#100 A Meeting with My Mentor: 10 FASD Tips from Donna Debolt

fasd success show Mar 21, 2022

This episode is a celebration. It marks the 100th episode of The FASD Success Show but more importantly, and on a personal note, it brings me to the person who was the catalyst for my own professional FASD journey – Donna Debolt. This will also be a 100-timer episode. It is filled with so many aha moments, thought-provoking questions and insight gained over 32 years.But before we get to some teasers, let me introduce you. 


Donna Debolt is a social worker in private practice. She translated 30 years working in Child Protection into becoming an outspoken advocate for individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure. In her role as an FASD Specialist, Donna challenges the Systems to develop and implement prevention, intervention, and management strategies so that families and communities can successfully cope and plan for meaningful futures for these individuals with complex needs. In addition to her private practice, Donna has developed curriculum and taught at...

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#099 Insight on Trauma, Attachment and Sensory Systems

fasd success show Mar 12, 2022
It isn’t often I endorse conferences, but the Insight Conference from the Honestly Adoption team is one that I do. And not just because I have been invited back to speak – but because Mike and Kristin Berry have put together another incredible lineup of speakers. Let Mike tell you why you should attend: 
We understand this struggle because we're parents just like you. Our goal with Insight is to provide personal access to world-renowned experts who can give you practical insight into your child's trauma and how it affects their life and behaviors. You will also walk away with the tools to transform your parenting journey. 

They have been where you are. I’ve been where you are. Their presenters have been where you are. In this special episode, I am talking to three of the 12 presenters as well as Mike and Kristin. They include:  

Jessica Sinarski, LPCMH, Founder of Brave Brains talking about her presentation...

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#098 Dr. Katy Flannigan and Dorothy Reid: What does strengths based even mean?

fasd success show Mar 05, 2022

Do you hear people talk about using a strength-based approach when supporting individuals with FASD? Do you know how to do that? Do you even know what that means? In this episode of The FASD Success Show, I talk with Dr.  Katy Flannigan, (Research Associate at CanFASD) and Dorothy Reid (Co-Chair of the CanFASD Family Advisory Committee) about two recent projects: a narrative review of the literature on strengths of individuals with FASD and a survey seeking the experiences of caregivers. 

The lack of strengths based FASD research has likely perpetuated the stress and stigma experienced by individuals with FASD and their families. There is a critical need to shift the direction of the field.  

I don’t know about you, but even as a research nerd, I find some of these studies difficult to understand. We are going to break it down for you. You will find out:  

  • What exactly is a Literature Review Study,...
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#097 Olga and Serhii: An FASD Family on the Front Lines in Ukraine

fasd success show Feb 25, 2022

Content Warning: While Olga and Serhii are positive in their resolve and for their future, this interview deals with the current war in Ukraine. 

We realize we are living in very significant times. Today we’ve been invaded by our northern barbarian neighbours. Kyiv is being bombed. Soldiers are dying. They are invading from all sides. That’s the stage we are going through. Ukrainians are tough and we are going to resist. We are Ukraine. We are strong and we will protect ourselves. 

Who has not been transfixed by what is happening in Ukraine? Olga Bolshova, an alumnus of my CKS Coaching Program has been very active in setting up FASD programs in Ukraine.

So much dedication, that last night when they knew they could wait no longer, they put their safety plan in place to leave their home. Serhii reported they had to wait though until Olga finished the FASD diagnostic webinar she had organized for doctors. How surreal is that?  

With so many...

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#096 Alex Duthie: Humor Through Hard FASD Times

fasd success show Feb 19, 2022


If you are a member of my private online Facebook Group, you know it’s not my group. The group belongs to my guest today, who has become famous for his “wee chuckles” – Alex Duthie. 

People can come on, ask for info, advice, tell stories, or a good old vent. It’s like a 4,000 strong family. There’s no judgement. We just get on with it. 

Alex and his wife Sylvia have 6 bio children between them and fostered 2 boys with FASD. We talk about how they arrived at the fostering journey as well as: 

  • The challenges and strengths of Liam and Sean. 
  • How their caregiving changed after FASD training, their lightbulb moments and advice for other parents and caregivers. 
  • What Alex gives and receives from the group. 

Many posts make me cry. It’s heartbreaking. If I can just help to make someone forget just for one minute, just by giving them a smile, that has made my day. 

