#072 Dr. Christie Petrenko: Changing the Story About FASD

fasd success show Jul 11, 2021

I’ve followed today’s guest on Twitter for a long time so was honoured when she agreed to come on the podcast and talk about what she is up to in Rochester – and it is a lot and extends beyond NY!  If you want to know about tools to help you on your parenting journey you are going to want to tune in today!

Christie Petrenko, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and researcher who has been conducting research with individuals with FASD since 2003. She completed her graduate training in San Diego in 2009 and is currently a faculty member at Mt. Hope Family Center, University of Rochester. Her research focuses on developing and evaluating interventions for people with FASD, including the use of mobile health technology to increase access to care. Dr. Petrenko also runs a multidisciplinary FASD clinic providing diagnostic, intervention, and family support services.   

In trying to teach people about FASD and improve awareness, we’ve really only focussed for the most part on the problems and deficits. We are missing the joy of people with FASD and the cool things they can do and their interests. I see stigma as underlying a lot of the challenges we face in the field.

Many of you may know of her and the work of her team through the Families Moving Forward program and FMF Connect App that is under testing - we talk about that and pack in a wide range of topics, including: 

  • How and why her Clinic has gone from completing 12 to 220 FASD diagnoses a year and the updated diagnostic criteria in the USA. 
  • Some FASD myth-busting on facial features, IQ and confirmation of prenatal alcohol exposure. 
  • Stigma she has experienced toward individuals with FASD and caregivers. 
  • Advice on best practices for approaching professionals or service providers who may not be aware of FASD. 

My 5–10-year goal is to develop a continuum of care across the lifespan. Most of the research is for individuals between 3 – 12 years. There is a huge gap.

We also get details on some exciting projects she is working on, including a documentary, plans for an app for adults and mental health professionals.  

Christie wears so many hats and is a perfect balance of professionalism mixed with geek and passion for caregivers and people with FASD. In addition to running a diagnostic clinic, helping develop an APP for caregivers, individuals and mental health professionals, supporting and mentoring others, now she can add documentary filmmaker to the list.

One thing is for sure, her drive for reducing stigma, providing solutions that help support families thereby improving lives will change the story of FASD.  

Show Notes: 

Follow Dr. Petrenko on Twitter: @clpetrenko

Follow FMR Connect on Twitter: @FMFConnect

Website: FMF Connect

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