to Mike and Kristin Berry, co-founders of the conference on why you should attend. According to Mike, you will: 

“gain practical insight and wisdom into how trauma impacts your children, but most...

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#062 The FASD Justice League: Doctors McLachlan and Flannigan

fasd success show Apr 12, 2021

In the 1996 landmark study by Dr. Anne Streissguth, it was revealed that up to 60% of individuals with FASD will have contact with the justice system. Youth are 19x more likely to be incarcerated compared to youth without FASD. In Canada, justice-related costs are among the highest FASD associated costs. While not everyone with FASD will be involved, it is a significant number. Today I talk to two researchers who devote their time to examining justice and FASD. 

Dr. Kaitlyn McLachlan, MA, PhD. is an Assistant Professor in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Guelph, holds an adjunct faculty affiliation the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, and is a member of the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.  

Katherine Flannigan, PhD, R. Psych. is a Registered Psychologist in Alberta and British Columbia and is a Research Associate with the Canada FASD Research...

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#061 FASD from all perspectives: A Mom, A Professional, An Individual with FASD

fasd success show Apr 05, 2021

It isn’t too often we find someone who has Prenatal Alcohol Exposure covered from all angles, but today’s guest certainly does. She is an individual with FASD, a caregiver for individuals with FASD and a professional who works with individuals with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. This episode is a 10 timer – there is so much incredible information from different perspectives you are going to want to keep coming back to it. 

Once I realized that it was probably the PAE, I started to feel like OK, I can start to work with this, and I can help everyone around me work with this too. 

Debbie Michaud is a Social Worker with a BSW and MSW – she is currently working on a Ph.D. in Educational Sustainability. She has worked for 24 years in the child welfare field in both front-line and supervisory roles. She is teaching at Confederation College in the Social Service Worker Program and at Sault College in the FASD Certificate Program. 

Debbie shares...

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#060 Vanessa Hrvatin: Journalist and FASD Champion

fasd success show Mar 28, 2021

Weaving FASD Stories, Science and Research 

When you think of media coverage for FASD what stories immediately come to your mind? Is it a respectful and honest piece or is it stereotypical and sensationalized? Do you know how feature stories are pitched, decided, and developed?  

In April 2018, an in-depth feature on FASD appeared in one of our National newspapers. A year later three more features. Last month, a fourth appeared by the same reporter. I decided it was time to dig behind the scenes to find out who this reporter was and how and why she become such a champion for FASD. 

Vanessa Hrvatin is a multimedia journalist, science writer, and science communications specialist currently working as a freelance journalist and writer. She is also a part-time Communications Coordinator for the DjavadMowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at the University of British Columbia. She holds a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia and a BSc. in...

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#059 Shana Mohr: FASD Trainer, Advocate and Mom

fasd success show Mar 21, 2021

A couple of weeks ago CanFASD shared a letter written to a teacher by a student with FASD. I had already reached out to Shana Mohr to interview her, as the Training Coordinator for the FASD Network in Saskatchewan, but was stoked to find out it was her daughter that wrote the letter!

Shana has trained hundreds of professionals, caregivers, and individuals with intellectual disabilities about the complexities of FASD. Through her experiences, she has developed an intimate understanding of the services available for individuals with FASD. Shana believes in the need for more research to fill the gaps in these services and to increase the accessibility for individuals with FASD and their caregivers. Shana is also a member of the Family Advisory Committee with CanFASD. 

Starting my journey, I googled FASD.  Google tells you everything that is terrible and negative about FASD and nothing good, so I was pretty scared about it. But that’s when I reached out and...

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#058 Nancy Lockwood: Practical Tools and Tips for Caregivers and Advocates

fasd success show Mar 15, 2021

Like a few of the guests I have interviewed for the FASD Success Show, our professional lives have intersected at various points. I first met Nancy Lockwood eight years ago when I was invited to present at the Ottawa FASD Caregiver Group. A lot has changed in the last eight years. 

Nancy has been living and working in the FASD world for a lot more than eight years however – it has been over 25 years. Her interest in the field was sparked while supporting loved ones with FASD and then grew through her role as an educator supporting individuals with special needs including brain-based disabilities.  

I became aware of how my actions and reactions were influencing people (with FASD) and if I could stay really calm and patient and listen, that they were giving that back to me.

From 2015 until recently, Nancy was Manager of the Fetal Alcohol Resource Program (FARP) at ABLE2, formerly Citizen Advocacy Ottawa, a program she helped to design and launch in 2015...

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#057 Dr. Mansfield Mela: Prenatal Alcohol Exposure: A Clinician's Guide

fasd success show Mar 08, 2021


Have you ever met a doctor, social worker, clinician or therapist who just didn’t understand Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder? Have you ever walked out of an appointment thinking, “If only they could just get it? What can I do to help them get it?” Today, I have answers for you.

I am “geeking out” big time with one of our most popular FASD Success Show guests, Dr. Mansfield Mela about his new book: Prenatal Alcohol Exposure: A Clinician’s Guide. 

Dr. Mela is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Saskatchewan. His clinical practice is out of the Forensic Outpatient Clinic at the University of Saskatchewan and the Forensic Inpatients Services at Regional Psychiatric Center. He is one of the international team of experts that created the world’s first psychotropic medication algorithm for FASD/Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. And now he is a published author. 

His interest in FASD began with a desire to better...

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