I also get the details...

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#095 (DiG)ging into FASD & Genetics

fasd success show Feb 12, 2022

Join me and my co-host, Barb Clark, as we talk with Abigail Erickson, Dr. Leah Wetherill, and Jeanine Schulze, part of DiG FASD, a fetal alcohol research study at the Indiana University School of Medicine about FASD and Genetics.

Interestingly, kids with FASD get referred to geneticists yet there isn’t a specific genetic test for FASD. But geneticists are trained in ‘syndromes’ and those are health issues that have multiple things going on. They take all those puzzles pieces and put them together to identify what is going on. 

DiG FASD stands for “Dissecting the Genetic Contributions to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.” FASD is a Spectrum. The research team says that by understanding how genes make FASD different, they hope to discover and improve treatments and interventions. If you might be confused about genetics, don’t worry, I got you covered. We break it down for you: 

  • What genes are and how prenatal alcohol...
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#094 Pascal Gagné: FASD and Sexuality

fasd success show Feb 05, 2022

Few topics can divide people or make them so uncomfortable that they don’t talk about them. Sexuality is one of them. It is so stigmatized. It isn’t talked about enough. Ignoring the reality won’t make it go away, says PascalGagné, my guest on today’s show.  

Given that inappropriate sexual behavior (ISB) is displayed by 45-52% of adults with FASD, and can present issues that split families up, this is a topic caregivers should pay as much attention to as other important life skills. 

Pascal Gagné is the FASD Team Lead at Health Nexus (Ontario, Canada). He oversees the provincial FASD initiatives. Before this position, Pascal was the FASD Research Lead at ABLE2 (Ottawa). He also teaches classes at various universities and colleges.  

A lot of people with FASD need things to be explained to them multiple times before they understand, and so they can process the...

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#093 The Story Behind The Study

fasd success show Jan 29, 2022
The first prevalence study on FASD in the U.K. was released late last year. Today we go behind the scenes with two of the team Professor Penny Cook and Robyn McCarthy.
The Study Team. Pictured: Dr. Alan Price, Professor Penny Cook, Robyn McCarthy, and David Gilbert. Not picture Dr. Raja Mukherjee. 
When I was pregnant the formal advice was it’s probably safer not to drink but there’s no evidence there’s the harm if you just drink one or two small drinks a week.

We are diving deep to learn about how the study came about as well as:  

  • The different messages women have received in the past about drinking and pregnancy and that some are still receiving today. 
  • The process of finding funding, how participants are selected and some barriers the researchers faced. 
  • Reactions of potential funders, parents, and the reactions to the Study results. 

While this was a preliminary study based on children...

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#092 Dan Dubovsky: Best Tips for Advocacy, Self Care and Arguing

fasd success show Jan 22, 2022


Today’s guest likely needs no introduction, as he has been a fixture and looked up to as an expert, sharing his story, teaching, and advocating in the FASD world for 35 years – but it wasn’t always that way. Dan Dubovsky couldn’t even get 12 people to attend his first professional course on FASD. But that didn’t stop him. I’m also excited he agreed to be on the show as he is one of the FASD pioneers that I have looked up to and learned from. Today I am sure you will learn and be inspired by him (if you haven’t already). 

Dan has worked for over 40 years in the field of behavioral health as a direct care worker in residential treatment and a therapist in residential and outpatient settings as well as an oncology social worker and Instructor in Psychiatry. He has written and taught courses on child and adolescent development, loss...

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#091 Danna Ormstrup: Helping Schools Understand Your Kids And FASD

fasd success show Jan 15, 2022
Are you a parent or a teacher? Work with or support students or learners? Looking for ideas and best practices on how to help individuals with FASD? Following aggression, school is one of the most talked-about challenges caregivers ask for support or advice. When I heard about the return of a special FASD education program in Alberta, I reached out to my friend Danna Ormstrup, Director of the Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society and an FASD Instructional Coach with the Wrap2FASD program. 
Danna is the Director of the Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society and an FASD Instructional Coach with the Wrap2FASD program. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree and attended Mount Royal University for Recreation. Her career includes working with moms, serving as a teaching assistant, and managing an agency that supported adults with Developmental Disabilities. Danna has a deep belief that empathy can encourage us to be creative effective...
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