#110: What is Behind Aggression in FASD and What to Do

fasd success show Jun 04, 2022

Aggression is one of the biggest concerns I hear from caregivers. Why does it happen, how to respond and how to manage or stop it. It is such a concern that researchers have noticed and are now looking at it. In this episode, I talk to Dr. Jacqueline Pei, Dr. Mansfield Mela, and Jessica Joseph about a systematic review they published: Aggressive behavior and violence in children and adolescents with FASD: A synthesizing review. 

Jessica Joseph has a Master of Education and is a Doctoral Student in School and Clinical Child Psychology in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Alberta. 

Dr. Mansfield Mela is an Associate 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 the Regional Psychiatric Center, Saskatoon. 

Dr. Jacqueline Pei is a Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta. She is also a practicing Registered Psychologist.  

We put together this paper to give people a way to start asking questions. We want them to pause and ask questions. Not because we think the answer is easy. Not because the answer is a straight line or going to be the same for every person.

You will learn what prompted the paper and what it will and will not tell you. We also play one of my favourite games I like to play with researchers: Teach Me Like I’m 10. In other words, we take the big words and phrases and break them down so we all can understand them. 

We review the 5 different contributors to aggression: 

  • Cognitive 
  • Environmental 
  • Emotional 
  • Hereditary 
  • Genetic 

I even ask the researchers' advice on why kids react to “no” and what it means when a kid says: “I wanted to do that.” Jessica shares ideas on what you can do when your loved one may be starting to act aggressively and how to help siblings.

Dr. Pei describes the two models (Understanding and Responding) presented in the paper (link in our Show Notes). She stressed this review is just the start. They are already working on additional information. In the meantime, caregivers are encouraged to provide feedback.

This paper gives people a model or footing to ask questions. It’s a model for caregivers so that they feel supported. It is something they can take to clinicians they can say, we are not enabling or making excuses, we are genuinely asking questions to understand what is going on. 

Behaviour, including aggression, is communication. This paper will give you some starting points to look at what might be driving that behaviour. Kids are not getting up in the morning saying they want to be an a**hole. Our job is to figure out what is going on and how we can respond with more understanding and bring professionals on board to help.  

Show Notes: 

Research Article: Aggressive behaviour and violence in children and adolescents with FASD: A synthesizing review.

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