Sometimes I go on Twitter – not much – but what I do notice is there are a lot of people who talk about how the system needs to change but then they don’t do anything about it. My guest on today’s podcast – Sara Messelt, the Executive Director of PROOF Alliance - saw a need, gathered resources, and together they did something about it. I hope you will be as inspired as I am by the end of this episode to invite or join others and go make a change in your community.
Sara’s origin story is a little different. She started her passion for FASD through a desire to ensure healthy families by volunteering for March of Dimes while in high school in a Youth Peer Education Network! She graduated with a degree in Family Social Science from the University of Minnesota then worked with the March of Dimes for 18 years. She has spent the last 20 years with the former Minnesota Organization for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (MOFAS) – now known...
I know I say every episode is my favourite and they are – but this one is another home run in terms of a professional that truly not only gets FASD but she hits it out of the ballpark.
Dr. Pei’s information is science-backed and tested in clinical settings. She has also created an awesome document as a roadmap for success for individuals on the Spectrum.
In fact, the analogy of cars and roads, and the journey is exactly how she describes her document. But before we get there, we cover a lot of ground (did you see what I did there?), including:
Annette Kunzman co-founded FASD Network of Southern California in 2010 and was integral in establishing it as a non-profit organization in 2014. She has served as Secretary and Treasurer and currently as President. Annette holds a Master’s in Management degree from Northwestern University and received her undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska. She was certified as a Chartered Financial Analyst in 1988.
Following a long career in commercial lending and investment management, Annette retired in 2006 to focus full-time on raising her young sons with Fetal Alcohol. In 2019, Annette was named to the California Department of Education’s Student Mental Health Policy Workgroup by State Superintendent Tony Thurmond.
We know caregivers spend years knowing their child is struggling, but not getting the support or appropriate diagnosis they need. Annette is no different. She poignantly shares her story of her...
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...
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.
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:
Accepting help is...
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 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 1999....
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...
Have you ever said: I just wish every professional who works with my child had a child with FASD – so they would GET IT? Well 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...