#018 Susan Elsworth, FASD Knowledge Bombs from a MOM

fasd success show Apr 27, 2020

Susan has a BA in Business Management and an AS in Criminal Justice and Corrections. A former foster parent, she and her husband Duane are parents to 13 children, including 5 with FASD, 1 with Celiac Disease and 3 with Reactive Attachment Disorder. In addition, she mentors foster and adoptive parents, advocates, presents and serves on several Boards and Committees at the local and State level.

I should have been a foster kid but wasn't. I'm a survivor. I was drawn to kids that didn't have a voice. I had done the hard work of letting go of those resentments and growing up emotionally.

It is because of this background, Susan was led her to foster and adopt. In this podcast she reveals how, as a caregiver for individuals on the Spectrum, like so many others, she found herself in a State with no service providers, and what professionals there were had extremely limited expertise in Prenatal Alcohol Exposure. In addition there was a definite lack of systems support for...

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#017 Aubrey Page: Military Life and as an FASD Caregiver

fasd success show Apr 20, 2020

As a treatment-level foster parent in Ohio for 3 years, Aubrey noticed many of her kids had similar symptoms that were not trauma based.  After one of her children was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, her eyes were opened to the prevalence of this disability. 

After a disappointing conversation with a local hospital about FASD supports and services, she realized she would need to follow her mom's mantra: If it's meant to be, it's up to me.

This led her on a path to discover everything she could about Prenatal Alcohol Exposure through reading, research, seminars and talking to leading experts in the field. She now advocates, trains and mentors others, as well as consulting with governments in her State to get more resources for FASD.

She has done all this while balancing military careers for both her husband and herself. She discusses similarities and differences between life in the military with raising children with FASD and why she considered...

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#016 Understanding FASD and Aggression with Dr. Mansfield Mela

fasd success show Apr 14, 2020

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 University of Saskatchewan and the Forensic Inpatients Services at Regional Psychiatric Center, Saskatoon.

His interest in FASD began with a desire to better understand and assist his clients, who he felt at the time were not co-operating with completing homework assignments. After discussing his frustration with a colleague he realized it was the manifestation of symptoms of Fetal Alcohol - which led him on a path of greater understanding.

Dr. Mela drops mega information bombs in this podcast about FASD and aggression that will leave you informed and ready to diffuse frustration and aggression in your household.

He also provides excellent insights on the current pandemic, and what it means for caregivers and individuals with FASD. He reminds us despite the uncertainty:

This is our opportunity to load up on...

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#015 Understanding and Managing Anxiety with Michael Harris

fasd success show Apr 10, 2020


Michael Harris is an active speaker regionally and nationally, a foster parent to a young man on the Spectrum and creator of the FASD Elephant™ podcast and website. Michael graduated from Vanderbilt University with a BA in Psychology and received an MA in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development.


I know this surreal and weird situation has got you and your children's anxiety jacked up to 10. Anxiety is scary and can be a crippling factor for your family's stability. It doesn't have to be!
You don't have to come out and say it, I know you're dealing with it. So, in this episode of the podcast, I enlist the help of my friend and super psychologist, Michael Harris to help you not only UNDERSTAND ANXIETY but how to actually name it and get it under control, so you can be the ROCK STAR parent I know you can be.

You will learn:

  • What anxiety is.
  • The six types of...

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#014 Homeschooling in a Pandemic with Darlin Dee

fasd success show Mar 29, 2020
Darlin Dee aka Darlene is mom to a neurotypical adult son and mom to an almost 13 year old daughter with FASD. Her and her husband are former foster parents. She is a Registered Early Childhood Educator who teaches for a local college and has been  homeschooling for 22 years.

After her daughter received her FASD diagnosis, she began to learn as much as she could in order to help her daughter navigate life. It was after she met and spoke with adults with FASD that she founded Team LOVE to support her daughter, which has evolved to become her passion project connecting families raising children with Fetal Alcohol.

With the recent events and closures of schools, many parents and caregivers are expected to step up to teach their children at home. This is creating a lot of anxiety in not only parents, but children. 

The buzzword “homeschooling” is being used across social media.  Parents are creating and sharing schedules thinking this is what...

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#013 R.J. Formanek: From Emancipation to Innovation and Inspiration

fasd success show Mar 29, 2020

R.J. Formanek is an FASD speaker, educator, creator of Flying With Broken Wings - a Facebook Support Group for Individuals with FASD, caregivers and professionals who support them, as well as the inspiration behind and partner in the Red Shoes Rock international awareness alliance. Oh and did I mention, he is on the Spectrum?

R.J.’s story is an adventure of hope and inspiration from how he began his journey to end up where he is now - the happiest he has ever been. 

Not that I was my own worst enemy – But I definitely wasn’t my best friend.

Despite a rough start, growing up in the "system," he lived a "normal" life on the outside - becoming a father, a husband, and holding down jobs. Still, it was a struggle, living with an "alphabet soup" of diagnoses, which never really fit. Until a close friend suggested maybe what he had was Fetal Alcohol.

She looked me square in the eye and said: It's not your fault. And that just broke me right there.


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#012 Dr. Ira Chasnoff Talks FASD and the Online World

fasd success show Mar 15, 2020
Meet Dr. Ira J. Chasnoff. In this episode, we speak with Dr. Chasnoff about his work and his book: FASD and the Online World, a hot topic for many caregivers. 
And just to make this more interesting, this interview was with a live audience of caregivers who are just finishing up our Caregiver Kick Start! Program.

This guy is no joke! Dr. Chasnoff opened the first clinic in the United States on prenatal drug and alcohol exposure. He is Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Illinois at College of Medicine, an author of 12 books, a researcher, lecturer, and the President of NTI Upstream, a company he founded with his son, Gabe. In other words – he's awesome. 

Throughout our chat, we will confirm that not only is raising a neurotypical child difficult in today’s world of social media, there are added challenges for our kids with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  

“Children with FASD are at very high risk for misuse of...

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#011 Anne Russell Offers Hope and Healing for Birth Moms

fasd success show Mar 09, 2020
Today we speak with Elizabeth Anne Russell, an author, FASD Speaker, Trainer, Founder of Russell Family Fetal Alcohol Disorders Association, but more importantly a birth mom and grandma to adult sons and grandchildren on the Spectrum.

TRIGGER WARNING: This is a first hand account of one birth mom's experience as she discovers that consuming alcohol while pregnant caused her sons to have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Some details may be overwhelming.

Anne shares a raw and powerful story of a birth mom who went from feeling “absolute, crushing anguish and unbearable grief” to helping save lives through her determination to raise FASD awareness through research, advocacy, publishing a book, training, speaking and forming the first FASD organization founded by a birth mom – in effect saving lives.

We delve deep with Anne as she relates how her doctor told her to “go and have a few drinks at the pub with your husband” to prevent an early...

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#010 MRIs and the FASD Brain with Dr. Catherine Lebel

fasd success show Mar 08, 2020
We have a fascinating episode today as we talk MRIs, the brain and FASD with Dr. Catherine Lebel, Associate Professor of Radiology at the University of Calgary and Canada Research Chair in Pediatrics. Dr. Lebel has a PhD in Bio Medical Engineering and has Post Doctoral Training in Neurology and Pediatrics. But don't worry folks, we talk about all this in easy to understand language!

Our closed Facebook FASD Caregiver Success group gets a lot of posts and questions about MRIs, so we took them directly to a professional who breaks down the brain, what MRIs are and can do, how past research is informing current research, and how her team are making discoveries about how the brain of an individual with prenatal alcohol exposure differs from a neurotypical individual. 

In this episode Dr. Lebel shares: how she found her way into the FASD world; gives us a look into her work (and how the brain works); tells us about a Canadian Study on FASD & Mental Health; and...

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#009 Jennifer Shadel (aka The Trauma Mamma)

fasd success show Feb 28, 2020
In today's podcast we meet  Jennifer Shadel. By day, Jennifer is a stay-at-home-Mom to five kids, three with or suspected Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. By night she becomes the Trauma Mamma, writing, producing and performing (sometimes with her kids) for her Youtube channel.

In today's podcast we meet  Jennifer Shadel. By day, Jennifer is a stay-at-home-Mom to five kids, three with or suspected Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. By night she becomes the Trauma Mamma, writing, producing and performing (sometimes with her kids) for her Youtube channel.
Life was busy and caregiving was hard. I had to find a way to express my inner trauma as a mom, and to do that I turned to song.
And we think it's brilliant. And hilarious.
The parodies began when her oldest daughter was 13 and she changed the words in songs as a way to motivate, and admits a little dash of good hearted embarrassment, her children. It blossomed into a YouTube Channel...
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